Major Sunday Strip Banned!
I'm pretty sure I know the response that such censorship would get. And, I'm pretty sure that the favored religious group wouldn't win friends by receiving special consideration.
The Washington Post and other newspapers pulled a strip from Sunday's comic section. Religious members of the Post staff, consulted about Sunday's "Opus," declared an emotional reaction to how the strip portrayed their faith. The Post's top brass had "considerable alarm" over the offending strip's content.
This isn't the "Opus" with a Jerry Falwell punchline. That was August 19's strip.
This was yesterday's strip. Lolla Granola, the strip's religious faddist, says that she's a radical Islamist, and wants to be called Fatima Struggle. The strip ends with Fatima and her boyfriend, Steve, sitting on a couch.
That's pretty hot stuff right there, but it gets worse. Granola/Fatima says,
- "You're not getting a girlfriend obsessed with decadent western crud"
- "You're not getting a girlfriend blathering about 'American Idol'"
- "And you're not getting a girlfriend who resists a man's rightful place"
Writers Group comics editor, Amy Lago, who flagged the offensive strip for subscribing newspapers, gave two reasons for drawing attention to it. First, the jokes about Islam might by "misconstrued." Second, there was that sexual innuendo in the punchline.
What does this have to do with the War on Terror?
Fanatic Muslims have segued from saying "Death to America" to doing it. Quite a few people in this country are understandably nervous about Islam.
Uneven treatment of religious views doesn't help defuse this situation.
I'm a devout Catholic, and have gotten accustomed to the background noise of American culture, including gags about drunk and lecherous priests, nuns gone wild, constitutionally-protected works from Rebecca Reed’s "Six Months in a Convent" to Jack Chick's comics, and sophisticated statements like "As you've probably heard, the Pope has asked all the Cardinals to return to Rome. You know how they got them all to come back? They told them that there was going to be a performance by the Vienna Boys Choir."
I'm not sure that I'd be at all comfortable with a society in which prominent newspapers banned a cartoon which a hypersensitive Catholic might find offensive, and passed a cartoon which poked fun at, say, the Dali Lama. A situation like that would smell of special treatment: something no group should want.
There may be a sort of soft prejudice here. The Post decision can be interpreted as assuming that Christians are sophisticated enough to understand, and tolerate, a joke; while assuming that Muslims, as primitive people, must be given special consideration.
The Post ran Sunday's "Opus" on washingtonpost.com. What, they figure that Muslims and children don't go online?
Whatever the reason for pulling that strip, I don't think that the Washington Post's sensitivity helps establish Islam and Muslims as an acceptable part of mainstream America.
My information is from "Washington Post, Other Newspapers Won't Run 'Opus' Cartoon Mocking Radical Islam," and the Jerry Falwell "Opus" strip and Fatima Struggle strips. They're both pretty funny.
Posts on this general topic:
- Special Consideration Doesn't Help (August 27, 2007)
- Jihad Rehab (August 22, 2007)
- Muslims Are Not All Alike (August 19, 2007)
- More about "Yeh Hum Naheen" / "This is Not Us" (August 9, 2007)
- Saudi Arabia: Non-Islamic Religious Items Verboten (August 9, 2007)
- Moderate Muslim Video from Pakistan: Very Good News (August 7, 2007)
- Rep. Ellison's Misconstrued Reichstag Remarks July 17, 2007
- There's a New Loon in Minnesota (July 16, 2007)
- Another Islamic Voice in the Debate (July 16, 2007)
- "Islam is a Peaceful Religion" 2 (July 15, 2007)
- "Islam is a Peaceful Religion" (July 6, 2007)