South Park Censored

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby skeptical scientist » Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:07 pm UTC

folkhero-cum-Dream wrote:The show's creators chose not to follow an Islamic rule in order to deliberately cause offense.

You know what? Yes. What South Park's creators were doing was offensive to many. When people's beliefs are criticized, and particularly when those beliefs are religious, people tend to take offense. And you know what? Too damn bad. The idea people might take offense does not grant their beliefs immunity from criticism, especially when those beliefs are entirely deserving of criticism. And the specific beliefs that Parker and Stone were mocking were the beliefs that one is justified in threatening with death those who dare make drawings of the prophet Muhammad. Criticism of beliefs which need to be criticized should not be suppressed simply because such criticism might offend.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby MartianInvader » Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:36 pm UTC

folkhero wrote: The important thing though, is that the only way South Park was offensive to Muslims was that it did not adhere to a specific teaching of the Islam faith. I'm not sure how I can say this any more clearly: the episode was not insulting or criticizing Muhammad, the Islam faith or any non-violent Muslims. The show's creators chose not to follow an Islamic rule. Now, I feel very bad that innocent Muslims are being killed across the world, but I don't think that that makes it morally wrong, or assholish to not follow the rules of their religion. If someone wants to impose their religious rules on me, I think it's more than morally justified to defy them, if only just to prove that you can and you aren't intimidated. If we went to war with India, would I be an asshole if I continued my habit of eating beef, even though most Indians would find that offensive?


It's really unimportant whether the episode was directly criticizing/insulting Islam or not. Showing a representation of the prophet Mohammad is an insult. Now, if this had been an innocent mistake, for example, if they didn't know it would offend Muslims, or didn't understand how much of a sore spot it was in the Muslim world, then yes, it would be completely understandable. But this wasn't intended to be anything less than offensive to Muslims, and as such they will perceive it as an insult.

It's hard to come up with a good analogy. Maybe back in the Roman times, if you had a book of seasoning tips for Christians who were being fed to lions. Or, I dunno, something giving seemingly-well-intentioned advice for how African American churches could be run better ("Get rid of all that jumping, dancing, and singing! It's silly!"). Back during the Jim Crow era. Yes, it's allowed, but it's in terrible taste, and it is within Comedy Central's rights to censor it.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Dream » Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:19 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:Criticism of beliefs which need to be criticized should not be suppressed simply because such criticism might offend.

And if they'd simply criticised those beliefs, as probably a majority of European media did in the aftermath of the Jyllends-Posten fiasco, they'd be doing something entirely different. They'd be very unlikely to be under any threat whatsoever, just as every media commentator mysteriously escaped a death sentence for saying that depictions of the Prophet should not be cause for offence. Because that's criticism, and tends to be a great deal less offensive than, y'know, actual offence. And don't even get me started on whether your idea of which beliefs "need" to be criticised is important.

It's true that religion doesn't (or shouldn't) get a free pass in terms of examining it's tenets without regard to a hypersensitive potential to offend. But it's also true that when you know something causes offence, and you do it deliberately to cause that offence, you're out of line. Just because the first is true, doesn't mean the second doesn't exist.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Apr 25, 2010 3:23 pm UTC

MartianInvader wrote:it is within Comedy Central's rights to censor it.

Well no shit. It's also within Comedy Central's legal rights to cancel South Park outright. How is that even remotely relevant to whether we think it's a good idea for them to have done so?

Dream wrote:but understanding why religious people take these things so seriously is the key to understanding the issue.
As is understanding why the rest of us shouldn't have to follow your religion's rules just because your religion says we should. My freedom of speech outweighs your freedom not to be offended. Except, apparently, when it's your *religious* sensibilities that are being offended. Then I'm just being an asshole to be an asshole and it's good that someone responsible was there to heavily censor me.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:34 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:My freedom of speech outweighs your freedom not to be offended.

You know as anyone here that self-censoring to avoid hurting people is not comparable to the government doing the same. See: Every discussion on problematic language. Ever.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Malice » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:43 pm UTC

Dream wrote:It's true that religion doesn't (or shouldn't) get a free pass in terms of examining it's tenets without regard to a hypersensitive potential to offend. But it's also true that when you know something causes offence, and you do it deliberately to cause that offence, you're out of line. Just because the first is true, doesn't mean the second doesn't exist.


It's certainly understandable that followers of a religion would object to grave offense toward that religion. I still think it's misguided (non-Muslims should not be held to Islamic law) and wrong (violence or the threat of violence is unwarranted here).

I also think that just because something's offensive doesn't mean it should be censored, by Comedy Central or anyone else. Sometimes it's important to offend. I think the Muslim community (the part which gets offended and threat-happy over this issue) are dicks for trying to control/curtail the global expression of an idea. And I think that if more people were willing to stand up to these bullies, they wouldn't have the same power that they do now. In this circumstance, self-censorship isn't just polite, it's a statement of surrender to those who would violently enforce their beliefs on others.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:36 pm UTC

Dream wrote:Imagine you had a website called "Abortions in Christ" (and weren't yourself an abortionist, just a satirist) and that website got as many hits in a fortnight as a South Park episode has viewers. You'd get death threats from christians, and some might even try to carry them out. All about a joke, but one that in their view was an outrageous provocation for its own sake.

I don't remotely agree with Cleverbeans, but understanding why religious people take these things so seriously is the key to understanding the issue.
Unless you're arguing that the death threats from Christians in that example are actually justified, this doesn't legitimize the reaction to the South Park episode.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:40 pm UTC

I don't think anyone is trying to. Except Cleverbeans, but Dream isn't really responsible for what that guy says.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Dream » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:49 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Except, apparently, when it's your *religious* sensibilities that are being offended. Then I'm just being an asshole to be an asshole and it's good that someone responsible was there to heavily censor me.

No, not just religion. The BBC's highest rated presented was suspended for making highly offensive prank calls to an elderly actor. I fully agree with that. When there's no purpose behind causing offence beyond offending, I don't mind if the person is prevented from causing the offence because I see the harm caused as something the victim has a right to be free of. Importantly, the intent has to be there, as if there is any intent other than offending (like say reprinting the Prophet cartoons to report the news) then the free expression right trumps the free from harm right.

Malice wrote:In this circumstance, self-censorship isn't just polite, it's a statement of surrender to those who would violently enforce their beliefs on others.

What about the (presumably) hundreds of millions of muslims who would never think of hurting anyone over this, nor even actively suppressing it, but who would feel hurt by it? Surely we can moderate our expression in order to be sensitive toward them without having to "surrender" to the nutcases. The Foreign Office just apologised to the Pope for releasing an internal memo that mentioned pope-brand condoms. If I had threatened to kill some civil servants, would that mean the FO would just have to stick by its gaffe because not doing so would be surrendering to my threats?

Marzipan, Leibniz was saying that only Muslims get violent over this kind of thing, which I don't think is true if you find something as offensive to other religions as depicting the Prophet is to Islam.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:56 pm UTC

Jesus and Buddha were egregiously mocked. Muhammad was not. What was mocked was the idea that showing Muhammad is something that non-Muslims should be expected to care about avoiding.

I mean, I don't know how many times I have to reiterate this:
Jesus - watching Internet porn. Fornication of that nature goes against the teachings of just about every socially or politically active Christian sect. Sure, probably not all of them, but enough of them that it's definitely a thing.

Buddha - snorting coke. Intoxicants are highly frowned upon within Buddhism. The idea that Buddha himself would be doing lines like it's no big deal is probably about as close to blasphemy as you can get, since I don't Buddhism considers anything to be blasphemy. (I could be wrong, I'm not entirely knowledgeable about Buddhism. But I know enough to know that Buddha snorting coke is not A-OK.)

Muhammad - Stood there without any part of his flesh visible and answered a couple of questions in a soft-spoken voice. This goes against Muslim teachings, yes, but in the same way the above go against their respective religions' teachings. Also relevant here is the nigh-ubiquity of phrases like "God dammit!" and "Jesus Christ!" in movies and TV. Those are certainly taking the Lord's name in vain, but we wouldn't rationalize or justify the actions of radical Christians who made death threats against the writers of those movies or shows.

Dream wrote:What about the (presumably) hundreds of millions of muslims who would never think of hurting anyone over this, nor even actively suppressing it, but who would feel hurt by it?
What about the (presumably) ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of Buddhists who would never think of hurting anyone over Buddha snorting coke? What about the (not even presumably; DEFINITELY) hundreds of millions of Christians who aren't threatening to kill people because Jesus was watching Internet porn or because of South Park's frequently blasphemous depictions of him?
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby folkhero » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

If someone is offended by the mere fact that not everyone in the world agrees with them, I think they should be offended. Any attempt to treat those people with kid-gloves by pretending like everyone agrees with them so as to not cause offense is just appeasement to their unreasonableness. When someone believes that they are entitled to such treatment in a free society, the offensive speech serves an important pedagogical purpose.

South Park does aim to offend, and it tries to offend as broad an audience as possible; satire that censors it's self for fear of causing offense is a toothless, flaccid, and wholly worthless thing.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Dream » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:20 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:Jesus and Buddha were egregiously mocked....

Come the fuck on. Try harder than that. Jesus and Buddha didn't actually do anything. The imaginary, fictitious renditions of them "did" those things. It wasn't real. The depiction of the Prophet really did happen, in the real world, done by real people. It actually happened. The Jesus and Buddha stuff didn't. Big difference.
we wouldn't rationalize or justify the actions of radical Christians who made death threats against the writers of those movies or shows.

I'm not rationalising or justifying anything. I'm saying that people who are arguing that this shouldn't have been removed from the show are ignoring perfectly good reasons to do so. If Parker and Stone maybe animated Jesus doing something sexually appalling with an actual, consecrated Host bread, then I'd say they'd crossed a line there too. I'd say that should be removed, and some other way of making the same point inserted. I wouldn't ever say that anyone was OK in threatening death over it.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Vaniver » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:35 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:But when mocked in humour, Muslims are the only ones who have turned violent.

You should have said "when deliberately provoked". Because that's what's happening here. To us it's a joke, to them it's an appalling attack on a central tenet of their belief system, and one undertaken for no reason other than that it would offend.
Dream, this is the problem. When someone takes themself / their religion so seriously that they think that mocking is deliberate provocation, they are wrong.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Xeio » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:38 pm UTC

Jeeze, I have a solution for the celebrities in South Park now! They can just pay extremists to form a religion that bashing celebrities is an offense punishable by death. Then the extremists just use a thinly veiled threat to murder anyone who insults a celebrity and BAM! Everyone else will self-censor for their own good!

Oh, wait, that's exactly the situation that the episode was mocking? You know, like the real world actions by Muslim extremists, who people in this thread seem to keep incessantly defending? Hrmmmm...

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Princess Marzipan » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:48 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Princess Marzipan wrote:Jesus and Buddha were egregiously mocked....

Come the fuck on. Try harder than that. Jesus and Buddha didn't actually do anything. The imaginary, fictitious renditions of them "did" those things. It wasn't real. The depiction of the Prophet really did happen, in the real world, done by real people. It actually happened. The Jesus and Buddha stuff didn't. Big difference.
Please elaborate on that, because I see no difference in any of those three depictions. They're all blasphemous. Why should we put on kid gloves with regards to one of them, and not the other two?
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:58 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Dream wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:But when mocked in humour, Muslims are the only ones who have turned violent.

You should have said "when deliberately provoked". Because that's what's happening here. To us it's a joke, to them it's an appalling attack on a central tenet of their belief system, and one undertaken for no reason other than that it would offend.
Dream, this is the problem. When someone takes themself / their religion so seriously that they think that mocking is deliberate provocation, they are wrong.

I hardly consider myself a fundamentalist Muslim, but I think the mocking is deliberate provocation, since it was done in direct response to the observation that depictions of Muhammad are provocative. Does that mean that it's right to make death threats over South Park? No. But it does mean that, alongside doing something that is legitimately or illegitimately offensive, Stone and Parker are doing something specifically because they know that lots of people don't want them to.

Anyway,
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Dream » Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:17 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
Dream wrote:
Princess Marzipan wrote:Jesus and Buddha were egregiously mocked....

Come the fuck on. Try harder than that. Jesus and Buddha didn't actually do anything. The imaginary, fictitious renditions of them "did" those things. It wasn't real. The depiction of the Prophet really did happen, in the real world, done by real people. It actually happened. The Jesus and Buddha stuff didn't. Big difference.
Please elaborate on that, because I see no difference in any of those three depictions. They're all blasphemous. Why should we put on kid gloves with regards to one of them, and not the other two?

Wait, do you not understand, or do you not agree? I don't think this is very complicated:

Jesus didn't look at net porn. Buddha didn't take drugs. That was fiction. Not real, just a story.

A likeness was made of The Prophet and shown to millions of people. That was reality. It happened in the real world, with real people.

All in their way were offensive, but only one was an real world act in contravention of a basic edict of the faith concerned.


Vaniver, what TGB said. And also, I covered that above when I said that this would be a very different story if South Park had any reason to depict Muhammad beyond to cause offence.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Vaniver » Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:20 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Yeah. So?
There are two arguments here: whether or not South Park should offend people, and whether or not the response some Muslims have to mocking should be treated with horror and disapproval. MartianInvader's statement is on the first argument. I don't watch South Park because I have better things to do with my life than watch a comedy show based on offending people, so I mostly agree. Deliberately offending people is something I try to avoid.

Dream's comment is along the other lines. It's important to understand what's going on here- but it's very important to understand that the radical Muslim response is a childish and stunted approach. In America these days, only the craziest Christians kill actual abortion doctors. Throughout much of the Muslim world, and wherever the radicals can in the rest of the world, blaspheming is swiftly punished by death.

It's not a "religious people" thing. It's a "radical Muslim" thing. It should be understood, but it should be neither normalized nor approved of. What other group or individuals routinely kill or threaten to kill people that make fun of them?
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:45 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Dream's comment is along the other lines.

That's what I'm disputing. I see no evidence of this beyond that people are responding to it as if it were.

My edited comment is probably more useful than the terse original.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Xeio » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:01 pm UTC

I fear for the day when we start to censor what we wear because extremists threaten to kill us. But hey, it's self defense, they don't want earthquakes to happen or anything like that. Lets hope there isn't a religious rule against thinking... lest we offend the extremists.

Most of you are still forgetting that even if this is offensive, they aren't being forced to watch it. In fact, more power to them not to watch it because they'll find it offensive.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:03 pm UTC

Xeio wrote:Most of you are still forgetting that even if this is offensive, they aren't being forced to watch it.

I am no more forgetting this than Hawk would be forgetting the same if I started to refer to other posters as fuckbags. Yes, people can usually get away from things that offend them, but that shouldn't motivate people to be deliberately unpleasant.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Asylumer » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:04 pm UTC

Dream wrote:A likeness was made of The Prophet and shown to millions of people. That was reality. It happened in the real world, with real people.

All in their way were offensive, but only one was an real world act in contravention of a basic edict of the faith concerned.


In other words, it is considered offensive for non-Muslims to not follow the edicts of the faith. How does this even sound sane to you? This sort of attitude would surprise me if I did not see similar sentiments expressed elsewhere, such as a Muslim commenter on The Young Turks channel who expressed disapproval that Cenk Uygur, a non-theist, ate pork. Why? Because his parents were Muslim.

This sort of twisted justification should never be tolerated by anybody with a shred of intellectual honesty. If it offends Muslims that other people do not follow their faith, then we have a serious problem. That sort of attitude is irreconcilable with any democratic country which values the Freedom of Speech or even the Freedom of Religion. What really peeves me about this is how Atheists are met with criticism which borders on slander (see Ben Stein trying to convince the public that Richard Dawkins believes Aliens created life on Earth) and yet instead of resorting to death threats, we are more than happy to take these issues into the intellectual arena where they can be ridiculed and exposed for what they are. That is where the entire value of Free Speech comes from. Attempting to stifle dissent via cries of being offended destroys any value in a system that is supposed to protect our right to speak our minds. Yeah, the truth can hurt, but in the real world you're bound to offend somebody no matter what you do, and you're especially bound to offend somebody when expressing views that disagree.

South Park is a show that attempts to use offensiveness to spread a message that includes many things, tolerance among them. The only other group which reacted nearly the same as many Muslims have was Scientology. That such a benign showing of Muhammad is capable of creating such outrage bodes ill for the prospects of peace between Enlightenment-inspired cultures and Islamic cultures who have long held more fundamentalist views espoused by anti-intellectuals such as Al-Ghazali. This is the kind of attitude which belongs in the Dark Ages.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby folkhero » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:39 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Jesus didn't look at net porn. Buddha didn't take drugs. That was fiction. Not real, just a story.

A likeness was made of The Prophet and shown to millions of people. That was reality. It happened in the real world, with real people.

Exodus 20:7 wrote:You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

just about every South Park character wrote:Goddamn it
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby jestingrabbit » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:47 pm UTC

Asylumer wrote:In other words, it is considered offensive for non-Muslims to not follow the edicts of the faith. How does this even sound sane to you?


In much the same way that it sounds sane to me that if I go into a synagogue I cover my head.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Vaniver wrote:Dream's comment is along the other lines.

That's what I'm disputing. I see no evidence of this beyond that people are responding to it as if it were.


Yeah, I can't see Vaniver's reading of Dream's post either.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Whelan » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:54 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:
Asylumer wrote:In other words, it is considered offensive for non-Muslims to not follow the edicts of the faith. How does this even sound sane to you?
In much the same way that it sounds sane to me that if I go into a synagogue I cover my head.

But you eat non-Kosher food? There's a difference between following their customs when you choose and being forced to follow them at all times on pain of death.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Aetius » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:55 pm UTC

Just to put this in context:

For years South Park has been deliberately and egregiously offensive, solely for humor value, and the world at large was fine with it, and Comedy Central especially was fine with it. In this instance they were very minorly offensive, for a stated satirical purpose on an issue they found very important - and for laughs as well-, and Comedy Central censored them, and the world at large is not fine with them.

Don't for one second think this is about anything but the threat of violence.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Omegaton » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:59 pm UTC

May 20th: Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

http://www.mynorthwest.com/?nid=11&sid=313170

Spoiler:
Cartoonist overwhelmed by response to "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day"

After a Seattle artist's cartoon went viral, she says she's not going with it.

Molly Norris drew up a sketch declaring May 20th "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" after Comedy Central cut a portion of a South Park episode following a death threat from a radical Muslim group.

Norris explained her motivation on an appearance on KIRO Radio's Dave Ross show. "As a cartoonist I just felt so much passion about what had happened I wanted to kind of counter Comedy Central's message they sent about feeling afraid."

Producers of South Park had announced Thursday that Comedy Central removed a speech about intimidation and fear from their show after a radical Muslim group warned that they could be killed for insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

The group said it wasn't threatening South Park producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but it included a gruesome picture of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker killed by a Muslim extremist in 2004, and said the producers could meet the same fate. The website posted the addresses of Comedy Central's New York office and the California production studio where South Park is made.

The momentum drawn from Norris' cartoon was more than the artist had anticipated and by Sunday Norris had posted the following message on her website:

"I am NOT involved in "Everybody Draw Mohammd Day!" I made a cartoon that went viral and I am not going with it. Many other folks have used my cartoon to start sites, etc. Please go to them as I am a private person who draws stuff"

On her website Norris originally explained the campaign was not meant to disrespect any religion, but rather meant to protect people's right to express themselves.

In her present post Norris directs those interested in submitting drawings to the other sites who've taken up the campaign.

Asylumer
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Asylumer » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:02 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:
Asylumer wrote:In other words, it is considered offensive for non-Muslims to not follow the edicts of the faith. How does this even sound sane to you?


In much the same way that it sounds sane to me that if I go into a synagogue I cover my head.


Being respectful to your host is the same as following their beliefs wherever you go?

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby jestingrabbit » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:52 pm UTC

No, but showing a reasonable amount of respect to one group is analogous to showing a reasonable amount of respect to another. I don't go around laughing at catholics on ash wednesday. I don't disrupt anzac day commemorations. I don't use racist epithets. I don't see that my restraint wrt these diverse circumstances is putting any constraint on my ability to make arguments or express my position on the actions of these groups. All I'm doing is extending a modicum of respect. Mutual respect is the basis of civilized life much more than the ability to say whatever you like regardless of the offense caused.

That said, I don't see that death threats are called for once offense has been caused. But being offensive to make a point that could be made another way isn't something I see as worthwhile.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Asylumer » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:05 pm UTC

jestingrabbit wrote:No, but showing a reasonable amount of respect to one group is analogous to showing a reasonable amount of respect to another. I don't go around laughing at catholics on ash wednesday. I don't disrupt anzac day commemorations. I don't use racist epithets. I don't see that my restraint wrt these diverse circumstances is putting any constraint on my ability to make arguments or express my position on the actions of these groups. All I'm doing is extending a modicum of respect. Mutual respect is the basis of civilized life much more than the ability to say whatever you like regardless of the offense caused.

That said, I don't see that death threats are called for once offense has been caused. But being offensive to make a point that could be made another way isn't something I see as worthwhile.


This is not going around laughing at Catholics or disrupting anything. Read the issue again. The reason Muslims are offended is because Non-Muslims showed a picture of Muhammad.

This isn't even funny anymore. You are defending the concept of being offended by people not following the same faith as the person who takes offense.

AGAIN: The only reason Muslims are offended is because South Park showed Muhammad. They didn't show Muhammad snorting crack or watching Porn. They didn't show him doing anything obscene. Their crime was to disobey the tenets of Muslim faith by drawing an image of what they think Muhammad looks like.

Consider that carefully.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Le1bn1z » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:09 pm UTC

This is ridiculous. Doesn't anybody see the irony in demanding that South Park try to "gently understand" Islam's sensitivity towards humour, and not demanding that Muslims make a greater effort to understand the role of satire in the West, and Western sensitivity to being stabbed in the face?

The implicit message of people like Dream on this board is that Westerners are the mature adults and should be understanding of the angry, crying children (Muslim society) who really can't be expected to know any better.

Bullocks. They can and should be held to a higher standard than that.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Malice » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:11 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Malice wrote:In this circumstance, self-censorship isn't just polite, it's a statement of surrender to those who would violently enforce their beliefs on others.

What about the (presumably) hundreds of millions of muslims who would never think of hurting anyone over this, nor even actively suppressing it, but who would feel hurt by it? Surely we can moderate our expression in order to be sensitive toward them without having to "surrender" to the nutcases.


Honestly? Fuck 'em. I have no problems being polite and avoiding unreasonable offense; but they've declared one of the most influential/important historical/literary figures ever to be entirely off-limits for the entire goddamn world. The world of ideas is as free market as it gets, and nobody deserves that large a hand-out. To refrain from offending them restricts artistic expression, and prevents grappling with Mohammed, his life, his ideas, and his effects, in any visual medium. It'd be like the United States going, "Okay, nobody gets to talk about George Washington. If a non-American even says his name or draws his picture, we will be extremely offended. Thanks." The rest of the world would be justified in saying, "Fuck that. Your country has some problems with it, and I want to talk about Washington's role in creating them. Or how awesome he was. Or use him as an example in my movie about false teeth throughout history. Or..."

What they're asking is unreasonable. I won't stick to a kosher diet just because that's what Jews eat; I won't pray to Jesus just because that's what Christians do; and I won't refrain from depicting Mohammed just because Muslims do. I consider it tremendously rude that they've asked me, and inexcusable that some of them have tried to enforce that request with violence.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:53 pm UTC

Asylumer wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:No, but showing a reasonable amount of respect to one group is analogous to showing a reasonable amount of respect to another. I don't go around laughing at catholics on ash wednesday. I don't disrupt anzac day commemorations. I don't use racist epithets. I don't see that my restraint wrt these diverse circumstances is putting any constraint on my ability to make arguments or express my position on the actions of these groups. All I'm doing is extending a modicum of respect. Mutual respect is the basis of civilized life much more than the ability to say whatever you like regardless of the offense caused.

That said, I don't see that death threats are called for once offense has been caused. But being offensive to make a point that could be made another way isn't something I see as worthwhile.


This is not going around laughing at Catholics or disrupting anything. Read the issue again. The reason Muslims are offended is because Non-Muslims showed a picture of Muhammad.

And in jestingrabbit's example, the issue would be Jews being offended because he didn't wear a hat. Whether it's legitimate or reasonable to take offense in either case is beside the point of whether we should deliberately do things because we know them to be offensive — the actual point that jestingrabbit, Dream, and I have been challenging.

Le1bn1z wrote:This is ridiculous. Doesn't anybody see the irony in demanding that South Park try to "gently understand" Islam's sensitivity towards humour, and not demanding that Muslims make a greater effort to understand the role of satire in the West, and Western sensitivity to being stabbed in the face?

I and the general population of this forum have much more contact with financial supporters (viewers) of South Park than with radical Muslims. Additionally, the creators of South Park are a small and readily-identifiable group whose behavior is much more controllable than that of a subset of a billion-member religion.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Asylumer » Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:00 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:And in jestingrabbit's example, the issue would be Jews being offended because he didn't wear a hat. Whether it's legitimate or reasonable to take offense in either case is beside the point of whether we should deliberately do things because we know them to be offensive — the actual point that jestingrabbit, Dream, and I have been challenging.


Are Jews upset that non-Jews don't wear hats, or are they upset because a nonbeliever isn't being a good guest? The issue there is the disturbance. A better analogy would be like the others given here: expecting all non-Jews to eat Kosher food or follow the Sabbath. The issue with the South Park episode is that some Muslims believe it is alright to force their beliefs onto others by taking offense.

EDIT: And if it wasn't clear enough, the expression of a view is a far cry from harassing believers in the place of their worship, or showing respect for their beliefs while you are invited. Does that really need to be said? Are we going to start tolerating homophobic bigotry because homosexual behaviors or gay pride parades anger certain people? After all, Pride Parades can be deliberately offensive as well. I don't suppose you'll compare those instances with a homosexual couple going into a church and making out in the middle of the congregation...
Last edited by Asylumer on Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:18 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Aetius » Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:00 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:Whether it's legitimate or reasonable to take offense in either case is beside the point


It's the only point.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Malice » Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:05 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
Asylumer wrote:
jestingrabbit wrote:No, but showing a reasonable amount of respect to one group is analogous to showing a reasonable amount of respect to another. I don't go around laughing at catholics on ash wednesday. I don't disrupt anzac day commemorations. I don't use racist epithets. I don't see that my restraint wrt these diverse circumstances is putting any constraint on my ability to make arguments or express my position on the actions of these groups. All I'm doing is extending a modicum of respect. Mutual respect is the basis of civilized life much more than the ability to say whatever you like regardless of the offense caused.

That said, I don't see that death threats are called for once offense has been caused. But being offensive to make a point that could be made another way isn't something I see as worthwhile.


This is not going around laughing at Catholics or disrupting anything. Read the issue again. The reason Muslims are offended is because Non-Muslims showed a picture of Muhammad.

And in jestingrabbit's example, the issue would be Jews being offended because he didn't wear a hat. Whether it's legitimate or reasonable to take offense in either case is beside the point of whether we should deliberately do things because we know them to be offensive — the actual point that jestingrabbit, Dream, and I have been challenging.


The issue would be Jews being offended because jestingrabbit didn't always wear a hat, even outside of a synagogue. Whether it's reasonable to take offense at something is absolutely integral to the question of whether we should accommodate someone's desire not to be offended. Reasonable accommodation is expected in order to participate in society; unreasonable accommodation is not. For example: it's one thing to come up to me in a restaurant and say, "Please put out your cigarette, I find the smell distasteful," it's another thing to come up to me in a restaurant and say, "I'd appreciate it if you didn't eat the food you ordered, I have an eating disorder." The former sort I will generally comply with; the latter sort has crossed a line beyond what I need to be doing to make the people around me feel better.

Now, if that guy in the restaurant has repeatedly asked me to stop eating, even to the point of threatening me with bodily harm, I might go in there and eat a meal right in front of him, purposely to offend him, to show that I'm not afraid of him and I'm not going to comply with his bullshit. Or I might just be hungry.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby big boss » Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:17 pm UTC

Being deliberately offensive may make one a bad person, but no where in the law is the right "to not be offended." South Park has been offending people for years, even specifically singling out one person and offending them for an entire episode, and no one (or relatively few people) have ever made a big stink about it until now.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Vaniver » Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:31 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:That's what I'm disputing. I see no evidence of this beyond that people are responding to it as if it were.
Dream, despite claiming they aren't rationalizing or justifying the radical Muslim response, has written several posts rationalizing the radical Muslim response. The only condemnation of it as follows:
Dream wrote:I wouldn't ever say that anyone was OK in threatening death over it.
Dream doesn't say it's bad, but wouldn't say it's OK.

Rationalizing it is a necessary part of understanding it; and as said before there is value to be had in understanding it. I see no evidence Dream's attempts at rationalizing it, though, have been to find a way to reduce or eliminate it- they seem pretty clearly to be attempts to normalize it. For example, see the comments equating radical Islam with other religions:
Dream wrote:I think there are more religions than Islam that have members who would react violently if provoked in certain ways, ways that members of no religion would find hard to understand. Imagine you had a website called "Abortions in Christ" (and weren't yourself an abortionist, just a satirist) and that website got as many hits in a fortnight as a South Park episode has viewers. You'd get death threats from christians, and some might even try to carry them out. All about a joke, but one that in their view was an outrageous provocation for its own sake.
Dream wrote:Marzipan, Leibniz was saying that only Muslims get violent over this kind of thing, which I don't think is true if you find something as offensive to other religions as depicting the Prophet is to Islam.
This is, as I brought up in my post, demonstrably untrue. The only contemporary examples of religiously motivated Christian violence are the murders of abortion doctors which was disapproved of by Christendom about the same that threats and attacks on blasphemers are approved of by Dar al-Islam. The crazies who shot abortion doctors weren't shooting people who made crucifix dildos or mocked Christianity- they shot people who routinely performed procedures that ended the development of fetuses.

Also, someone already did the Christ is pro-abortion thing, eight years ago. They got a lot of angry press, but I don't see any mention of death threats.


So, I see in Dream's posts a lack of disapproval for the radical Muslim response. And that is a problem.

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:I and the general population of this forum have much more contact with financial supporters (viewers) of South Park than with radical Muslims. Additionally, the creators of South Park are a small and readily-identifiable group whose behavior is much more controllable than that of a subset of a billion-member religion.
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Re: South Park Censored

Postby TheAmazingRando » Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:59 pm UTC

If the portrayal of Mohammad on South Park was simply about offense for the sake of offense, then I would agree that it's in poor taste. And I can certainly understand the motivations of those who are offended by it: I come from a conservative, mostly-fundamentalist Christian background, and I'm often surrounded by people of that persuasion. I know religious offense isn't something you can just turn off logically (or at least, I know it's something that takes years to actually change).

This is not just offending a religious group for the hell of it (though they do that plenty and I have no problem with that). There's a non-negligible group of radical Muslims that has shown that they are ready and willing to use violence and bully tactics to enforce Islamic theocracy. This is entirely incompatible with the principles of freedom of expression and religious practice.

Now, it seems to me that the best way to defy asserted authority is to refuse to abide by it. The portrayal of Mohammad might offend non-radical Muslims, and that's unfortunate (though I don't to see how it's worse than any other blasphemy on South Park), but it's primary effect is to say "fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" to a group that is actively practicing religious oppression. The blame for collateral damage should be placed solely on the group that has human rights violation as its stated goal, not the ones standing up to it.

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Re: South Park Censored

Postby Xeio » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:04 am UTC

Omegaton wrote:May 20th: Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

http://www.mynorthwest.com/?nid=11&sid=313170
Hrmmm, artistic talent not required I hope? I can't draw much but stick figures. :P


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