Not a cartoon depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.
It’s heating up over here. The Netherlands, as I’m sure everyone knows by now, is dealing with a few sensitive conflicts regarding, what else? Religion. Big controversy over this anti-Islamic film produced by Geert Wilders, a right-wing MP. On top of that, there are the ongoing vehement protests against Danish and Dutch satirical cartoon depictions of Mohammed. I’m not sure I should go near this issue, to be honest.
The Iranian government is pissed off. Gholam Hossein Elham, the recently appointed Iranian Justice Minister, is pleading for an official ban of the film. Then there are several Dutch government reps wanting to prohibit burqas from being worn in public places. Turkish and Moroccan Muslims are adding significantly to the Dutch population and reactions to this are varied. How will things play out in the next ten years? A famously liberal and tolerant country confronted with a belief-system (like most belief-systems) that is famously repressive and restrictive. My position is simple: I’m always on the side of satire, iconoclasm, and freedom of expression — and when I say freedom, I’m referring to more than the freedom to prostrate oneself in the wake of some "holy" mortal’s worldview.
A cartoon, a movie? The way I see it, if you’re truly secure with your own faith and beliefs, it shouldn’t matter what anybody says about them. Actions are another matter, of course. I hope Mr. Wilders takes necessary precautions — particularly in light of activist/director Theo Van Gogh‘s 2004 tragic end, which was motivated in part by his films.
Spoken, written, or illustrated criticisms of morals and beliefs should have no damaging affect on a mind that is strong and secure in said opinions. That’s the way I see it, anyway. But I suppose this outlook will inevitably hinder my own bid for longevity.
But enough of that. I just came up with a fun activity to get our collective blood pressures back to normal.
Check this out: I’ve hung around my fair share of universities and colleges, attending Middlebury College’s prestigious "Essay Camp" and Dartmouth College’s 2003 summer "Talent Seminar." I love to look at course catalogs. Education is the cat’s ass, no doubt, but academia is yet another self-contained, self-validating structure with plenty to mock. If I ever become Dean of my own university here are a few courses you’ll see in my personally devised curriculum:
Blue Collar Sympathies: Understanding Hidrosis
Feeling Roth: Van Halen and Postmodern Discourse Theory
Secondary Narcotic Knowledge
Modern Methodology in Blues and Suffering
Foucalt’s Perineum: Tickling Suppressed Fancies in the Communication Age
Klezmer Bass Lines in a Global Economy
Eh? This could become a regular feature here at The Contrarian. The Contrarian Curriculum? Good lord, this is severely corny. But it puts a smile on my face, at least. [Maybe it can put money in our pockets, too! -ED]
So, I just discovered this television show called "The Sopranos." It used to be on HBO and I guess it’s about the Mafia or something rad like that. It’s even got Steve Buscemi. Remember in Fargo when Buscemi gets put into that machine and it cuts him up? That was awesome.