The Daily Dump

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Tuesday, February 7

The Daily Dump Is Serious About Bad Comedy

When I first saw that Iranians were rioting because of the cartoons that ran in a Danish paper depicting the prophet Mohammed in an unflattering manner I was floored. My first reaction was “a bomb-shaped turban isn’t even funny.” My second reaction was “I can’t believe these Iranians are SETTING FIRE TO BUILDINGS because of a cartoon.” That’s an overreaction right up there with the FCC’s response to the “Wardrobe Malfunction” of 2003.

Then came Iran’s less violent response today: “A prominent Iranian newspaper said Tuesday it would hold a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust to test whether the West extends the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide as it did to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.”

Wow. Again, my first reaction was “You have got to be fucking kidding me. A contest for HOLOCAUST cartoons? Why not just have a contest to see who can kick a puppy the farthest.” Then I read the following line, explaining the motivation behind the contest, and it gave me pause:

“Does the West extend freedom of expression to the crimes committed by the United States and Israel, or an event such as the Holocaust? Or is its freedom only for insulting religious sanctities?"

In other words, how seriously do we uphold our right to free speech?

In the U.S. there are some things we as Americans have come to understand as “untouchable” in terms of comedy, parody or antipathy, – e.g. slavery, the Holocaust, 9-11, etc. Yes, technically we have the right to say whatever we please concerning these subjects, and certainly there are people who publish their rogue ideas on a small scale. But no serious newspaper would ever consider doing so, and if any serious newspaper ever did, the backlash would drive them into the ground.

My prediction is the Jewish community will respond more civilly than by burning an Iranian flag. And the blame for it coming to this at all rests solely on the shoulders of the Danish newspaper who showed less good judgment than Britney Spears when they first ran the cartoons. I’m sure there are some other political and ethical ramifications involved here, but the fact of the matter here is that no one wins when newspapers run unfunny cartoons, which has pretty much been the case since The Far Side went out of circulation.

Plus my friend Brendan points out the most shocking angle of all:

“After looking at some of the news sites the past couple of days there is one thing I don't get about the Muslim protests around the world. I already knew that they were insane and violent but the one thing I can't figure out is where do they get all those Danish flags to burn? Think about it. We live in NYC, a city filled with people from all over the world, home of the UN and a city with thousands and thousands of stores. Yet if the Danes pissed me off right now, I would have no idea where to go get a flag. But in the Middle East there are people with Danish flags ready for sale at a moments notice, even in places where you can't get basic necessities.”

Now THAT’S funny.


Maybe I'm missing something, so help me out here for a minute...why are they looking cartoons about Jews? They had absolutely nothing to do with this mess. Call me crazy, but none of this makes any damn sense to me.

By Blogger Trix, at 12:33 PM  

Here's what I don't get:

They don't want Prophet Mo depicted as violent (bomb under turban) or perhaps even depicted at all... but their reaction to the cartoon is: Kill! Kill! Death! Death!

Not really helping your cause, guys.

And I wondered about the flag thing myself. I can understand that they probably have lots of Matchlight brand American Flags ready to go -- but Danish ones?

By Blogger MonkeyPants, at 1:00 PM  

trix - Israel is to Iran what the Unibrowed Baby is to Maggie Simpson, and part of Iran's national identity is its paranoia over Israel, justified or not.

The reason they bring Israel up in this mess is that they believe there is a Zionist conspiracy that drives Western governments and they're convinced (or trying to convince its citizens) that the Zionists are behind the anti-Islam cartoon.

By Blogger spinachdip, at 1:13 PM  

a slave and a jew who's been in a concentration camp walk into a bar run by al-qaeda. bartender says, "hey, can any of you guys fly a plane?"

By Blogger Lozo, at 1:18 PM  

Thank you, spinachdip, for reminding my why I shouldn't write about politics. For a second, I thought you were joking and referring to Zion from The Matrix.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 1:19 PM  

spinachdip...yeah, I get all that. Really I do. But it's all just so senseless.

By Blogger Trix, at 1:36 PM  

Is it wrong that my curiousity is now piqued enough to see the cartoon in question and the locale of the nearest flag shop, just in case?

By Blogger A Ripple Effect, at 1:38 PM  

I'm obviously not going to republish the cartoon - the last thing I would want to do is side with the Danes in a conflict (obscure history joke? maybe?) But I'm pretty sure a Google image search would lead you to it somewhere.

By Blogger the belligerent intellectual, at 1:41 PM  

I'm just waiting for Albania to do something crazy so that I can use up all of these flags I have lying around.

By Blogger mysterygirl!, at 2:52 PM  

trix - I've encountered a few Iranians and, while I agree that it doesn't make sense, the reaction doesn't surprise me one bit. Wonderful people generally, but they really need to get over the Israel/Jewish obsession.

But seriously, where does one get any flag that's not American? (I'm assuming you can get Stars & Stripes at any ol' drug store, but I could be wrong) Oh, to be a flag salesman in Tehran right now.

By Blogger spinachdip, at 3:13 PM  

Does anyone know how to say "Humor Impared" in farsi?

People who cannot laught at themselves do not deserve to laugh at anything. Of course, when was thew last time you saw a fundamentalist muslin laughing?

By Blogger White Dade, at 4:32 PM  

I think not only is what your boy Brendan said funny, but sums up the why there are so many problems in that part of the world. Clean water, good education and crime-free streets--iffy. Danish flags and Israel-baitng to get the people distracted and riled up? Plentiful! It's not a coincidence.

By Anonymous rumandpopcorn, at 5:27 PM  

The comment about the Danish flags is the best thing I've read about this whole issue.

By Blogger Snooze, at 8:28 AM  

maybe they loot all the danish embassies for their flags before burning them down? and i think you can buy at least mini-flags of many nations from the UN gift shop. am i thinking like a CSI criminal yet? all these solutions!

By Blogger shirley, at 3:35 PM  

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