February 5, 2006

Your Turn: The Danes Have Mohammed, And The Liberals Have … Kanye?


Thorny problem?

In the conversation and debate over the Danish cartoons, a number of our friends with the red ties have drawn comparisons between blasphemous images in the States and those currently claimed by the Islamic world.  In arguing for a left-wing double standard, they specifically wonder why there is no liberal outrage when Christian imagery is blasphemed.

For example, Michelle Malkin writes:

The news network reports on an international controversy, but refuses to show readers what the news is actually about and let them judge the cartoons for themselves.

Even more galling is CNN’s newfound respect for religion.

Where was that deference when Ted Turner was calling Catholics “Jesus Freaks?”

Where was the sensitivity about offensive religious imagery when Jeanne Moos was mocking images of Jesus Christ or Jonathan Mann was reporting on the Virgin Mary covered in dung?

Why is it that American media, including CNN, have absolutely no qualms about splashing Kanye West-as-Christ all over the airwaves and Internet …but can’t bring themselves to print the [Danish cartoons]?

Dean’s World remarks:

The ugly reality is we would not see “Piss Christ” or “The Book of Daniel” or Kanye West posing as Christ on the cover of Rolling Stone if Christians rioted and issued credible death threats every time things like that happened. The MSM can mock the sacrifice of our military and belittle its strength, because they know the Joint Chiefs are going to write letters, not drop JDAMS, in response.

Wow. For someone known to think about visual images a little too discretely, I’m boggled simply by the thought of considering Kanye synonymously with Piss Christ.  Also, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be defending Piss Christ from the standpoint of artistic expression, or government funding for the arts, or I’m supposed to be attacking it in order to maintain my credibility in criticizing the Danish cartoons.

I do find it a little dense, however, that the right can draw such equivalencies between Piss/Kanye and the Danish cartoons.  A number of the profound differences have already been enumerated in these discussions, including the fact that Amerika (sorry, couldn’t help myself) has completely different standards of speech and expression; a different orientation to religion and iconography; a completely different composition of religions and denominations; and also a completely different situation in the (im-)balance between state and press power vis-a-vis the “offended” party.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to say so much here.  I thought I would just see how the BAG community reacted in the face of these “left-confounding” images.  Just from an energy standpoint, I’m not ready to take on Piss just yet, but Kanye seems like fair game.

(image: David LaChapelle.  Rolling Stone. February 9, 2006. Cover)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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