Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Comparing Apples To Oranges

In The Agora contributor Zach Wendling reports the refusal of Borders and Waldenbooks to stock the current issue of Free Inquiry, because the issue features one of the controversial Jyllands-Posten cartoons, the bomb-in-turban image of Mohammed. JonS left this bewildering comment:

Would you also be calling for a boycott if it were an Andres Serrano coffee table book containing reproductions of "Piss Christ" that Borders and Waldenbooks refused to stock?

If I were those two booksellers, I'd certainly consider it after the Christian Right's response to Martin Scorsese's heartfelt movie about Jesus's personal struggles with his dual nature. Catholic and conservative Christian groups demonstrated against The Last Temptation of Christ with petitions, phone campaigns, radio broadcasts, and street protests, leading more than more than 3,500 theaters nationwide to refuse to screen it.

Free speech indeed. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

I left this response in comments:

Danish cartoons: Jyllands-Posten publishes article with illustrations of Mohammed, most innocuous, a few defamatory. Violent protests break out in many parts of the world. Vandalism and killings ensue. Many protesters call for the deaths of the cartoonists. A few governments call for the Danish government to take actions against Jyllands-Posten. Many stage boycotts against products sold by Danish firms that have nothing to do with the cartoons. An American magazine chooses to put one of the defamatory pictures on the cover of its current issue. Two book chains normally sell the magazine in question, but decline to stock the current issue, citing not any threatened boycott but fear of the sometimes-deadly violence of the cartoonoclasts.

Last Temptation of Christ: Martin Scorsese directs a film that defames Jesus Christ. Two notable criticisms are the film Jesus' denial of His omniscience ("God only talks to me a little at a time and tells me as much as I need to know") and sinlessness ("I'm a liar. A hypocrite. I'm afraid of everything. I never tell the truth") - quotes from IMDb. Many Christians engage in the time-honored American tradition of spirited but peaceful protest. Wikipedia has to go all the way across the Atlantic to find an example of protest violence, involving the time-honored French tradition of a molotov cocktail. Some call for boycotts against participating theaters and MCA, which distributed the film; no calls for boycotts against innocent bystanders uninvolved with the film.

Yep, the two are just aliike [sic].

I need to find a spell checker that'll work with stuff I type in comments sections.

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