Not about ridicule but about criticism.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 25, 2010 11:15 PM GMT
    The Mohamed thread has been largely derailed. Many have taken to the idea that freedom of speech means freedom to offend without relent.

    While technically true, it avoids the point that it originally, and truly, means freedom to criticize. It's come a long way from meaning being unmuzzled in order to criticize the monarchy, or point out the flaws of government, to now being used as saying some of the stupidest, most untrue and inflammatory things possible. This reading is not in line with what the founding fathers had envisioned and is not in any meaningful and rational way, prudent.

    While we are allowed to offend, it does not constitute criticism necessarily. South Park is offensive but it creatively criticizes. It has an ability of weaving the most horrifyingly profane allegories into current events. And it works, obviously.

    What some people are doing in the Mohamed thread is not rational or contributive to meaningful debate on the use of speech.
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    Apr 26, 2010 12:17 AM GMT
    Not the best of ideas to make threads commenting on threads. Usually discussions run their course as they do without the need for tributaries.
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    Apr 26, 2010 1:57 AM GMT
    Ciarsolo saidNot the best of ideas to make threads commenting on threads. Usually discussions run their course as they do without the need for tributaries.


    It's necessary.
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    Apr 26, 2010 1:59 AM GMT
    Ciarsolo saidNot the best of ideas to make threads commenting on threads. Usually discussions run their course as they do without the need for tributaries.


    I totally disagree. It's an incredibly valuable idea to reflect on how one ought to debate---and since the level of debate here is generally infantile, it's a discussion that needs to happen.

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    Apr 26, 2010 2:02 AM GMT
    This thread isn't reflecting on the rhetoric of debate. The OP didn't like how the Mohammed thread went and started a new thread on the same subject headlining his personal point of view on the exact same subject debated in the other thread.
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    Apr 26, 2010 2:18 AM GMT
    Ciarsolo saidThis thread isn't reflecting on the rhetoric of debate.


    It is now.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 26, 2010 3:01 AM GMT
    Ciarsolo saidThis thread isn't reflecting on the rhetoric of debate. The OP didn't like how the Mohammed thread went and started a new thread on the same subject headlining his personal point of view on the exact same subject debated in the other thread.


    Did I?
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Apr 26, 2010 5:39 AM GMT
    TigerTim said
    Ciarsolo saidThis thread isn't reflecting on the rhetoric of debate.


    It is now.


    It is whatever we perceive it to be.

    Hope that helps
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    Apr 26, 2010 5:46 AM GMT
    I agree with the OP: the freedom to do something does not mean that it is wise to do it. Criticise, totally. Inflame.. not so much. Still not sure what I feel about the application of this to images of Mohammed.
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    Apr 26, 2010 5:46 AM GMT
    Hunter9 said
    TigerTim said
    Ciarsolo saidThis thread isn't reflecting on the rhetoric of debate.


    It is now.


    It is whatever we perceive it to be.

    Hope that helps


    Within a finite range is what we want to perceive.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 26, 2010 8:32 AM GMT
    This is one the prices we pay for free speech. Laws, rules, and regulations do not cover the entire field of ethics and morality.

    While perfectly legal, most people do not cut in line at the store in front of an old lady. However, we are free to do so. Most people wouldn't protest at a person's funeral.

    We are also free to be stupid, ignorant, and rude.
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    Apr 26, 2010 8:42 AM GMT
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    Apr 26, 2010 1:12 PM GMT
    Good topic, thanks!

    In an effort to combat the nasty ego driven hate infiltrating religions and manipulating them, some people inadvertantly lambast all followers of a faith as cut from the same cloth, which is abhorrent to me.

    Some atheists are complete assholes, but I value atheist thinking highly as it makes me examine my own faith, as an example.

    -Doug


  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Apr 26, 2010 3:49 PM GMT
    Let me try to make three points that I touched on in the other thread.

    1. What i find disturbing in many of these kinds of cases (by which i mean the cartoon controversy, Salaman Rushdie, and so on) is that on one hand there is someone who is merely saying or writing something, on the other hand someone threatening or doing violence and murder and there are always legions of people who jump down the throat of the person merely saying or writing something for bringing the violence and murder on.

    It seems to me to be almost irrelevant whether the person was genuinely tryign to critizise or to ridicule, whether they were saying something deliberately to offend or not, whether it was intelligent or stupid, true or false. When intimidation, violence, and murder are being used against speech the reaction from us liberal democrats should be to say "oh no you don't!" rather than sympathise with the offense taken by those holding the signs saying "behead those who protray Islam as a religion of violence".

    2. Try to think of some beliefs you genuinely find ridiculous or perhaps evil, perhaps scientology for the former, perhaps the subjugation of women for the latter. Maybe these are not good examples for you, maybe you do not find scientology all that ridiculous; well put in whatever ideas you do find to be ridiculous. I am willing to bet that everyone, even those who take the "critisize, don't ridicule!" line, do have beliefs which they would and do ridicule.

    What would change exactly if the scientologys started lashing out with physical violence? Should you stop all critisicm or ridicule for anyone who threatens violence in response? Even if we simply dial down our criticism in response it would mean we are giving in bullying and intimidation.

    3. You make the distinction between criticism and ridicule. You must understand that there are people who do not, people for whom saying anything, regardless how diplomatic, that suggests that their beliefs are false, is gravely offensive. The sort of fundamentalist muslin who really believes what his mullahs tell him and thinks fatwas on writers are the will of god is not going to tell you that he will stop if only people told him in the nicest possible ways that his religion is wrong, rather than doing it in a ridiculding way. There are millions of people for whom it is impossible to say anything bad about their religion without them thinking that violence to silence the infidel is justified. Do you stay silent when you feel the need to critisize the beliefs of such people because there is no way to do it without backlash? I hope not.
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    Apr 26, 2010 3:53 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]Delivis said[/cite]Let me try to make three points that I touched on in the other thread.

    I think Delvis is my new hero
  • Delivis

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    Apr 26, 2010 4:59 PM GMT
    ddrfeat said[quote][cite]Delivis said[/cite]Let me try to make three points that I touched on in the other thread.

    I think Delvis is my new hero


    Aww, you voted me man of the day too, thanks. First time that's ever happened to me for either critisizing religious belief or defending the critics of it. I'm afraid you are in a minority though.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 26, 2010 6:12 PM GMT
    1. Agreed.

    2. Agreed, but see below.

    3. I make the demarcation between criticism and ridicule but refrain from telling people to not ridicule. Ridicule is part of free speech, but I say that it is not beneficial to honest and rational debate, it's anathema.

    However in dealing with people who are religious fundamentalists I understand you can only go so far.

    You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into. But you have to reason that this is the case. And once the case is made, don't deal with them at all. If they make threats, fine, they'll find their consequences eventually.

    I remember reading an account by a journalist in Iraq who remembered his own experiences in Manchester bar. He was talking to gangsters about this one Hungarian loudmouth who kept challenging people to a fight. He asked why doesn't the Noonan brothers do something about him, and Dominic Noonan replied, "Wossa point?"

    You can always ignore a fundamentalist, a racist or a bigot, and when they become dangerous, that's when they need an eye kept on them. If they are fundamentally irrational they will only stop after a short fall and a quick stop.

    Delivis saidLet me try to make three points that I touched on in the other thread.

    1. What i find disturbing in many of these kinds of cases (by which i mean the cartoon controversy, Salaman Rushdie, and so on) is that on one hand there is someone who is merely saying or writing something, on the other hand someone threatening or doing violence and murder and there are always legions of people who jump down the throat of the person merely saying or writing something for bringing the violence and murder on.

    It seems to me to be almost irrelevant whether the person was genuinely tryign to critizise or to ridicule, whether they were saying something deliberately to offend or not, whether it was intelligent or stupid, true or false. When intimidation, violence, and murder are being used against speech the reaction from us liberal democrats should be to say "oh no you don't!" rather than sympathise with the offense taken by those holding the signs saying "behead those who protray Islam as a religion of violence".

    2. Try to think of some beliefs you genuinely find ridiculous or perhaps evil, perhaps scientology for the former, perhaps the subjugation of women for the latter. Maybe these are not good examples for you, maybe you do not find scientology all that ridiculous; well put in whatever ideas you do find to be ridiculous. I am willing to bet that everyone, even those who take the "critisize, don't ridicule!" line, do have beliefs which they would and do ridicule.

    What would change exactly if the scientologys started lashing out with physical violence? Should you stop all critisicm or ridicule for anyone who threatens violence in response? Even if we simply dial down our criticism in response it would mean we are giving in bullying and intimidation.

    3. You make the distinction between criticism and ridicule. You must understand that there are people who do not, people for whom saying anything, regardless how diplomatic, that suggests that their beliefs are false, is gravely offensive. The sort of fundamentalist muslin who really believes what his mullahs tell him and thinks fatwas on writers are the will of god is not going to tell you that he will stop if only people told him in the nicest possible ways that his religion is wrong, rather than doing it in a ridiculding way. There are millions of people for whom it is impossible to say anything bad about their religion without them thinking that violence to silence the infidel is justified. Do you stay silent when you feel the need to critisize the beliefs of such people because there is no way to do it without backlash? I hope not.
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Apr 26, 2010 7:51 PM GMT
    Ok so I think we are mostly in agreement.

    But then what is your critism of South Park exactly, or similar media that cause offense? Is it merely that they arent being constructive? If that is the case, as it seems to be (correct me if I am wrong), then I would reply with the following.

    Firstly the point of shows like South Park and comedy in general is not always to make nuanced critiques of culture or beliefs. Sometimes it is just to poke fun at people and that's ok. I dont think South Park pretends to be or aims to be a medium for diplomacy.

    Secondly it is hard not to notice that criticm of shows like South Park, criticm of the kind you are engaging in (like saying how uncontructive they are being) comes only after offending one particular group of people* is offended. South Park has what, 200 episodes? These episodes air daily and there is a new one every week or two. Week after week these forums are silent as all other religions, dozens of particular people, countries, and other groups or beliefs are lampooned. Perhaps all of this lampooning is uncontructive but no one makes a fuss about pointing out how crass of a use of their free speech this is unless it is the Muslim religion that is being offended.

    * Scientologists do also try to fight shows like South Park when they make fun of their religion but not in violent ways.
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    Apr 26, 2010 7:58 PM GMT
    Delivis said Week after week these forums are silent as all other religions, dozens of particular people, countries, and other groups or beliefs are lampooned. Perhaps all of this lampooning is uncontructive but no one makes a fuss about pointing out how crass of a use of their free speech this is unless it is the Muslim religion that is being offended.

    Being able to take a joke, to laugh off humor at your expense or at least cope with it gracefully, is a sign of maturity. If certain Muslims can't do this it's a sign that they have some growing up to do.
    The remedy for this kind of immaturity is exposure to more free speech, not less. If kept in some hermetically sealed bubble they will never grow up and learn how to get along with other people who differ from them.
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Apr 26, 2010 8:11 PM GMT
    TexDef07 said
    Delivis said Week after week these forums are silent as all other religions, dozens of particular people, countries, and other groups or beliefs are lampooned. Perhaps all of this lampooning is uncontructive but no one makes a fuss about pointing out how crass of a use of their free speech this is unless it is the Muslim religion that is being offended.

    Being able to take a joke, to laugh off humor at your expense or at least cope with it gracefully, is a sign of maturity. If certain Muslims can't do this it's a sign that they have some growing up to do.
    The remedy for this kind of immaturity is exposure to more free speech, not less. If kept in some hermetically sealed bubble they will never grow up and learn how to get along with other people who differ from them.


    Humans as a whole do seem to have a genralised instinct for censorship. When a mother of a very conservative Christian houshold in the southern US hears about her daughter being exposed to ideas like oral sex and masterbation at school she is often outraged and often wants to limit what her child (or even she) can hear when it comes to subjects she is not acclimated to, subjects that are still taboo.

    When we come across a porn site we shrug it off as it is nothing new, nothing shocking or taboo, thought it might have been shocking when we were younger. But as we got exposed to it more, realised it was common and normal, we lost that initial reactionary attitude. But in some parts of the world even mature adults would consider the slightest hint of pornographic material to be extremely shocking and offensive.

    Seems to me that is more or less how they treat ideas like criticim of their religion or their treatment of women, gays, and so on. It is something rare for them, and dangerous to their beliefs, something they are not used to hearing. Exposing them to more of what offends them just for the sake of exposing them to more of what offends them could in itself be very productive towards acclimating the most insular and fundamentalist to the reality of contrary ideas. It seems to be the same way all of us learned to live with other ideas that we disagreed with in our own societies and engage with them rather than try to silence them.

    I forget who said it, but there was a wonderful quote from someone who said, more or less, that if you live in a supposedly free society and you are not offended at least once a day, something is terribly wrong.
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    Apr 27, 2010 6:13 AM GMT
    I'm actually not criticizing South Park, I love the show and what they manage to do, especially with their newer seasons, to things in the media.

    But criticizing isn't the same as offending, and there's a difference between pissing off a Muslim with a picture of Mohamed and debating why, rationally, he can't be drawn or shown. I concede that sometimes simply talking about it can be enraging to some Muslims... for reasons you've made known.

    The mind of a bigot contracts like the pupil when light is shone on it. And the mind only works when it's open... to steal from a couple people.
  • Menergy_1

    Posts: 737

    May 02, 2010 2:03 PM GMT
    possibly related to the South Park episodes????
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/times_square_car_smoke_scare_TyBE8K6vF3PzScpS9xG0XP

    Seems the SUV was parked outside the building housing Viacom headquarters. Viacom owns Comedy Central and broadcasts South Park.....


    disruptive, but luckily a failed explosive device in a very busy place!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 02, 2010 2:24 PM GMT
    Not a would-be martyr to be found nearby.

    So, let's take bets.

    Was this radical islam raising it's ugly head?

    Was this the lipton league?

    Was it something else?

    My money's on the lipton league.