Opinions and Orifices

(I accidentally published the half finished version of this post this morning and then got to work and realised it made no sense!)

When it came to having an opinion a friend once said to me “Opinions are like arseholes. Everyone’s got one but no-one wants to see yours.”

I wasn’t the least bit interested in the Danish cartoon saga until it suddenly became news. Now I have searched for and viewed the cartoons. Ho hum… Such is life in a country where freedom of speech is normal and we regularly poke fun (and enjoy it) at sacred cows.

Jonny Baker summarised the tangled issues as ‘freedom of speech | blasphemy | deliberate provocation | embarassment to muslims | legitimate outrage’

Matt (a gifted Aussie cartoonist) is surprisingly surprised at the power of cartoons. I think cartooning is a wonderfully subversive mode of critique and a good cartoonist is a treasure – think Leunig (although I don’t always ‘get’ him)

So if you want to ‘see my butt’ read on… I have a few opinions:

I am not for persecuting or ridiculing people of other faiths, but I am for freedom of speech, and if a situation warrants a bit of jest then so be it.

Perhaps it wasn’t real smart to publish the images… however in a reasonable world (as I view it thru my lens) we ought to be able to cop stuff like that on the chin.

The extremist response and its spin offs have been appalling and done nothing for any kind of healing relationship. In many ways the cartoons are now more widely viewed than ever before and the whole muslim cause (at least in the west) has been more discredited than ever by the nonsense.

Now we have people over here making decisions about what we will and won’t publish partly from a desire for good relations and partly from fear of reprisals. Are we being wise and discerning or are giving in to extremists? Even if the average garden variety muslim is offended I don’t believe that ought to stop their publication. Its not that I am wanting to offend, but rather that I believe we need to be consistent with what we are prepared to publish. I’m sure the SMH wouldn’t bat an eyelid at pulling the piss out of Jesus on Easter.

It is very much a clash of cultures and worldviews. I fully admit that I am unable to view the world as a muslim and hence make good sense of their response. But even so from where I do sit it looks like it is out of all proportion.

Saint has plenty to say on the whole issue if you are interested. Funnily enough I notice many people are avoiding giving opinions.

Anyway there are my opinions… Maybe the saying is true!

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