David Thompson
Subscribe

Categories

Blog powered by Typepad

« Combustion | Main | Atomica! »

December 17, 2008

Comments

James S

Kenan Malik:
"It has now become widely accepted that we live in a multicultural world, and that in such a world it is important not to cause offence to other peoples and cultures. As the sociologist Tariq Modood has put it: 'If people are to occupy the same political space without conflict, they mutually have to limit the extent to which they subject each others' fundamental beliefs to criticism.'...Today, we have come to accept that books do indeed cause riots and that therefore we must be careful what books we write – or what cartoons we draw, or jokes we tell, or art we create."

It's scary just how fast that meme caught on.

David

Indeed. In some quarters it’s the received wisdom and emphatically asserted, despite its obvious contradictions. (See Mr Illeborg for some vivid examples.) And, unless challenged vehemently, there’s no obvious reason to suppose that it won’t get worse. It seems to me that “subject[ing] each others’ fundamental beliefs to criticism” is another term for progress. (If a person wants to be exempt from the customary testing of ideas, what are they afraid of, and why? Is it perhaps the poor quality of their beliefs?)

I scarcely need to point out that, aside from more reactionary Muslims, the people who most often endorse such exemptions call themselves “progressive” and write for “progressive” newspapers. As so often, ironies abound.

Rob

Alas, only one side can have 'fundamental' beliefs. Fundamental beliefs on our side, e.g. Christianity, suffer more mockery the more fundamental they are. Essentially, the Left's position on how fundamental a belief is is how willing the holder is to kill and maim to defend it from even mild criticism. This is not a recipe for a peaceful or healthy society.

The Left is also unable or unwilling to distinguish between a 'genuine' murderous rage when a fundamental belief is challenged, and fake, operatic offence. The Left has spent so long pretending to be offended by our tranditional culture that they have lost the ability to see such artifice in others.

Wild Slutty Womens

We need some sort of 'Get Over It' campaign.

I have just encountered the phrase 'porridge wog' for a Scottish person. This delights me. I plan to start using it about my mother.

Horace Dunn

"We need some sort of 'Get Over It' campaign."

Yes indeed. Also a "grow up, you morons" campaign and a "wake up you tits, it's the 21st century" campaign.

If they were to get off the ground, such campaigns might well be deeply insensitive, but they would at least have the merit of not being insufferably smug, patronising and racist, which seems to be the default mode of the Guardian, BBC et al.

Spiny Norman

'If people are to occupy the same political space without conflict, they mutually have to limit the extent to which they subject each others' fundamental beliefs to criticism.'

Funny thing about Modood's little missive: everyone, even Modood, knows that street only runs one way.

David

“Today, many argue that whatever may appear to be right in principle, in practice one must appease religious and cultural sensibilities because such sensibilities are so deeply felt.”

It’s the strange assumption that because something is “deeply felt” (or *said* to be “deeply felt”) it therefore warrants accommodation and deference, however impractical or unfair that deference proves to be. And the people I’ve encountered who make these kinds of claims don’t seem inclined to discriminate between things that are said to be “deeply felt”. It seems to me there’s a world of difference between dietary hang-ups or an aversion to dogs, which are rather comical ways to demonstrate religious belief, and, say, a funeral service, which isn’t.

Horace Dunn

David

"It seems to me there’s a world of difference between dietary hang-ups or an aversion to dogs, which are rather comical ways to demonstrate religious belief, and, say, a funeral service, which isn’t."

It's also significant that religious practitioners select which elements of religious observance are more important than others for - as far as can be detected - entirely arbitrary reasons. An obvious example is the stuff found in Leviticus which is largely ignored except sometimes, when convenient, the bits about homosexuality. I'm often bewildered by the hatred expressed towards Jews by certain Islamic spokespeople when Christians - while not particularly admired - are let off quite leniently. Does this have a genuinely religious or spiritual impetus, or is it merely politically expedient at the moment? Or, put another way, is the fact that it proves politically expedient purely coincidental?

David

Horace,

I’ve often marvelled at the belief that a deity would be concerned with the avoidance of bacon.

James S

"The avoidance of 'cultural pain' is seen as more important than what is regarded as an abstract right to freedom of expression."

But whose 'cultural pain' is more important- mine or the other guy's?

Horace Dunn

David

If pigs had a religion you could be pretty sure that the consumption of bacon would feature quite prominently in the scriptures. Porcus dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Of course in the case of a porcine religion, extreme unction would most likely result in outstanding crackling. So watch your back.

David

James,

“But whose ‘cultural pain’ is more important- mine or the other guy’s?”

Well, quite. If we’re going to start feeling each other’s “cultural pain,” it’s odd how the “pain” that gets priority seems to depend on who’s feeling it, or pretending to. I suspect “cultural pain” may even be regarded by some as the exclusive attribute of certain religious or ethnic groups. It’s rather like the scenario I suggested in the thread about the “dialogue facilitators” at Queen’s University:

Student A believes that Muhammad was an exemplary figure and living proof of Allah’s most merciful intentions. He hears a stranger, Student B, sitting at a nearby table talking to a friend and explaining why Muhammad is a reprehensible figure, citing his behaviour as related in various Islamic texts. The language is fairly blunt but each claim is supported with evidence. Among the words used are “pirate,” “murderer,” “narcissist” and “paedophile”. Student A takes exception to this and complains to a “facilitator” with mutterings of “Islamophobia” and “hate speech”.

Now whose argument is more likely to be subject to scrutiny? Which perspective is most likely to be deemed “biased” or “disrespectful” - the blunt but logical critique or the pretentious fantasy? Does the person complaining of injured feelings have an advantage here? Will both perspectives be flattened into one egalitarian plane of “fairness,” in which both are somehow correct and deserving of respect? Or will Student A’s injured feelings be granted inordinate weight and then used as a pretext to dismiss as “hate speech” any reminder of his philosophical inadequacy?

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/11/temerity-revisited-.html

Geoff

"We need some sort of 'Get Over It' campaign.... If they were to get off the ground, such campaigns might well be deeply insensitive...."

I'll offer this as a deeply offensive, seasonal theme song, suitable for singing at rallies, etc.:

(I'M DREAMING OF A) BLACK WHITE HOUSE

I'm dreaming of a black White House
Unlike the days of old Jim Crow
See the gangstas glower
And whiteys cower
To hear caps busting in the snow

I'm dreaming of a black White House
Far from the streets of Hymietown
Where Reagan snoozed, and half-white jigaboos
Will smile, and spread the wealth around

I'm dreaming of a black White House
With every ballot box I stuff
Peace out all my niggaz, yo' mama
Jesus Christ, all hail ... Barack Obama

Offended? "Get Over It!"

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blogroll