|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|Madder Than a March Hare
Wednesday, February 8th, 2006
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? email@example.com|
|An obscure Danish (Danish!) newspaper prints a handful of satirical cartoons about the prophet Muhammad, and nobody pays any attention. Months later, violent protests break out in Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere in the Muslim world. It apparently takes time to translate Danish into Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, and so on.
The point is that these demonstrations are a little misguided. Of course we all take piety very seriously, especially in those rare instances when it happens to be sincere. But this latest round of lethal demonstrations in the Muslim world does beg the following question: with so many palpable wrongs against which to demonstrate lethally, why Danish cartoons? Especially when, although very good at cheese, butter, breakfast pastries, social stability, and near universal prosperity, the Danes just aren’t known for cartooning. Herblock was not, nor had he ever been, Danish, and the same goes for Toles. Oliphant was born in Australia, nowhere near Denmark. Charles Addams once visited Denmark, but found the place scarily cheerful.
To divert radical Islamic rage against harmless but not very skillful Danish cartoonists, this page offers the following guide to things against which right-thinking extremist Muslims might legitimately stage violent demonstrations:
Your Schools… While there’s much to be said for learning how to memorize and recite by rote, this useful form of mental training doesn’t make the most effective underpinning of an entire educational system. Committing a single book to memory, no matter how admirable the book, does not mold a well-rounded citizen, especially if that’s the only thing he ever learns. If you really insist on a lifetime’s study of a single volume as the basis for your education, consider switching from the Koran to the Pelican edition of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, Alfred Harbage, ed. But a better solution would be adopting a more modern approach to education, one that includes the study of history, literature, science, art, math, etc. The Danish school system would be an excellent example for you to follow. And here’s a thought to ponder: were ordinary radical Muslims to get a Danish-style education, they would be far less likely to be whipped up into senselessly violent mobs by vicious demagogues. This would represent a considerable savings in property damage and lost lives.
Your Women… Or at least the way you treat them. Now come on boys, let’s be fair. Nature gave us bigger frames and, generally speaking, more upper body strength than women. But is that any reason to lock them up at home, deny them schooling, jobs, civil rights, bank accounts, voting rights, and legal rights? Is that an excuse to make them wrap up from head to toe in really ugly black shrouds? I mean, would you like to have to dress up in one of those medieval outfits every day yourself? Of course not, just as you’d hate to give up your driver’s licenses, the way you make your womenfolk do. Hint: study the way the Danes have achieved equality between the sexes. Denmark has created a society of genuinely equal opportunity for men and women, and their frequency of being struck by thunderbolts from heaven is actually no higher than yours.
Your Governments… Most Americans freely admit that our present government is pretty far from Plato’s ideal. But we get the option to turn the rascals out of office on a regular schedule, even if we don’t always exercise it. Your rascals are near permanent fixtures in most places. Where they have been elected, your elections make ours look blameless, even if you include Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. And no matter how bad our leaders are, we can criticize them without fear of jail, whipping, or dismemberment. That you don’t enjoy this privilege should be cause for concern. Where to turn for a reasonable model of relatively honest and fair government? You guessed it. Denmark’s is as good as any.
And these are only a few of the items about which you might consider turning militant. We haven’t even started on your inability to enjoy bacon (Danish bacon is especially good) and eggs, chilled white wine, and uncensored movies. Go to Denmark and sample them all. Then go home and get mad, really mad. You deserve to.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2006
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