Seems as if everyone is falling over themselves not to offend those twitchy Muslims these days. The latest casualty in the rising free-speech death toll is the annual festival of satire in Valencia. I didn't know anyplace had an "annual festival of satire". Sounds like a swell idea. Of course, this year, censorship has kicked in hard, which is bitterly ironic, since such a thing seems to negate the very purpose and function of satire.
According to the linked article, this festival has been going on for four centuries clearly one of Europe's many fine long-standing traditions and, in it...
giant sculptures of the high and mighty are placed in the streets for the public to mock before being destroyed in an orgy of gunpowder and flames. It has survived attacks by the Roman Catholic church, various puritanical rulers and the Franco dictatorship.
Well, it looks like it isn't surviving Al Qaeda and its wannabees. Guess which figures of the high and mighty won't be publically mocked this year. If you said anything to do with Islam, go to the head of the madras.
You see, our fine turbaned friends have figured out something very special and important in terms of controlling behaviors and tearing down freedoms. All you have to do is threaten extreme violence, then occasionally follow through on it, and people will go all cowardly and lily-livered on you faster than you can say "Allahu akbar!" Of course, what you'll end up with is a global reputation as a gang of psychotic, hair-trigger lunatics, which will be the sort of outrage that can only be answered with even more reactionary violence. But in the end you'll get what you want: entire populations cowering in fear, terrified even to say "Hi, how do you do?" for fear you'll whip out your AK or trigger that explosive vest your mom knitted you. For all the decadent West's bleating about its precious "freedoms," it's obvious they're all too willing to check them at the door when faced with the thought that you might just go bugfuck and blow them up, right, Muslim brethren?
Note the phrasing used by the mayor of Valencia in his not-too-veiled warning to the festival: that artists should "temper freedom with a sense of responsibility" when referring to religious subjects.
This, translated, means simply "Don't dare do anything to piss off the Muslims, because we all know how they get!" Congrats, mayor, in one fell swoop you've neutered your 400-year-old festival, given religious radicals exactly the kind of control over your culture (and minds) they've always wanted, and sent the world an unambiguous message: Religious terrorism works!!!
I wonder how long it is before the Christian Right in this country catches on?
PS: If you're Muslim and reading this: Mohammed can eat my balls!