Acknowledging just how aware I am that the overwhelming majority of people (that is to say, the people who bore me to death) don’t share my affinity for dark or offensive comedy, let me say that I would be remiss to let this opportunity pass to convince you of the benefits of laughing in death’s face. It seems to be the common perception that those of my ilk are either insensitive or downright cruel. We who laugh when some daredevil tempts a wild animal and loses a limb, or someone makes an elaborately dehumanizing joke at the expense of some other group, or more to the point: we who laugh at hate speech like the anti-Muslim film gaining notoriety in the press this week. To say we’re merely enjoying the inflicting of pain on others is wide of the point (and may the person who does not laugh at schadenfreude cast the first stone). What’s always missed is that we’re laughing at the predictability of the willfully plunged depths of human evil and ignorance.
You may have heard about a recent anti-Muslim film produced by a convicted meth cooker and check fraud using the alias “Sam Bacile” (a.k.a. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian Coptic Christian) and his American conservative Christian Islamophobe friends that’s been causing some outrage in the Middle East. Contrary to initial conjecture, the hate film “Innocence of Muslims” (see vid below) did NOT lead to the terrorist attack on our Benghazi Embassy in Libya. That was, as far as we know right now, planned well in advance. (UPDATE: the attack may not have been pre-meditated, as US Ambassador Susan Rice points out.) The film also was not financed by “100 Jews”, as its Coptic Egyptian criminal claimed to the media. If you’ve seen the production values, it is also inconceivable that it was really shot for $5M dollars. They had green screen usage below the dignity of a high school AV club production, but accordingly something you’d EXPECT to see from Wonder Showzen, or Tim & Eric, with intentional irony and mockery. The film is most widely known by its 13 minute trailer, which is 6 times as long as your average trailer, this being yet another indication of its unprofessionalism. But just watching it, you have to marvel at its glorious stupidity:
Look at that! How can one be offended by something so insane?
What this film trailer did unfortunately lead to was the provocation of far-right mongtards in Egypt to protest at the US Embassy, scaling the walls, and ripping apart the flag. This all after some professional victim of outrage scoured the internet to find obscure hate material to rally against (come look for my site, dipshit). In subsequent days, the demonstrations have morphed into other things, almost an event to be at, and antagonize Egyptian police. Soccer rioters even got involved. The demonstrations are small compared to the normal marches happening regularly, but the threat posed to embassies brings up a scare in the West, tied to what happened in Libya. As many have pointed out, reaction to the film is either but a drop in the bucket of outrage, the straw that broke the camel’s back, or even a randomly-chosen excuse. The anger could stem from American foreign policy, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, drone attacks, rendition, support for Israel, any number of things.
The offense at the film, however, stems from the 10 Commandments, in the graven images and false idols category of blasphemy, where God would command the faithful to not worship clay models, pictures, or whatever else (film) like the pagans do. Some Muslim eschatology sees the graven image as liable to come alive and turn on you at the end of days, so Steven Spielberg will be eaten by a Velociraptor, if the shark from Jaws doesn’t get to him first. Considered a prophet of Islam, the depiction of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ was forbidden in many Muslim countries. The elaborate means by which Moustapha Akkad tried to keep from depicting Muhammad in the Anthony Quinn picture The Message, about the early Muslims, failed to keep the film from being banned throughout the Middle East even with the help of Islamic scholars. The production of Lawrence of Arabia was brought to a screeching halt in Jordan when the locals found out an actor would be reciting the Qur’an in English. The creators of South Park were sent death threats for an episode in which they depicted Muhammad in a bear costume, so that you couldn’t see him.
And that’s the normal, kind, cheeky stuff that drives some Muslims into righteous indignation. That reaction unto itself alone is worthy of vicious mockery. This reaction follows a shameful pattern, similar to the Danish cartoon controversy, where there’s not only zero tolerance for free speech, but an implicit injustice in that we don’t follow the rules of some distant obscure Imams or Mullahs. The civilizational divide has been made painfully clear through the spread of the Innocence of Muslims trailer, if not on free speech grounds, then on reaction to state-cultural relations, as many held the US government responsible for the film (indicating how they view the tools of state: to be used to crush satire), with some Islamist activists saying it was a huge Hollywood/television hit in the US. It has produced many hilarious attempts by Muslims or others to relate the hurt feelings, perhaps as some sacrilegious attack on Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, or the Pope, or Abraham Lincoln.
But if the reactionary Muslims froth at the mouth over anodyne, even playful stuff, where Muhammad in a bear costume shakes them to the core, then their faith must be so insecure that their problems stem not from the West, or even the gross injustices inflicted by our war machine, but the crisis in their own psychology. That 8 of the 10 countries with the most internet searches for “sex” are all Muslim should be telling enough that this is a crisis of libido, but the issue of Arab agency, in so far as they want liberation from their dictators and monarchs in spite of us, also brings to the fore the crisis of ego. People don’t decapitate others, suicide bomb buses, or launch RPGs at embassies if their libidos and egos aren’t oppressed with feelings of inadequacy and stifled puritanical social mores, and they especially don’t get worked up over a goofy turd of a film like this:
Look at that! Look at that fucking shit! People are taking that seriously! That’s just how dumb they are!
But to look on this issue and say it’s fully the Muslim world’s fault for being such as it is, is incredibly off the mark. The aggravation of American foreign policy aside, the creators of this now infamous film intentionally aimed to lure in radical Muslims with a misleading title (Innocence), and then barrage them with “the truth”, of which nothing of the sort was found in the film. Westerners have long made hay of Muhammad taking his wife Aisha at an incredibly young prepubescent age. Though the legality of the marriage was unique, it was functionally no different than how Westerners used betrothal of sons and daughters all the time, meaning Muhammad needn’t have worried about Chris Hansen surprising him in the kitchen, at least by the universal standards of the time. But the filmmakers chose to use this as one of many other disingenuous, fruity, asinine attacks, including that he was gay (as well as his buddy, pan to buddy with a shit eatin’ grin – and by the way, only conservative religious assholes would consider that “dirt” on an enemy), that he performed some sort of holy cunnilingus on his first wife Khadija, he intentionally misrepresented the scripture of Christians and bastardized it to deceive people, performed gross slaughter upon all random tribes nearby, etc., etc. It was as if the script was penned by Sean Hannity after finding the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle. What makes the movie so funny is that its criticism was not of Islam or Muhammad, but a wholly invented straw man that Muslims wouldn’t recognize if not for the fact he was named Muhammad.
Seriously, we as the human race – not as Muslims, or politically correct tightwad journalists, or alcoholic insult comedians, or right wing American warmongers – those of us sharing this planet all most get over our barriers, and realize just what enjoyment we’d have laughing at this pathetic film, as well as the pathetic sad proles embarrassing themselves in reaction to it. Any tragedies tied to it, perhaps a number of people will be killed in the coming days, will only highlight the absurdity even more. Imagine people dying from a stampede that had something to do with a protest against Porky Pig. People will never find common ground if there are sacred walls separating them, or certain words or concepts that must never be mentioned, lest it offend the sensibilities of some douche canoe surfing YouTube for “Islam Bad” or “Muslims Evil”. Here, try this: “The Holocaust was a hoax” – did that ruin your day? Do you actually believe it? No, because you realize it’s empty words. Empty words that can be turned around into humorous meta-level parody. “Dan Rather murdered his wife with a dildo” – am I getting to you yet? “Muhammad raped shellfish” – same thing applies, you know he didn’t, you know it’s physically impossible, so why get mad? The only person who’d get mad is someone who’s unsure. The rest of us can lovingly embrace this nonsense as the manufactured crisis of people who are worthless piles of shit.
In conclusion, if you’re already ripping off the arm rests on your couch because Muhammad appeared on screen, why go one further and become infuriated at the notion he was at one point in his life searching for a Devil-God while eating pussy? As far as I know, Muslims are proud of Muhammad’s purported sexual virility, and pussy-eatin’ delight is permitted in most varieties of Islam, again: as far as I know. It’s kind of like taking offense to your rapist wearing clothes bought at Target. Yeah, I made a rape joke, go fuck yourself (or have a street thug do it?!?).