Month: September 2012

Continuing a Proud Tradition of Bad Movies

The 2008 documentary, Undercover Mosque, exposed the highly dangerous teachings that were occurring in Mosques around the U.K..  The footage, taken with hidden cameras, shows Imams stating the intellectual deficiency of  women, calling  for the overthrow the British government, for the killing of non-Muslims, and claiming the right of older men to marry prepubescent girls; Mohamed himself having had a nine-year old wife.  Apparently, pedophilia isn’t nearly as offensive as cartoons depicting the prophet.  Many in the tolerance camp would have us turn a blind eye to barbarism whilst fawning over the hurt feelings of lunatics.  Those who value ideas have a right(some might even express a feeling of obligation) to point out the danger of a belief that contains so much backward ideology; either through direct criticism, subtle art, or outright ridicule.

This brings us to the latest slight against Islam.  An atrocious trailer for a film called Innocence of Muslims, has sparked yet another outrage against the entirety of the United States.  In the spirit of exponential one-upmanship, the insane work of one moron has led to the phenomenally more insane reaction of several.  And while it is deeply moving to see so many Muslim demonstrators in Egypt and Libya come out against their detestable counterparts, there is still a terrifying lack of philosophical evolution in that region; largely due to the major restrictions on philosophy and science in Islam.  Of course, as the world continues to shrink ideas and cultures mixing is inevitable.  And when one culture is free to mock what they might see as irrational and dangerous, there are bound to be clashes.  In order to continue the tradition of free thought, we in the West cannot relent in defending works of art that criticize anything that might suppress free thought.  Unfortunately, this particular work of… ahem… art, is the thing we’re forced to defend.  On with the show.

I was not so much offended by the content of the film as wasting the 14 minutes that would have been better spent chopping off my fingers.  The unbearably awful video gracelessly attacks Islam and its prophet Mohamed.  The fact that many of the charges against the prophet are true seem irrelevant in the face of how bad it is.  As it turns out, the full length film very likely doesn’t actually exist, and name of the director, Sam Bacile, is a pseudonym.  In addition to the unlikelihood of a full movie, many of the actors claim that they had no idea what it was about.  This is evidenced by the obvious overdubbing whenever anyone says anything about Mohamed.  How such a low quality piece of shit ever caused such an explosion is beyond me.  However, despite the unforgivable crime committed to moving pictures, the right to make it and the right of the people to view it(at their own risk) must be supported and even duplicated.  Hopefully with better quality in the future.

While it cannot be overstated that those who would commit murder over art(even shoddy art) are a very small minority, even many peaceful Muslims believe that their religion should not be subject to criticism and ridicule, as well as many liberals who preach cultural diversity and tolerance.  However, the strictest tenets of any of the three major religions are not conducive to a free and enlightened society.  This is especially true with Islam, which imposes an outright ban on seeking knowledge outside the tenets of the Quran.   

The Western world has put religion in its place for the most part so that even the most fundamentalist followers have enough understanding of the importance of ideas that they tolerate those that insult their faith.  The ability to criticize religion goes hand in hand with the ability to deny it.  While many people would willingly accept the same restriction on knowledge, they cannot impose it on anyone else.  Imagine in this country not being allowed to stand against creationism in schools, or support a woman’s right to take birth control because to do so would be insulting to faith.  Even the conversation over a lack of faith or different faith could come under fire because the very act of not believing is a critique in and of itself.  The right to question the validity of any idea is crucial to our ability to choose which ideas we want to embrace and which we must reject.  Freedom of speech can and must fly in the face of even the most sacred doctrines.  We should not give up that freedom through law, nor should we simply waive the right in the name of good taste.  

As for hurt feelings, it’s a price we all must pay our most crucial liberty.   It is vital to us as a species.  The murder of our diplomats is an appalling tragedy, but don’t let’s misdirect out rage.  The guilt falls completely on those who committed murder, not some inept video, no matter how vulgar.  So my response to those who would use intimidation to suppress expression is fuck you.  I can take comfort in the possibility that some Muslims somewhere might see that video for what it is: an example of the liberty they don’t have and very well might desire.  I would have preferred something that boasted better craftsmanship to bring the oppressed one step(however small) closer to freedom, but you take what you can get.  In the meantime, while the lunatics beat theirs chests, burn flags and wallow in their filthy rage over a Youtube clip, I’m going to read a book of my choosing and possibly have a good wank.