Essay talk:Draw Muhammad day was a terrible idea

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Scream here[edit]

Yeah. Keep in mind that if the best response to you is "yes, but (more or less word for word what I said in one of the footnotes)" then I probably won't respond - unless you throw in a couple of pretty awful accusations which I have to rebut. Bil08 (talk) 19:11, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

As far as I can tell you're saying that we shouldn't draw pictures of Muhammad becasue it will annoy Muslims. On the other hand the justification was that people should do it exactly becasue it would annoy Muslims.
But, in that case, should we avoid saying that the flood story is myth as doing so will annoy creationists? Or should we avoid making fun of homoeopathy because it will annoy homoeopaths?
The only real difference with Muslims is that some of them are likely to respond violently while the creationists and the homoeopaths will not. I would suggest that this makes (violent) Muslims worse.--BobSpring is sprung! 19:34, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Going out of your way to intentionally offend someone is, of course, wrong. Not so much objectively wrong or morally wrong, but it is being a dick. But the flip side is, is demanding that someone else do or not do something (one could argue that "doing" and "not doing" are the same thing, generally it could be considered as "control your own behaviour") is equally being a dick. So the issue is; which gets right of way? So who does get priority; the defenders of Draw Muhammad Day would say that "not enforcing your beliefs on others and controlling their behaviour in deference to yourself" is more worthy, the detractors of it would say that "not going out of your way to offend someone" is more worthy. I side with the former and pretty much always will do. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 20:56, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
I think another question is, does this all do any good against the people who were controlling/rioting/death threat-ing in the first place? Or are people being a dick to, well, a lot of people who didn't control anyone with little effect but to convince the controlling types they did the right thing? --Kels (talk) 21:12, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
@ Kels's first question: I don't think that was the point. It was a protest, to raise awareness and show the radicals who were making threats that the boundary-pushing cartoonists of the world won't back down.
@ Kels's second question: Yes, but that's just the collateral damage, at least as far as some of the cartoonists are concerned. Sure, some of them only joined in to be anti-Muslim, but you get radical hate-filled types at every big protest, no matter how righteous the cause is. Tetronian you're clueless 21:15, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
If drawing Muhammed is being a Dick because it offends religious sensibilities, is going to ASK and pointing out that snakes don't talk being a Dick? --BobSpring is sprung! 21:17, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Bob. It depends on how you do it. If you say "snakes don't talk" then no. If you say "Phillip, you're a dumb fucking cuntish horsefucker for thinking snakes talk because they don't" then probably. The "dickishness" issue all comes down to people drawing pictures of a bearded guy fucking a pig, versus quite witty stuff like this. After all, the point is that depicting Muhammad is something we're told not to do by Muslims. "Depicting" him fucking a pig and making a big, obscenity filled rant about it is something we're told not to do by our own sense of decency. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 21:21, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Just apply normal standards of decency to this situation: it wouldn't be appropriate to have a political cartoon of a politician "fucking a pig," so it isn't decent here either. (Thanks for the link by the way!) Tetronian you're clueless 22:01, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Kels did a fine job of saying the bit out of the essay where I explicitly rule out the idea that we shouldn't have done this just because it offends the religious. See footnote 12, to a lesser extent footnote 10, and the essay in general. And "if you criticize, do it decently" doesn't always apply, sometimes a bit of incivility is warranted (in fact, if we could be comfortable that there wouldn't be negative consequences from DMD, then I would actually quite like a few Muhammad the pig fucker drawings as a response to the nasty stuff carried out in his name.)

I don't know why we should see this as a matter of siding with the guys who say "offending muslims is our right, they need to accept that" against those who say "if you offend muslims, we'll kill you". There's a pretty substantial population who have no expressed opinion either way, they may well not give a fuck about people who draw pictures of Mo, nor their right to draw pictures of Mo. And it's quite important that we're not willing to let them get hurt because we have an issue with the fundementalists. There's also people who do care about Mo, but do it in a perfectly legitimate way (and we are talking a lot of people here, you consider just how many muslims there are, and how comparatively less impressive the protests about the cartoons were) without doing any harm to anyone else, and though their likely very minor offense at some American drawing Mo is not itself enough to outweigh the need for the point people were trying to make here, it needs to actually be taken into consideration, not dismissed simply because they're upset for the wrong reasons. I'm sure that there are alternatives, that allow us to say that we've got a right to draw muslims, without getting anyone who's not in the picture hurt too much.

I know it hardly proves me right, but I'd note that the person behind the initial website has apologised. Good on her. Bil08 (talk) 23:16, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

"it hardly proves me right" is an understatement. It would have been more accurate to begin your reply with "I know this is totally irrelevant to the point I'm making, but..." The initial person could convert to the nuttiest branch of Islam and that would have no bearing on the validity of their earlier actions or those of others. It's no uncommon for people to back down, or at least attempt damage limitation, when members of certain religions are offended. If anything the backtracking and apologising is proof of the chilling effects of fervent religious belief and catalysing effect in pushing its adherents to hurt people who question or mock ideas. Few take to the street or make credible threats of violence, but many more would respond by asking that we undermine a fundamental principle of western society. It is no coincidence that these calls generally come from the most repressive countries and communities.
If people don't give a fuck about people who draw pictures of Muhammed, then why would we avoid drawing pictures to spare their feelings? You're probably again drawing a distinction here between the vaguely offensive (any pictorial representation of Muhammed) and the overtly offensive (Muhammed eating a McRib). There is certainly an element of timing and the venue for a protest, but no-one in a western country should feel bound by the arbitrary "pulled out of my arse" edicts of some dirt arse primitive collection of superstitions and tales. I will treat your mother kindly, but your magical invisible friends or heroes from history are fair game. The Islamic world unfortunately needs a kick up the arse if its to modernise before, in conjuction with our Christian crazies, they destroy us all. --ConcernedResident omg ponies!!! 11:19, 23 May 2010 (UTC)


Who exactly are "we" and why should "we" give a rodent's posterior about what some guy has written on Pharyngula? --ZooGuard (talk) 19:51, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Not a clue why people should care, but apparently some people do, and giving the language I got there, quite a lot. Besides, the issues pretty important and worth discussing. Bil08 (talk) 22:48, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Oh, and by "we" I meant atheists who would quite like to see religious authoritarianism 6 foot below us. And making the essay sound as if half the issue was about me wasn't the grandest of ideas looking back, but again, a great part of the discussion last time was about me and just how much of an irrationalist/accomodationist/coward I was so I thought I better get a few things across in case the same thing happened. Bil08 (talk) 22:52, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

Problematic from the start[edit]

My position was that Draw Muhammad day was at best a minor "fuck you" to Islam, of not much substance or necessity

But that's *not* what it was about, it was a Big Fuck You to people who try to force me not to do something benign and that I have every right to do. Forgive me, but I have studied how difficult it has been to obtain our rights, and I know personally how difficult they are to get when you don't have them.

The genesis of EDMD was completely innocent, and was in reaction to an implied death threat over a cartoon bear suit that caused the show to be censored (at Comedy Central!). The media is afraid to discuss Islam, portray it in movies or art and there are so many examples I won't even bother to link as it's an easy Google.

This is a real, fundamental problem to basic liberties if we start advocating people follow extremist demands so that they are not "offended", and it's particularly galling when those people mostly are half the world away and take no part in the society that they are trying to change. And here you are, trying to help them change our society by co-opting their unreasonable expectations and presenting them in the most reasonable light: Don't be a dick. Be nice. [Don't stand up but voluntarily give up your right]. The bracketed part is what you aren't saying, but there is no way it doesn't flow from what you argue.

I'm all for changing my language when I discuss topics to be sensitive to others, but this politically correct, "give up a right so you don't offend" AKA "Be Nice!" flows from an insufferable line of reasoning that will, philosophically, get you into a lot of hot water real quick. You will immediately be thrown off by the need to draw lines, and that's something you didn't bother to do here and I refer back to my "Dicks and gays" example (and I'm still getting my Lavender Mafia together). --Leotardo (talk) 21:56, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

More accurately, I would say "don't stand up, voluntarily don't exercise your right" (and keep in mind, we are strictly talking about the right to draw Mo here. We're not on the slippery slope (actually, given that a common characteristic of the slippery slope arguments I've seen is that they're wrong, I'm always sceptical of this, see Hayek)), if there was a real challenge to people's right to vote or to take part in political debate, then I'd be up for fighting it - though I imagine that that would mean something other than drawing nasty pictures). There were a fair few tories I said something along those lines to before election day. I'm sure most of them decided not to voluntarily exercise their right to vote Labour, but it's there all the same. It's also actually within your rights to be a sod on a day to day basis, but there's broad agreement that not exercising this right does not amount to giving up this right or a restriction on this right (broad agreement, but I'm sure everybody's met a dozen or so people who have outright said something along the lines of "I'm sorry for being a sod, but it's my right"). In fact, the defence of "I should do it because it's my right" I last heard said by the bankers about why they were holding on to their millions after they'd made their employees redundant - and that particular right certainly was under threat. To the point, if someone says "it's your right, but kindly don't do it" they're hardly being conceptually incoherent.

Well the reason I didn't want us to do this was because there would be a negative reaction from parts of the Islamic world that would likely outweigh our importance of drawing pictures, not because people would be offended. (This is why people are putting limits on South Park) The "fuck you" probably pissed off a lot fewer people by itself than as a justification for the Pakistani government to bring in a few more "temporary authoritarian measures". But a lot of people also argue that the fact that people get really upset sometimes isn't even worth considering, and that silly beliefs are always worthy of mockery regardless of how many people we upset, and it's a belief that's becoming frustratingly common amongst the atheist crowd (see the Stephen Fry video on the other thread) so I thought I'd just go ahead and say it just isn't true.

As for "political correctness" from what I've heard of it, it sounds quite nice and not very harmful at all. It would be better if it was merely a requirement people put upon others for me to not call people niggers or brownies, but as it is (a quick way of getting yourself out of a job) it's acceptable. I actually don't know if I still have a "right" to call people niggers, but I'm happy to not do it. If a black person were to ask me to not call them black because it really offended them, I'd be quite happy to oblige, and if work told me that I wasn't allowed to use the word "peaches" or something mad I'd think it really silly and would probably look to some way of getting rid of it without putting me and my colleagues careers on the line, but it'd be no great loss (obviously if the government made such a law then this would be a good indication that they'd lost it and needed the boot, but I'd look for the the most efficient way of getting rid of that government, rather than thinking that a mas "peaches" convention was absolutely necessary, particularly if such a convention would end up with a nearby village getting vandalised or something). Not calling people certain things that they don't like to be called isn't a huge burden on myself, just as not drawing pictures of Mo is hardly a big burden on the comfortable westerners who decided that they needed to.

The reason I don't "draw the line" is because it actually isn't necessary (philosophical result, see sorites paradox and the ensuing arguments about how we don't always need to "draw the line" to tell apart two things) unless you're dealing with a coercive pedant, and even then you could only lie. People are able to tell the difference between keeping your self to your self to avoid getting people hurt, and refraining from taking part in a much needed and consequential political struggle.

The fact that people are getting threatened over portraying Mo is obviously a bad thing, but one of the unfortunate things that happens to be true is that for some injustices it would do more harm to confront that to let be and wait it out. Bil08 (talk) 23:42, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

"I should do it because it's my right and other people in my society are being prevented from doing it" is what you don't seem to care about. doing something you wouldn't normally do in solidarity with those who are being intimidated into not doing it is valiant, and one of the oldest forms of protest against the infringement of others' liberties.
Here, in America, this is a right I have. I don't personally care to draw Mohamed until I start to hear people are being intimidated if they do. Therein lies the initial offense you don't address, that has been effective, and is a far graver affront than if I pencil to paper and don't force anyone to look at it.
I don't care what happens in Pakistan, and I have no desire to fine-tune my society's liberties based upon some of the least free places in the world. They can block whatever they want. It's not my problem.
You argue as if this all comes down to just drawing Mohamed. But we know it doesn't just come to that, and we see it time and time again, so there is absolutely no reason that cartoon Mohamed is not less a reasonable line to draw in the sand as any. If you think all those links are fine or unrelated, then I respectfully disagree with this aspect of your worldview and have no desire to adopt it. --Leotardo (talk) 00:03, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
Wait it out? This isn't some contained enemy that'll run out of food and at some point have to pop out for a sandwich and a chat. It's no harmless set of quaint beliefs that would, at worst, lead to a tombolla and cake. This is one of many irrational and dangerous beliefs that can only become worse if it's not tackled. It must be challenged like any other belief, and perhaps that will at times be upsetting. Irrational beliefs are just impossible to manage. Christianity alone is hopelessly divided, and Islam is the same. Try to walk on egg shells for all of these groups and see how far you get before you could pop your feet in a frying pan and emerge with an omelette. Silly beliefs deserve mockery. We achieve little by nodding politely when a grown man expresses a belief in some 7th century huxter, who when not touring heavens on a flying horsie, specialised in some pretty odd and often personally convenient revelations from god. My personal favourite would be the the ones that limit everyone to a maximum of four wives, except for Muhammed because he's special, and also everyone must treat wives equally, except for Muhammed because he fucks what he wants when he wants. --ConcernedResident omg ponies!!! 00:15, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
That we even have to have these medieval 'what does a god want published' discussions in 2010 is disconcerting. I thought we all believed in freedom of expression in the Bill of Rights and that most of us would sign up to the idea that if—if—anything is worth dying for, it's our freedoms. --Leotardo (talk) 00:23, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Technical point[edit]

Do you want help with footnoting? - π 12:14, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

Considering the footnotes are more extensive than the body text, I'd suggest a slight rewrite to integrate them better. But that's just me, I've recently been getting rid of a lot of article footnotes. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 12:20, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
It could be that footnotes are blurring together with the concept of appendices. --ConcernedResident omg ponies!!! 09:35, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Blocking facebook[edit]

If nothing else came of it than that Facebook/other sites were blocked by Pakistan, that's a good thing. This makes sure that the average Pakistani understands that they can either have a completely open, uncensored internet, or that their favorite sites will be taken down. This means that the average Pakistani, who converses with their friends on Facebook, will demand that their government will bring Facebook back, whether or not it has pictures of Muhammad -- and so, the next time there are pictures of Muhammad, or something else that the Pakistani doesn't like, somewhere, they will no longer have the power to shut off parts of the internet. The Pakistani who is without Facebook is not blameless -- it was he who gave the government the power to take Facebook away in the first place. (talk) 23:43, 23 March 2011 (UTC)