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« OK EA (Oklahoma Spaceport Environmental Assessment) | Main | It Says, "Fitzgerald Is A Wienie" »

Aliens Having S3x

This is a pretty funny cartoon, and as Professor Volokh points out, it shows how the whole "can't show pictures of Mohammed" thing has descended into self parody.

So now, the perennially offended muslims are offended by a cartoon of which there's no way to tell from the image itself whether it's Mohammed or not--one can only tell from the context of the joke.

It reminds me of the story a few years ago about the bar in Colorado that had to stop selling teeshirts that depicted two aliens having s3x because they were too lewd for the town elders. I (and no doubt others) pointed out that if they were aliens, there was no way to tell whether or not the activity in which they were engaged was s3xu@l (sorry--I don't want to get top-listed on google for the search "aliens s3x"). They could, for example, simply have been feeding each other, or communicating somehow. One occasional commenter here, in fact, emailed me at the time that it reminded him of the old "Life in Hell" strip when Binky (or one of the other one-eared rabbits) is being chastised for smoking, and he says "I'm not smoking--I'm sucking p00p through a straw."

That's the point to which this idiocy has devolved. Eugene is right:

Well, I have to admit: The folks who are offended by this have a First Amendment right to be offended. They should feel entirely free to be offended.

The rest of us should feel entirely free, as a matter of civility as well as of law, to say: Your decision to be offended by this particular cartoon gives you no rights (again, as a matter of civility as well as of law) to tell us to stop printing it.

More on the underlying conceptual issue the difficult but necessary distinction between (more or less) reasonable taking of offense and unreasonable taking of offense later; I also hope then to talk in some measure about the distinction between this cartoon and others that I do think can reasonably be found to be offensive, and that probably shouldn't (as a matter of civility) have been published in the first instance, though it is proper to publish them now in order to explain the controversy. For now, it seems to me that this incident does plenty to illustrate the danger of the "it's wrong to publish any cartoons that offend people" attitude.

Posted by Rand Simberg at February 14, 2006 09:33 AM
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Volokh: The rest of us should feel entirely free, as a matter of civility as well as of law, to say: Your decision to be offended by this particular cartoon gives you no rights (again, as a matter of civility as well as of law) to tell us to stop printing it.

Well, they can say "stop printing that," but they can't make anybody stop printing it.

Posted by McGehee at February 14, 2006 10:32 AM

Really, the problem is totally ours. We are wasting our time debating this non-issue with backward simple-mimded overgrown children that occasionally strap on explosives.

If we were our grandparents' generation, we would be doing like Norway, and purchasing 30,000 licenses of SolidWorks for our schools (http://www.solidworks.com/pages/news/viewrelease.html?prid=299) or we would be making Project Mathematics and the Mechanical Universe required viewing in our schools.

Posted by at February 14, 2006 06:34 PM

I think Eugene is a little scewed in part, concerning what is actually the problem over cartoons / pictures of The Prophet.

Reasonable or unreasonable taking offense here is not the issue.

If somone tells a joke and you are in no way, shape or form included in the punch line, you may be offended anyway. That would be unreasonable taking of offense. It happens.

What has happened is unreasonable RESPONSE, to a cultural offense. It happens. Boycotting Danish products, asking for the Danish Publication to appologize, asking the Danish Government to watch out for the Moslems in Denmark, all reasonable responses.

Arson, murder and destruction of private property, unreasonable response.

Yesterday in Pakistan they looted and burned a KFC. I am betting that the store was a francise owned by a local person(s) who is now out all or part of their investment. Not to mention the loss of jobs for the owner(s) and employees.

I am not sure how tearing up a local business in Pakistan, who is paying fees to a American company, over a cartoon in a Danish newspaper is all connected. Of course the Mullahs haven't been installing and then pushing my buttons over my entire life either.

Posted by Steve at February 15, 2006 08:18 AM

I think Eugene is a little scewed in part, concerning what is actually the problem over cartoons / pictures of The Prophet.

Reasonable or unreasonable taking offense here is not the issue.

If somone tells a joke and you are in no way, shape or form included in the punch line, you may be offended anyway. That would be unreasonable taking of offense. It happens.

What has happened is unreasonable RESPONSE, to a cultural offense. It happens. Boycotting Danish products, asking for the Danish Publication to appologize, asking the Danish Government to watch out for the Moslems in Denmark, all reasonable responses.

Arson, murder and destruction of private property, unreasonable response.

Yesterday in Pakistan they looted and burned a KFC. I am betting that the store was a francise owned by a local person(s) who is now out all or part of their investment. Not to mention the loss of jobs for the owner(s) and employees.

I am not sure how tearing up a local business in Pakistan, who is paying fees to a American company, over a cartoon in a Danish newspaper is all connected. Of course the Mullahs haven't been installing and then pushing my buttons over my entire life either.

Posted by Steve at February 15, 2006 08:26 AM

I find it interesting that large scale demonstrations aren't occurring here but do everywhere else on the other side of the Atlantic. I guess Muslims here are too busy earning a living to take time out for a protest. Instead, the terrorist linked CAIR people get to be thought police. There's a scary thought.

Posted by Bill Maron at February 16, 2006 10:37 AM

This post is first out of 21,900 at google for - aliens s3x - and the only hit for the phrase "aliens s3x". Must be a lot of people with s3xual curiosity.

Posted by triticale at February 17, 2006 10:55 AM


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