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Fun With Words

11 February, 2006 (14:18) | Media

Last night a friend of mine tried to use the word “lecanoscopy” (a derivative of lecanomancy) and accidentally used lycanoscopy. Lecanoscopy is the act of reading the future in water. Lycanoscopy, if it existed, would be the act of looking for a tumor by shoving a werewolf up your ass.

Mohammed Update

The other day, I got curious about the Mohammed debate again. I began a brief search to find out if it’s true that several fundamentalists had been using other, more offensive cartoons and claiming they were part of the original twelve (as I mentioned in my other entry as was stated by ). I did find two sites that had scans of these bad photocopied images. In fact, Gaiman linked to Gateway Pundit the very next day in response to a reader inquiring about the same thing.

This bothers me a lot more than the primary issue. I still think the Islamic world has a right to be upset about the initial images, but to have a few fundamentalists trump up the charges with images they procured is simply uncalled for. After seeing the three additional images, I’m not surprised at the rioting. Several of the original twelve seem like they were intended to offend. Given that, these other three make the original cartoons look like the sweetest bouquet of illustrated flowers you ever received. Here, for posterity, are those three images, still in crappy photocopy form.

If, for some reason, those images aren’t showing, it’s probably because photobucket chose to remove them for sexual content.

Of course, it’s not as though the controversy is going to dissipate at this rate. Several American papers, while not reprinting the Mohammed cartoons, have been firing right back. Earlier this week, Condoleezza Rice blamed Syria and Iran for the violence, and the Syrian ambassador rebutted that by blaming the US and Israel.

This is brilliance at work. It seems like every attempt to quell the violence and come to a peaceful discussion is met with two idiotic decisions that stoke the fire. At this point, I don’t think it’s necessarily about blame or anger or anything more than political posturing, at least on the grander scale. With Iran pulling out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and throwing the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency out of its facilities, I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of the rioting and separatism has been seeded in an attempt to distract from the real danger: a religious cold war.

If Iran does begin creating and selling nuclear weapons to its Islamic brethren, Israel and the Western world will be in serious danger. Personally, I’m not sure there’s much we can do to stop it at this point. With the USSR, at least we knew what kind of person was standing behind the button. Certainly, there will be Muslims preaching peace and the word of Mohammed and Allah, but it’s already evident that the few Muslims who twist and taint the religious texts can be dangerous as a guerrilla army. If only sensible words could sway either side.

That seemed a little unfocused an rantish, so I’ll move on to someone else’s better-phrased take on the Islamic world.

My dad sent me an article by the Boston Globe’s Jeff Jacoby (whom works with). Since the Globe archives are login only, I’ve reprinted it below. My dad prefaced the article with this: I usually dislike the vapid and intellectually debilitated writings of the Boston Globe’s token conservative op-ed columnist, but I think he has a good point in this editorial which he wrote last May — long before the current flap about the Danish cartoons.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Why Islam is Disrespected
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist

It was front-page news this week when Newsweek retracted a report claiming that a US interrogator in Guantanamo had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet. Everywhere it was noted that Newsweek’s story had sparked widespread Muslim rioting, in which at least 17 people were killed. But there was no mention of deadly protests triggered in recent years by comparable acts of desecration against other religions.

No one recalled, for example, that American Catholics lashed out in violent rampages in 1989, after photographer Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ” — a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine — was included in an exhibition subsidized by the National Endowment for the Arts. Or that they rioted in 1992when singer Sinead O’Connor, appearing on “Saturday Night Live,” ripped up a photograph of Pope John Paul II.

There was no reminder that Jewish communities erupted in lethal violence in 2000, after Arabs demolished Joseph’s Tomb, torching the ancient shrine and murdering a young rabbi who tried to save a Torah. And nobody noted that Buddhists went on a killing spree in 2001 in response to the destruction of two priceless, 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha by the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

Of course, there was a good reason all these bloody protests went unremembered in the coverage of the Newsweek affair: They never occurred.

Christians, Jews, and Buddhists don’t lash out in homicidal rage when their religion is insulted. They don’t call for holy war and riot in the streets. It would be unthinkable for a mainstream priest, rabbi, or lama to demand that a blasphemer be slain. But when Reuters reported what Mohammad Hanif, the imam of a Muslim seminary in Pakistan, said about the alleged Koran-flushers — “They should be hung. They should be killed in public so that no one can dare to insult Islam and its sacred symbols” — was any reader surprised?

The Muslim riots should have been met by outrage and condemnation. From every part of the civilized world should have come denunciations of those who would react to the supposed destruction of a book with brutal threats and the slaughter of 17 innocent people. But the chorus of condemnation was directed not at the killers and the fanatics who incited them, but at Newsweek.

From the White House down, the magazine was slammed — for running an item it should have known might prove incendiary, for relying on a shaky source, for its animus toward the military and the war. Over and over, Newsweek was blamed for the riots’death toll. Conservative pundits in particular piled on.”Newsweek lied, people died” was the headline on Michelle Malkin’s popular website. At National Review.com, Paul Marshall of Freedom House fumed: “What planet do these [Newsweek] people live on? . . . Anybody with a little knowledge could have told them it was likely that people would die as a result of the article.” All of Marshall’s choler was reserved for Newsweek;he had no criticism at all for the marauders in the Muslim street.

Then there was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who announced at a Senate hearing that she had a message for “Muslims in America and throughout the world.” And what was that message?That decent people do not resort to murder just because someone has offended their religious sensibilities? That the primitive blood lust raging in Afghanistan and Pakistan was evidence of the Muslim world’s dysfunctional political culture?

No: Her message was that “disrespect for the Holy Koran is not now, nor has it ever been, nor will it ever be, tolerated by the United States.”Granted, Rice spoke while the rioting was still taking place and her goal was to reduce the anti-American fever. But what “Muslims in America and throughout the world” most need to hear is not pandering sweet-talk. What they need is a blunt reminder that the real desecration of Islam is not what some interrogator in Guantanamo might have done to the Koran. It is what totalitarian Muslim zealots have been doing to innocent human beings in the name of Islam. It is 9/11 and Beslan and Bali and Daniel Pearl and the USS Cole. It is trains in Madrid and school buses in Israel and an “insurgency” in Iraq that slaughters Muslims as they pray and vote and line up for work. It is Hamas and Al Qaeda and sermons filled with infidel-hatred and exhortations to “martyrdom.”

But what disgraces Islam above all is the vast majority of the planet’s Muslims saying nothing and doing nothing about the jihadist cancer eating away at their religion. It is Free Muslims Against Terrorism, a pro-democracy organization, calling on Muslims and Middle Easterners to “converge on our nation’s capital for a rally against terrorism” — and having only 50 people show up.

Yes, Islam is disrespected. That will only change when throngs of passionate Muslims show up for rallies against terrorism,and when rabble-rousers trying to gin up a riot over a defiled Koran can’t get the time of day.

Jeff Jacoby’s e-mail address is jacoby@globe.com.
© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company

On a slightly separate note, I’m very confused as to what’s going on between Palestine and Israel right now. I keep seeing reports of peace negotiations, refusals to negotiate, and infighting. Is there anything different now than there was when Hamas wasn’t in control?

More Cartoons

Europe isn’t the only place stirring controversy. Tom Toles, a cartoonist for the Washington Post, published this one during the last week of January. Amazingly, the right-wing is all up in arms against the cartoon as a put-down of the US military. Even the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has picked up the story.

Sure it’s a critique of the US military, but of the generals who continuously redeploy troops who want to stay home. I wholeheartedly respect the troops for doing their duty and going regardless. If only the government could show them that same respect and let them have some peace.

Misdeeds on a Biblical Scale

Lastly, I’d just like to point out themaddone‘s recent entry on the battle of creationism versus evolution.

It is indeed a scary world out there.



  • anonymous

    well written, especially for those of us who don’t know a damn thing about what’s happening. but my favorite part was the lyconoscopy. by far, funniest thing all day.


  • anonymous

    well written, especially for those of us who don’t know a damn thing about what’s happening. but my favorite part was the lyconoscopy. by far, funniest thing all day.