Saturday, 24 April 2010

South park

For those who've not followed this story: South Park made a childish and offensive cartoon depicting Mohammed dressed as a bear. Many Muslims were understandably hurt and complained. The response from one small Islamist sect was to threaten the creators with murder.

I dont like South Park. The animation is offensively bad, the jokes are childish, the philosophy is that of a 7 year old who's pretending to be an angsty teen. Before this became an issue I would have watched the show (with great trepidation) and said it was awful and shouldn't have been aired. I would have said there was nothing interesting being said, it was just offence for its own sake.

The treats changed that. Now the situation is very different. Someone has threatened another person with violence over an act of free speech. A human being has been threatened with death over some children's cartoons. This is not something any society can tolerate. A free society wouldn't like South Park, but it would tolerate it. A free society can never tolerate immoral acts, and threats of murder and acts of violence are just that.

So these threats have changed my view. Before I would have thought that these cartoons should be quietly withdrawn by the creator of their own free will because of taste. I still think they shouldn't show it again, it needs to be replaced. It needs to be replaced with something much much more offensive. They need to make an entire show dedicated to desecrating Mohammed, show him as a cross dresser, child molester, show him being pelted with shoes, show him falling into a vat of excrement. I dont care what, just make the most disgusting, puerile, deeply offensive thing you can.

Because we, citizens of liberal democracies, need to show the world something. We need to show that we think free speech is more important than offence. We need to show that we cannot be threatened into silence by anyone. We need to show that nobody can threaten another's life and expect them to just back down. We need to show that our values are more important than their prophet. And they are, dont let yourself think that your principles, how you run your society, what you stand for as a citizen of a free country, can ever be less important than someone else's idol, be it a man, a book, a statue or anything.

We need to fight aggressively against any attempt to create or protect taboos. Nothing can be sacred, because if you let one thing become sacred and unspeakable, then it will grow, it will gain more territory of thought, block off more ideas, until it takes over. We need to fight those who threaten us, not with violence, we're better than that. We need to fight them with children's cartoons of a man dressed as a bear.

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