Friday, February 03, 2006

It's Friday!

And I have a buncha things to talk about, so let's get crack-a-lackin'.

Free Speech or Discreet Speech?
By now, you've probably heard about the cartoon that appeared in several European papers, with the original appearing about four months ago, according to accounts, that has set the Muslim world on edge. The Prophet Muhammad is shown wearing a bomb-shaped turban (and I've seen it; it really is a bomb, complete with smoking fuse). A response cartoon was recently printed, and deities representing Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were shown, sittin' on clouds up in heaven, with the Muslim deity looking pouty. The caption above what is supposed to be the Christian deity (I couldn't tell because all the characters were White men) says "Relax, Mohammed, we were all caricatured" and this cartoon appears under the headline "Yes, we have the right to make fun of God." I agree with the headline, and to an extent, I agree with the caption. What I find offensive is that many of us are crying foul over what seems to be a question of free speech; i.e. is is censorship to choose not to print something potentially offensive, versus what actually is offensive, and that is the portrayal of a common stereotype of Muslims, that of a bomb-toting terrorist. I can't speak to the violation of Sharia, which prohibits the depiction of Muhammad in any way, good or bad, because it may lead to idolatry, because I'm not Muslim, nor am I particularly familiar with Sharia. I can say that if in America, we find buck-eyed, big-lipped cartoons of Blacks offensive, or even the supposed coincidence that the crooks in video games such as Grand Theft Auto all happen to be Black (and one version of the game had Hatians as the crooks) offensive, or if the only gay men we find comfortable watching are the scheming, mincing, effeminate ones like Jack from "Will & Grace" versus man's man Ennis Del Mar from "Brokeback Mountain," then why shouldn't Muslims be offended by the most important figure in their religion being portrayed as a terrorist? I don't believe in censorship, but maybe a little discretion.

Sour Grapes or Sweet Touch?
New York high school basketball player Epiphanny Prince scored 113 points in a game that was a colossal blowout (final score was 137-32). Okay, so I'd be a little mad if I came to see my kid play and her team (yeah, EP is a girl) was trounced, but more is being made of why she wasn't taken out of the game than I think should be. Hello, has anyone ever watched a pro game? Yeah, we bellyache about "player selfishness" later, but every coach wants to win, and every play leader, be it the quarterback in football, or the point guard in basketball, has to find the point maker in the game. You always make sure the ball goes to the person with the hot hand. Get over it. Even the losing team marveled at the kid's luck that night. Move on. Concentrate on something more important like how your kid will pay for college.

Resting in Peace?
Coretta Scott King's funeral (or homegoing service, as we in the church like to call it) will be held not at Atlanta's famed Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church home of her late husband and his father, but at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, where youngest daughter, Bernice King, is one of the pastors. Not a big deal, on its face, but New Birth is one of the largest megachurches in the state, and sponsored a march from the King Center to denounce same-sex marriage, in contrast to Mrs. King's public support of LGBT rights. I respect the choice of location for whatever reasons, including the size of the church (at least 10,000, but don't get me started on the megachurch phenom), but am disappointed that it will inevitably spark the kind of controversy that casts an even greater pall over her loss.

We're Screwed!
Hmm, where do I begin? The Supreme Court has officially swung right, although it seems that Alito's first case put him a little left-of-right. Bush, Mr. Former Oilman from Texas, simultaneously pisses off the oil barons of Alaska and Texas for wagging a scolding finger at Americans for their addiction to oil, and the greenies who've long criticized our over-dependence on fossil fuels (nah nah nah nah NAH nah), and says days later that consumers shouldn't expect any price breaks on the same fuel we're hooked on. He'd make a helluva crack slinger; keep 'em hooked on the product and raise the price anyway. Bravo. Bend over, kids.

Special Place in Hell
Two more kids in New York City are dead courtesy of their parents. Puppies are being used to smuggle drugs into the country, as if human mules weren't bad enough. Wow. There really is a special place in hell for these perpetrators.

And on a lighter note...
It seems that tickets for the Winter Olympics in Turin (or Torino; I can't keep it straight) are still available. Guess not too many folks are rushing to travel across the globe to freeze their asses off watching people carry on in the same snow and ice they've left at home (although, in fairness, the Northeast has been blessedly snow-free, which my still weak ankle appreciates). Gotta say though, I might be inclined to sit in the audience watching BROTHA MAN speedskate. Boy, I know some whitefolks is mad as hell right now -- tennis, hockey, what in the hell will the coloreds do next, synchronized swimming?

Well, that's plenty fo this episode. Tune in next time, when we ask the immortal question, what is this thing called, love?

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