Wednesday, May 12, 2010

South Park, SHIFT and Stupidity.

Alright, alright, alright. I finally have broken down to approach a topic that has been on my mind quite a bit. It is a topic that just won't seem to go away and it's one that has me frustrated and angry.

Remember when those two morons offered up a veiled threat online to the two morons who make South Park, one of the least funny television programs I can think of? It seems the animators put Mohamed who wasn't even Mohamed in a bear suit or something, I dunno. Well, that little incident keeps raising it's head. In my view, this whole thing has been blown completely out of proportion. It really wasn't even a threat that was issued, and the two punks that did it were just, well, punks. Yet, Comedy Central DID make a big deal of it and did some fancy censorship...and then the Western world went crazy! Ironic, isn't, that this surrounded the 200th-2001st show, a large milestone for the program? After all, South Park had portrayed Mohamed in a previous episode, and as far as I know, NOTHING happened. If it did, Comedy Central didn't let anyone know then. So, why they went all crazy over it now is rather suspicious if you ask me. That's just my little conspiracy theory.

The latest stupidity that I ran across in relation to this whole deal relates to the actions of a group called SHIFT (Secular Humanists for Inquiry and Free Thought) from Northwestern University in Chicago. Now, the idea behind the groups seems pretty okay, I can't argue with them based on their title. What does get me is a campaign they held recently where SHIFT members went around the campus and drew stick figures, in chalk, of the Prophet Mohamed. Now, as we all know by now, this can be a bit of sticky subject with people. There are Muslims who get very offended by portrayals of a man who they feel isn't supposed to be portrayed. Fair enough. I mean, there is no problem with that. People who are offended SHOULD stand up and say "Hey! I'm pissed off! You have offended me!". When it gets into violence, well, that's a different story.

Now, this campaign seems to have been inspired by the whole South Park incident. They seemed to have wanted to make a statement about the narrowing of taboos in relation to free speech. They wanted to get people talking, apparently. Well, lovely. Kicking someone's grandmother in the teeth would get people talking as well, but it's not a nice thing to do. Why keep pissing people off for no reason? Because you have the right to? Oh, lovely! That's a great way for the world to run. "I CAN piss you off, so I WILL and you better be okay with that!" seems to be the message here. Come on, why needlessly hurt people, or offend them, or be disrespectful to them. Ya, sure, I can understand speaking up against those who wish to use violence when they are pissed off. I can see standing up for free speech. But, come ON, just being a dick for the sake of being a dick? Really? Has it all come down to this? If so, then we have all lost.

The problem is, no thought appears to have been put into the idea that there is a reason for people to be hurt or offended by these portrayals. You may not understand it, but there is still a reason. Does anyone care about that? Every culture has it's taboos and sacred cows. If SHIFT had gone around campus and drawn swastikas, or put up pictures of dead American soldiers, or the letters "KKK", or hardcore porn, or something, how would that have gone over? Not well, I would hazard a guess. To ignore our "Western" taboos and go straight for taboos that pertain to a particular group that you don't seem to understand, one (being ME) has to ask...why?? It seems to be a case of "Get over it Muslims! We're drawing your man! We know it pisses you off, so what are you gonna do about it, eh??" which keeps cropping up after the blown out of proportion South Park insanity. Come on. It's so childish, and stupid. You have the right to make those drawings. You are protected by law in the US to do it. That doesn't mean you HAVE to do it. So, why do it? What point is being made that hasn't already been made? Let the other idiots who are going to threaten people be the idiots. Don't resort to being an idiot yourselves! Geez! If you are REALLY interested in having people talk, in opening dialogue, in tearing down walls to freedom, or whatever, then pick some other way, like, say, talking to people, you know, like actual discussions. If you want people to talk, talk to them, don't provoke them.

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