Monday, March 06, 2006

Muslim Protests Make A Strong Point: What-huh?

Maybe it’s just me. Or perhaps it’s my dark sense of humor. In the February edition of the magazine U.S. News, there was an article entitled “On the Hot Seat.” The accompanying picture was of a mob of Muslim protestors (assumedly Islamic radicals) burning a man. Half stunned I took a closer inspection of the human figure being burned to death only to find it was a Ronald McDonald statue. I paused as I thought about this, and then without so much as a second hesitation, I burst into uncontrolled laughter.

It's funny, because it's a Clown!

Maybe it’s just me. But then again, it could be the hilarity of the situation. As morbid as my humor can be sometimes, nothing prepared me for the tears which streamed down my face as I held back gasps and giggles. The article begins with a simple enough comment on the escalation of anger, “As anger over European cartoons satirizing the prophet Muhammad continued to roil the Muslim world, Pakistani protesters last week destroyed the most visible symbols of western consumer culture –American icons McDonald’s, KFC, and Pizza Hut…”

Wait, protesters of European cartoons are burning American consumerist Icons? I think this is what most people would call a leap in logic.

I paused again, looked back at the photograph, and laughed some more. I couldn’t help it; in all honesty, the message is kind of lost by the noise of the image. They’re angry Muslims burning a CLOWN!!! Not that clowns are specifically American in nature, they’re not. It’s just that clowns are funny, and no matter how angry they wanted to portray themselves, or how vicious and powerful they want to seem in their protesting the entire idea of clowns overrides any message they may have been attempting to say. They’re hatred, violence, and lack of tolerance can be easily drowned out by a steady roar of not fire or cries of hate, but fierce torrent of laughter and cries of amusement.

With disinterest in whatever wounded pride these Muslim people may be feeling towards the disjointed logic of “We’ll hate everything different than us” I flipped over the facing page.

Again, I was caught with my pants half down (metaphorically speaking of course.) Sitting with my mouth gaping I flipped the page back, did a double take, looked again just to be sure, and after a brief moment to gather my thoughts, I started rolling around on the floor. I was floored by the acute observation that Kermit the Frog was standing on the facing page selling American consumerists a new Ford Explorer. Not to mention the irony that on the prefacing page was poor Ronald McDonald lying in flames.

Then it occurred to me. No matter how angry Muslims may be at the so called infidels that won’t respect their man made religion, I realized that there was an unlimited supply of effigies and icons that over zealous Muslims would have to go through in order to prove… what? What were they trying to prove again? I wasn’t sure. All I was sure of was that there was still Kermit the Frog to go through before you could hurt me!

Clowns are funny, but Muppets are funny too!

My red blooded American sensitivities took hold. I sat making a list of icons that the poor Islamic radicals would have to deface before they could ever hurt my pride, although I was still a bit soar about that needless comparison to European newspapers with bad taste. It’s not like they actually sat down to think about their actions, does getting all bent out of shape and causing a ruckus really get you what you want? A child having a hissing fit in front of its mother because it didn’t get what it wanted can tell you the answer to that. Never mind that Muslims everywhere united together to voice their opinions, never mind that they chose to side on the losing side of history. No amount of tyrannical whining can lay claims to the number of artists which have been persecuted over the course of human history. Maybe that’s why Ronald McDonald is burning in that picture, because men like Voltaire and Jonathan Swift wrote such controversial satire? Never mind the fact that the logic doesn’t make sense. Never mind the fact that not everyone believes the same thing. The Muslim out bursts amounted to trying to make other’s believe what they do. Never mind that’s impossible, kind of like changing your piss into wine. Never mind that, because no amount of burnings is going to prove a damn thing.

So I rambled of the list of icons that angry Muslims protestors (mainly the ones in the phot) would have to deface in order to even dent the universal awareness they hoped to invoke, fear. By fear they hoped to gain respect by dominance, but not respect by respecting others via love. But never mind, there was a list to tackle first. There is Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy for that matter, Snoopy, the Michelin tire Puff, Felix the Cat, Pop-Eye, the Jolly Green Giant, Darth Vader, the Aflac Duck, all the way down to the Toys R US Giraffe, among many others. At around Superman, Bugs Bunny, and Mr. Kool-Aid I started to realize that it was a losing battle. No matter how many angry Muslim protestors there were (again, those people in the picture, because I don't want to generalize, not all Muslims hate Ronald McDonald), and no matter how furious they had become over a cartoon which challenged their ideals and insulted their pride, there was a much unrelated and infinite library of cartoon characters waiting for their chance to share a little sense of humor with those wacky religious zealots, who appear to be without a sense of humor.

After much contemplation I tried to recall what the article was about. Really, I had no idea. I had read it, after a fit of giggles, but the image was so burned into my minds eye that all I could see was a clown on fire. It was a good laugh. And all thanks to my wacky Muslim brothers clowning around and sharing their extreme hatred of… well, whatever it was, it was a riot!

1 comment:

Tristan Vick said...

I understand the sociopolitical sensativities, and the human rights issues behind Muslims and their direct conflict with America, however, my main comment was about the political actions which were shown in the U.S. New magazine article.

Just in case some people might think I'm practiciing intolerance, that's not the case. I was merely observing the humor derived from the irony of the situation. Basically how irrational the point of the protest was in the context of the effigy, I rather believe that it was funny. If people think that it is wrong to laugh at things like this, then I beg you in all senserity, please, grow a sense of humor.