So there's this big hoo-ha about ill-conceived comics insulting the Islamic religion in Europe. Now, I'd like to note that more than half of my extended family is Muslim (in fact, it's always been a strength, especially when I was a Free School teacher, to also be a small part Indian, 3/4 Chinese, and by name Eurasian) before I publish my two cents worth.
1. I always thought that comics were printed, and cartoons were the shows you watch on Saturday morning TV. Turns out that the term cartoon is technically a large umbrella that includes comics - and that things like Smurfs or Thundercats (hey, one writes what one knows) are by the laws of language "animated cartoons"... but the shorter form has today become part of the regular lexicon.
2. Isn't it weird to see it talked about on CNN and BCC World without actually showing the comics?
3. On Gameshout.com, an interesting point was made: "come on lads, I have seen anti jewish propeganda cartoons in Al Jazeera, its satire." Which has weight, but on the other side, Jewish people don't have a highly placed religious icon as much as Islam or Christianity.
4. Yes, it's distateful, no argument there. But all the protests and flag burnings and people with rocket launchers saying they'll target the countries printing the comics (all which I got from simply Googling what CNN and BCC wouldn't show) will only increase the attention/readership of the said offensive material - and worse yet, make it seem not so much a joke as was originally intended.
5. For those who haven't done so already, this might be an interesting time to read No Laughing Matter: The Viola Joke as Musician's Folklore.
6. Morality, spirituality - it's a personal thing. It's what one does. For the benefit of others. What ever happened to forgiveness? Or helping others learn from their mistakes? Or rational debate? Spend at least as much time in community service as one does in rituals - and yes, flag burnings seem to have become that too - and the world would be that much a better place. And that goes for all religions really. Actions can be lousy, but one tends to note that the reactions aren't much different.