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12 Danish Cartoons [Feb. 6th, 2006|06:36 am]
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I think that pretty much sums up my views on this whole Danish cartoon issue. In case you've been living under a rock or don't read the news, a while back a Danish newspaper published 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed. Several cartoonists declined to participate due to fears of violence, but some did. You can view their cartoons (along with some very interesting commentary) at http://timblair.net.

Here is a quote from that same blog:

Odd that this concern over maintaining the peace doesn’t limit Muslim commentary on other religions or communities. The Islamic Bookstore in Lakemba, for example, sells vicious anti-Semitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as well as various anti-Christian titles (Crucifixion – or Cruci-FICTION?). Sheik Khalid Yasin, a regular guest lecturer in Australia, declared that “there’s no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend” and denounced modern clothes as the work of “faggots, homosexuals and lesbians”; Christians, he said, deliberately infected Africans with AIDS. Yasin wouldn’t merely draw cartoons of homosexuals—he’d have them put to death in accordance with Koranic law. One Imam told Australian students that Jews put poison in bananas. Local Iraqis voting in their country’s elections were shot at and otherwise intimidated by Islamic extremists whose banners announced: “You vote, you die.” These friends of free speech were also observed photographing those who dared to vote. Sheikh Feiz Muhammad told a supportive Bankstown crowd last year that women deserve to be raped if they wore “satanical” garments, including anything “strapless, backless, [or] sleeveless”, and also “mini-skirts [and] tight jeans.”

All of this is far more hateful and moronic than those twelve Danish cartoons, not one of which depicts the Prophet eating babies, poisoning fruit, or infecting Africans with AIDS. Far from being against hate-speech, many Muslim spokesmen seem to be aggressively for it; until, of course, someone contemplates publishing harmless drawings of an old beardy guy. At that point Sheik Fehmi El-Imam warns that we risk “disturbing the peace”.

This is clear and blatant hypocrisy by the Muslim world. So far, in response to the 12 cartoons I linked to above, extremists have reacted violently:

Thousands of Muslims rampaged in Lebanon yesterday, setting fire to the Danish Embassy, burning Danish flags and hurling stones at a Maronite Catholic church as violent protests spread over caricatures of the prophet Mohammed. On Saturday, angry Syrians torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus in protest at the cartoons. [They also burned down the Danish consulate in Beiruit].

The Muslim community in Malta described the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed as an irresponsible act and an insult, but said that protests should be held in a peaceful and conciliatory way.

The Maltese Muslim community called for an official apology from the Danish government and those responsible for this "disgraceful, shocking behaviour".

While the local Muslim community said it believed in freedom of expression, it insisted that criticism should be conducted objectively, responsibly and respectfully.

The Islamic World Studies Centre in Malta said freedom of expression was being used to justify unacceptable behaviour.

"Since when did the concept of freedom of expression include the freedom of offending others, the propagation of racist values and the culture of superiority?"

Since always, actually. It is free speech--something that apparently Muslim governments do not understand. In the West, we are free to offend anybody through the use of satire and our goverments do not control what our press does. In America, it is a constitutionally protected right. While the Denmark has no first amendment, their goverment has sided with free press, saying that they will not apologize for something over which they do not have (nor wish to have) any control over. Our own administration could learn a lot about freedom of the press from this PM.

It's the utter hypocrisy of these Muslims that astounds me, both the militants and the goverments. Do they not realize that by their actions, all they're doing is proving whatever racial bias someone might read into these cartoons correct? "You dare show Islam as violent in a blasphemous way! Thats it! I'm burning down a consulate!" How does that look to the west? I'm sure there's some guy in America right now who is thinking, "Those damn towel heads are at it again, the Danes are right. I'm going to draw my own cartoon."

When the President of Iran made his anti-semitic remarks--remarks far more offensive than a political cartoon, where were the Jews storming the embassies of Iran, setting fire to the premises then raising star of david flags? (The muslim rioters raised a flag praising allah.) Would such an action be given a short wag of the finger, or be internationally condemned?

What the newspaper did was just plain stupid. When you have a community whose fringes are vocally militant and belong to terrorist organizations, pissing them off prolly isn't the wisest thing to do, and in Islam depicting the prophet Muhammed is a surefire way to piss off a good number of people, not to mention give terrorists more PR material. I wrote an entry a while back on how pissed off I get about racial slurs. I support free speech--which includes hate speech--but I don't agree with it. It's fine to disagree. Go ahead, disagree all you want.

But publishing cartoons mocking Jews and Christians in response? Burning down embassies and consulates? Rioting?

That's not disagreement. That's anarchy, and it's unacceptable. You want to talk about racism, Muslim governments? You want to talk about offensiveness or unacceptable behavior? START WITH YOUR OWN PEOPLE.

We in the West have freedom of speech, but we don't have the freedom to act uncivilized. Most of us--including Muslims--are reasonable people. But I can't fucking stand how these militants (and the governments that support them) are behaving. If anyone's to blame over this whole ordeal, it's them. If the world were responsible and considerate the newspaper (a crappy little Danish sheet) wouldn't have published, and no embassies should have been burned because of it. The Middle East would recognize that a few cartoons do not represent the views of two continents, and the West in turn would recognize that rioters do not a society make. Good discussion would be had by all, and that'd be the end of it. But the world is not like this. It makes me fucking sad to see the opinons of reasonable people trampled by extremism.

What can we learn from this? Muslim governments are hypocrites. Freedom will always offend people. When you clash with fundamentalism, fundamentalists clash back, hard (and get away with it). And finally, Danish cartoonists suck at drawing.

For some excellent reading, I recommend The Guardian's story on this issue. Other than that, I have nothing else to say.
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(no subject) [Jan. 30th, 2006|04:36 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements
A big thanks to Rob Newman for most of this, it's slightly out of date, so I've made a few minor changes...

We're told the polls show that people don't support the war. Or that they don't like the telly coverage. According to the polls many viewers are expressing their preference for a war with with no dead people, no blood and no mothers holding bits of broken child in an Umm Qassr A&E Ward. The polls also show it's not hard for viewers to choose between good and evil. Not when on one side you have humans with families, names, a wry sense of humour and a recent snapshot, and on the other you've got shadowy, anonymous hoards with less realised personas than the baddies in Tomb Raider.

In a debate about why the British public were not being shown images of Iraqi civilian casualties, unlike the viewers of Al-Jazeera (or, for that matter, every other news station in the world outside the "Coalition") Steve Anderson, controller of ITV News said:

"There seems to be an acceptance of images I don't think would be acceptable here." Well, first off, we'll be the judge of that, if we coped with eight series of Tarrant on TV I reckon we'll survive.

But what does "acceptability" mean in this context? Al-Jazeera is not showing these images because they're acceptable. It's showing them precisely because they are not. In showing carnage and lamentation Al-Jazeera asks us whether they have any place in a civilized world.

Modern war, wrote Howard Zinn, is always a war against children. It is ITV News, not Al-Jazeera, which accepts these child deaths as an inevitable part of modern politics, by accepting for domestic consumption what is unacceptable to world opinion. It is ITV News which follows Tony Blair's disgusting dictum that "we have to accept that there will inevitably be civilian casualties." Why burden those whose taxes are paying for this slaughter by showing its human cost? The public might "wobble". Can't be helped. Since in Blair's realpolitik we have to accept his necessary evil for a higher purpose, best to look the other way.

Well, should we look away? asks Al Jazeera. Or do we have a moral duty to know, to see, to hear the evil that's being done? Richard Sambrook, director of BBC News said images of Iraqi casualties "were not suitable for a British audience". Suitable! Yippee, let's have a tasteful war, jack! (These mutts are meant to be providing PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING. I'd say it was in the public interest to see the same carnage that the rest of the world outside here and the USA sees so that we can know the dragon's teeth we are sowing and the whirlwind we must reap.)

ITV/ BBC/ Sky news implicitly accept indiscriminate mass slaughter as a price worth paying. So they must turn our attention away from unsuitable suffering and give us the strategy maps and B52s while they lip-synch their porno voice-overs of "payload" and "delivery" and "pounding".

...Now it may be in poor taste to talk about the damage that's being done to us here in Britain at the same time as the last wisps of hair ignite on a bald Nasiriyah nine year old as a cluster bomb falls between her and the pharmacy (not that USUK's vicious sanctions regime had allowed her chemotherapy drugs in anyway). It may not be suitable, but here goes.

When we survey the debased, stunted entity to which a human can be reduced by lip-synching about "payloads" and "getting the job done", it might perhaps be suitable after all to think about what else has been lost to Britain as a nation. The Spirit of the Blitz folklore, for example, is not ours anymore. Tony Blair has taken that away forever. As part of the national identity or psyche it's now gone. Gone. Even from those lived through it. It's not our story any more. Not now that we're the ones blitzing other cities. We can't tell that old tale anymore, can we? The ration-book shortages Londoners endured don't really compare with the 10 years of sanctions which have forbidden the Iraqis asprins, ambulances and pencils. That shot of St Paul's cathedral dome surviving the smoke and fire isn't what it used to be.

Sometimes you don't need John Prescott to asphalt a six-lane, Asda-friendly motorway over ten sites of special historical interest to destroy your nation's heritage.

"History", said Dennis Halliday who resigned as UN's Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq, "will slaughter those responsible" for the 500,000 Iraqi children who have died because of of USUK's sanctions regime. With Goebellian shamelessness, Blair has been claiming this slaughter was not his/ our responsibility, but instead all down to how the Iraqi's "implemented the sanctions" (presumably how they failed to distribute the medicines they were denied.) Blair's porker is partly because he has an eye on History (and partly on the International Criminal Court). He's continually preening himself in History's mirror, always giving it: "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr Hobsbawm." Well, Tony Blair has also been reduced, just like the rest of us, but fittingly his blowback is just that bit worse. For he has been reduced to knowing that any good write-up he'll get from history will have to be written by the equivalent of some Holocaust-denier historian like David Irving. That's how Tony's story ends: his glorious dream of posterity locked like a smart bomb onto the trash-chute of history.

And our story..? At the end of WW2 after the liberation of one of the concentration camps, a furious British army captain made the local German villagers into the camp to see what was being done in their name. They shamefully claimed that they didn't know what had been going on at their village outskirts, that they had no idea what the thin column of continuous black smoke could have meant.

Where are we in this story now?
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(no subject) [Jan. 29th, 2006|12:45 am]
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"A lie told often enough becomes truth."
- Vladamir Lenin

It seems to me that this is happening. The message that is being drilled into our heads is one of ignorance and complete falseness. George Bush would love to have us all believe that it's so simple. Bush wants us to think that our enemies attacked us in totally unprovoked attacks, because they hated our freedom. Conservatives, nationalists and idiots are willingly lead by the dilusional president because they don't want to think about anything that WE may have done. It's much easier to accept that they hated our freedom, even though that's a complete mockery of the truth. The people who usually look for scapegoats to put the blame on, have happily, willingly and ignorantly overlooked the real facts and chose instead to pick up their guns and go to kill everyone with a turban and a dislike of our oppressive foreign policy in the Middle East.

So what's the truth?

"We say our terror against America is blessed terror in order to put an end to suppression, in order for the United States to stop its support to Israel."
- Osama Bin Laden

It sounds like our enemies are saying that our outragious support of Israel is leading a lot of support against us. I can see why. The double standard he have for the region is a disgrace. Look at the way we've treated Iran, making it out to be a hostile country, making it out of be a violent country, manipulating the media to make it sound like Iran has any nuclear weapons, capability of making nuclear weapons in the short term, or any intent of hostility towards our allies. We know Isreal has weapons. We know Israel has the full intent of using them illegally. Yet when the UN weapons inspectors tried to get into Isreal to inspect their weapons, and Isreal told them to get lost, they promptly did get lost and nothing was said of it again. Maybe it's THIS double standard that provokes them.

"If inciting people to do that (9/11) is terrorism, and if killing those who kill our sons is terrorism, then let history be witness that we are terrorists."
- Osama Bin Laden

"Just like you kill us, we will kill you."
- Osama Bin Laden

Perhaps this is the reason they hate us? The countless people we've killed, we don't know exactly how many, because it's "not our responsibility to count dead Iraqis" but there are very many. Look at the million (at least) people we killed with sanctions on Iraq during the 1990s, mostly the sick, the elderly, then women and the children. Look at the war that we provoked between Iran and Iraq because the US were scared shitless of the Islamic revolution. A million people died. Or perhaps it was the constant airstrikes on that region that have been going on, unpublished by the media, for the last decade. It's not that anyone was hiding it, it just wasn't news anymore. Airstrikes like the one only days ago, targeted at the supposed target of Ayman al-Zawahiri, uncleared by the Pakistani government, and it turns out that the strike killed 17 local men, women and children instead. Airstrikes like the one the US planned on Al Jazeera, a civilian target, an utterly illegal proposition.

"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Each and every state that does not tamper with our security will have automatically assured its own security."
- Osama Bin Laden

"Free people do not relinquish their security. This is contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom. Let him tell us why we did not strike Sweden, for example."
- Osama Bin Laden

This clearly blows apart the myth that we were attacked because we're a peaceful, heavenly and downright great bunch of people.

So with all of this in mind, what did we do about this hostility with the Middle East and the (more than) billion Muslim people that now see us for what we really are? What we SHOULD have done, is drained support for our enemies. We should have stopped our illegal weapons support of Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian land. We should have stopped our oppression of the Middle East.

Why DIDN'T we do that?

Middle Eastern resources, obviously. The biggest oil supplies in the world are in the arabic Middle Eastern countries. The biggest natural gas supplies outside of Russia are in the Middle East. We couldn't let all this blood money slip away, regardless of how many people die.

Did our enemies notice this?

"This war in Iraq makes millions of dollars for big corporations, either weapons manufacturers or those working in the reconstruction, such as Halliburton and its sister companies... It is crystal clear who benefits from igniting the fire of this war and this bloodshed: They are the merchants of war, the bloodsuckers who run the policy of the world from behind the scenes."
- Osama Bin Laden

Sometimes the best way to understand a war, isn't to listen to our own leaders, but rather, the leaders of the other side. Maybe then, we'd see what we really are.
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(no subject) [Dec. 23rd, 2005|02:44 pm]
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(no subject) [Aug. 25th, 2005|10:14 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements


Black Power?

This guy has posters all over NYC and he's running flash ads on The Onion. Check out that radical logo. Isn't it cool! Dude!

Um. No. It's just creepy. It looks like a cross between the "black power" fist and some kind of Greek mythology reference. But, on seeing the logo I didn't lose hope. "This candidate has got to be the most liberal guy EVER." And he is pretty liberal. But then I found out the lighting bolt thing is representative of his plan to get WiFi for all of Manhattan. How do you feel about this guy using the black power fist as a symbol for getting people WiFi??? Like the civil rights movement is at all comparable to a bunch of hipsters getting free internet.

What’s next? Sit-ins for free concert tickets?
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What's wrong with this picture? [Aug. 24th, 2005|10:24 am]
criticism and analysis of advertisements
"Othering" on the Left:

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REAL WOMEN [Aug. 24th, 2005|11:04 am]
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Nike's version of Real WomenCollapse )

Here's what asianrenegade thinks:


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Simon & Simone, Voice of Reason [Aug. 23rd, 2005|04:49 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

[mood |annoyedannoyed]
[music |Beatles vs NIN - Come Closer]

I wish I had found this community when this ad was still current. I could then maybe take a photo of the ad.. Alas, I don't know of anywhere the ad is still current, but I will try to find a copy for the community.

The ad is from a series from a campaign “Simon & Simone, Voice of Reason" by the shopping centre chain Westfield, for the revamp of their Bondi Junction (Sydney, Australia) mall.

From: http://www.bandt.com.au/news/cc/0c0268cc.asp

The character of Simone represented the quintessential WBJ shopper, while Simon was positioned as the perfect shopping partner, telling Simone everything she wants to hear.

The particular ad I'm referring to, depicts Simone, a woman, holding a dress and looking thoughtful, with Simon (a ventriloquist's doll and apparently the voice of 'reason') assuring her that:

"If it makes you happy, it's a bargain."

This ad makes me so furious I don't even know where to begin with how wrong it is. I hope I can find a copy to share..
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An old ad, but one that still offends me [Aug. 22nd, 2005|05:46 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

Does anyone remember Alcatel's ad using Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech where he was all by himself, with the narration: "Before you can inspire, before you can touch, you must first connect."

I always thought the ad was tasteless and especially exploitive. What would've King thought of the ad today if he was still alive? To see that all of his hard work, all of his tenacity in the civil rights movement, would become marginalized into a telecommunications ad? IMHO, one of the most disrepectful ads I've ever seen. What do you think?

The Ad

See also:
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Academia missing the big picture! [Aug. 21st, 2005|06:12 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements

[mood |annoyedannoyed]
[music |"That Knowing Look of Fate", Harry Manx, 2005]

Sometimes ...

common sense appears to have wandered off, perhaps never to return. 

I humbly submit as proof the following item, which may be viewed at a large on-line book seller whose name begins with "A"  (as does the textbook).

Abnormal Psychology:  An Integrative Approach is a college textbook used in both the undergraduate and graduate levels for a variety of professions.  Here is the cover of the text:

H'mmmmm ... I wonder what the cover photo is meant to signify? 

Let me guess, the cover photo must a picture of one of the two authors.  If you guessed this to be true you would be wrong.  Before reading the answer think of several other possibilities, given the title of the text.  Only after you have exhausted the possibilities read the answer.

The Correct AnswerCollapse )

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