Saturday, February 11, 2006

To All the Tools I've Known Before ...

You all know how it goes. There are those out there who seem to live for going out of their way to be irritants, to belittle others for no good reason, and try, however lamely, to somehow present themselves as 'better than' everyone they happen to be snidely mocking at any given moment when it clearly isn't the case.

These folks go out of their way with elaborate smear campaigns, snarky commentary everywhere they can manage, and even entire websites devoted just to maligning whoever happens to have raised their ire for whatever reason with as juvenile methods as can be imagined.

Not to make a valid point.

Not to illustrate a real problem.

Not to attempt with some wit to legitimately call folks on fallacies.

Just to be a prick.

Well, I got to thinking and decided that I at least am going to give them all the attention they deserve:

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Unsurprisingly Missed Opportunities

You know, I've been thinking. Yes, thinking.

And I've decided that I really am tired of my fellow man living down to my expectations of them. Case in point, the recent turmoil over cartoons, and political commentary, and supposed 'freedom of speech' and the fallout on account.

First and foremost, let me be perfectly clear on one point:

Yes, I do believe that people are able to do and say pretty much what they want to, with this caveat - so long as they are willing to accept the consequences of said actions and words. And trust me on this. There are always consequences, good or bad.

The past weeks have offered the press the opportunity to make a choice on whether or not to publish content they knew would offend. "Oh, but did they really?" Don't lets be stupid. Of course they did. The cartoons were designed to offend, and offend they have. Did they have a right to publish the content in question? I believe so. Should they have? Probably not.

Honestly people, with the current tensions and all, do you really think it's some brilliant master stroke to take the low road and irritate the living daylights out of people who are already upset with you, rightfully or no? Now, don't take this to mean I think we all need to be silent and just take it all the time, but time and place, folks. Seriously. Think before you act when at all possible. It saves a lot of uneccessary grief.

Now the Islamic world has been given the opportunity to show the rest of us that they are indeed the more enlightened and dare one say 'better' people than those whom they view as against them. And what do some unfortunately very visible and loud folks among them decide to do? Overreact and escalate the situation. Do they have a right to be upset? You bet your sweet bippy they do. Are the offenses worth torching buildings, killing people, and rioting like a pack of rabid jackals? I seriously doubt that. Way to go and prove the point your detractors were making in the first place. No really - bravo. I mean, your own people are saying you're acting like idiots. You don't think that's just a bit of a clue that perhaps this isn't the wisest course of action?

And now, since we all know that dickfencing is the preferred sport in the arena of Public Opinion and World Theatre, the Iranians are gettin in on it with a vengeance. These are the people who have been trying to piss in everyone's Cheerios for a good while here, and have now decided to drop their pants and wave the 'lets see how you like it' comeback dickery around. Yep, I'm talking about the 'who can come up with the funniest Holocaust cartoon' bit, because hey, we all know that a) According to them, it never happened, so is fair game, b) The brutal murder of millions is just such funny material, and c) Unflattering representation of one's prophet is just the same as rubbing the Holocaust in people's faces.

Now ... do they have the right? Yep. Do we have to like it? Nope. Is this any real measure of who is the 'bigger man' so to speak, or who does or does not actually support 'freedom of speech'? Not in the least. Is it going to accomplish anything? Not unless they're aiming for the self-fulfilling prophecy thing. You know the one - 'If I push people long enough, they're gonna hit back, then I can say See, they hate us. Just look what they're doing' while conveniently brushing aside all I've done to encourage it'.

Mind you, this does work both ways, and I'm not ignoring that fact. But still, you have to ask what the hell some of these people are thinking. Me for example, I get rather deeply offended at people burning my flag, but you don't see all the Americans rioting in the streets over it. Be it prophet, flag, book, document - these things are symbols, and to people, symbols are important. When such strongly-affiliated symbols are mocked or degraded, it upsets folk. There is no moral high ground there. It's all just being nasty because one can.

Point is, there's opportunities for all sorts of people to for once, rise above it and actually do something to move things in a positive direction for a change. I don't personally think the chances of it are very good, but then again, I'm a cynic who's tired of being proved right on this sort of thing.

So there you have it, folks. For the love of god, country, beliefs, your mamma, or whatever else you hold dear ... start thinking smart. Don't get down in the mud and wallow with those you're supposedly trying to prove you're somehow better than.

It would be a nice change of pace. At least until the next time everyone gets their panties in a bunch.