If something satirical isn’t working for you, no matter how many times someone unpacks and analyzes it, the joke won’t suddenly become funny.
And if the satire isn’t carefully calibrated to a target audience, then it will almost assuredly be remembered for its offensiveness rather than its supposedly palliative effect on the body politic.
Were you confused when you woke up Monday and some members of the elite were outraged about something and other members of the elite were not outraged? Internicene elitist warfare! Confusing! If you were like everyone on the internet, your reaction to that New Yorker cover satirizing the rumors about the Obamas went through five steps, from shock on Sunday to acceptance earlier this afternoon.
Read the whole thing here
This is always a fun game. Look at the truth and tweak it so it still looks like the truth, sharing most facts with it but is actually a malicious lie. People like Daniel Pipes, Oriana Fallaci and Henryk Broder are adept at this tactic when writing their hateful screeds against Islam. A case in point is Daniel Pipes’ treatment of the Westerhoff affair. While Angry White Man/columnist Christopher Hitchens uses the expression “alleged plot”, Daniel Pipes indulges in a bit of his usual hate informed tweaking and describes the affair thusly:
This month, Denmark’s police foiled a terrorist plot to murder Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist who drew the strongest of the Muhammad pictures, prompting most of the country’s newspapers to reprint his cartoon as an act of solidarity and a signal to Islamists that their threats and violence will not succeed.
Nice. By the way, this is a different way to look at the affair
Virtually the entire media in Denmark reprinted the notorious caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on February 13.
The decision to re-print came just one day after three men, two Tunisians and a Danish national, were arrested for an alleged plot to kill one of the cartoonists, Kurt Westergaard. At least 15 papers across Denmark reprinted images of the cartoons, in what can only be described as a calculated provocation. Despite having no evidence regarding the guilt of the three detained, since the security service claimed it moved on suspicion and did not have enough grounds to charge the men, the Danish media raced to be first to print the cartoons, supposedly to underline their defence of “free speech.”
Funny, how the second statement fits in better with reports like amnesty international’s which claimed
In its report on Denmark, published in May, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) expressed deep concern at worsening intolerance and xenophobia against refugees, asylum-seekers, minorities in general and Muslims in particular. ECRI noted with concern legislative provisions disproportionately restricting the ability of members of ethnic minorities to acquire Danish citizenship, to benefit from family reunification, and to access social protection. ECRI also highlighted an atmosphere of impunity, created by the low rate of prosecutions for incitement to racial hatred despite, among other things, inflammatory statements by some politicians and the media.
Funny, eh? Ah, it’s always the same. It’s just redundant to write about the likes of Pipes. So predictable (as I am, eh?). In contrast even someone like Hitchens, the “football hooligan of rational thought”, is refreshing in that he bashes Muslims but also bashes Christians, Jews etc. and he is not afraid of clobbering those who hold opinions close to his own.
Here’s a fitting exemplification of this. After digging around a bit I discovered this 2003 essay by Hitchens on Pipes and found it described the man well:
I am not myself a pacifist, and I believe that Islamic nihilism has to be combated with every weapon, intellectual and moral as well as military, which we possess or can acquire. But that is a position shared by a very wide spectrum of people. Pipes, however, uses this consensus to take a position somewhat to the right of Ariel Sharon, concerning a matter (the Israel-Palestine dispute) that actually can be settled by negotiation. And he employs the fears and insecurities created by Islamic extremism to slander or misrepresent those who disagree with him.
[…] To put it bluntly, I suspect that Pipes is so consumed by dislike that he will not recognize good news from the Islamic world even when it arrives. And this makes him dangerous and unreliable.
On more than one occasion, Pipes has called for the extension of Israel’s already ruthless policy of collective punishment, arguing that leveling Palestinian villages is justifiable if attacks are launched from among their inhabitants. It seems to me from observing his style that he came to this conclusion with rather more relish than regret.
You see? That’s why I’m suddenly beginning to like Hitchens. People like Pipes and Broder show me how much worse hateful polemicism can get. Hitchens isn’t racist, unlike Pipes et al. He’s just a wee bit daft, but I tell ye, I’ll take daft over racist anytime. If that were the choice, I’d say thank God for daft people.
Republication of the cartoon has reignited anger
At Friday prayers this mistrust of the media is bubbling close to the surface. One furious man comes and tells the people I am interviewing not to trust journalists. This was after Danish intelligence said they had uncovered a plot by three Muslims in Denmark to kill one of the cartoonists. “We were all punished by the printing of those pictures,” says the imam in his sermon.
He is angry that none of the men accused of masterminding the plot are being put on trial – the Danish intelligence services say revealing their evidence would compromise their intelligence network. Instead, they are expelling two of the suspects who do not have Danish citizenship and freeing the third who does. “How does it make sense that a person who is trying to kill somebody is being arrested, charged, interrogated and then released and yet still we should feel that he’s a terrorist?” asks Imran Hussein, who runs Network an advisory body for Muslim organisations in Denmark. Like many Muslims here he was appalled by the discovery of the plot to kill the cartoonist but now he is more sceptical.
“A lot of people are afraid of Islam today in Denmark and when they are afraid of Islam it means they are afraid of me too,” says Sofian, who was born in Denmark but feels he no longer has a future there.
“I am hurt, as I was the first time,” says Feisal, who works in marketing and was also born in Denmark. He believes the problem is not Danish society but the media.
Feisal says he cannot understand why the media keeps focusing on the idea that Muslims are trying to take their freedom of speech away from them.
“I will never feel one hundred percent accepted here in Danish society,” says Imran Hussein, who has tried hard at integration, getting involved in local politics. He says the cartoons were just part of a bigger picture. “It’s just getting worse and worse because the daily spoken language about immigrants and the portrayals of Muslims specifically are getting worse worldwide, so of course that’s had an effect in Denmark as well,” explains Imran.
Radical Islamist parties have been quick to channel this sense of alienation. Hizb ut Tahrir in Denmark organised a protest against the reprinting of the cartoons. Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the streets of Copenhagen shouting “God is Great!” and “Freedom of Speech is a plague!” Some Danes looked rather surprised.
Outside the cafe, under the guidance of Hizb ut Tahrir, Danish Muslims were chanting “Khilafat” – supporting the party’s demand for the creation of a caliphate to unite Muslims worldwide.
So far Muslims in Denmark have been talking about discrimination and the need for more respect. But the more they feel nobody is listening to their anger the more susceptible they will be to the message of radical political Islam.
The incomparable Mr. Kulla (why does that sound like a cartoon character’s name?) has held his celebrated Space Communism speech with Ms. Leganovic (the speech can be accessed here in German) in English at the Chaos Communication Congress of Germany’s Chaos Computer Club.
Click here and be delighted. It’s shortened, the full version has apparently been lost. Still interesting. Recommended. It does resonate with some problems I have been mulling over, as you may have noticed.
via classless kulla