Monday, February 06, 2006

more cartoon commentary

Articulate commentary on the Cartoon Imbroglio by Christopher Hitchens, the professional cynic, sot, and social critic is to be found here. Apart from some overstatements (the executive ought to confine his comments to constitutional self-description), and false implications (that the pagan tradition of the Antigone is "much older than any monotheism"), it is a trenchant little essay, as his essays often are. Of course, I cannot endorse his sweeping anti-religiosity, which can sound itself rather like an exagerated, babyish tantrum, but there are large nuggets of insight here nevertheless. An excerpt:

I am not asking for the right to slaughter a pig in a synagogue or mosque or to relieve myself on a "holy" book. But I will not be told I can't eat pork, and I will not respect those who burn books on a regular basis. I, too, have strong convictions and beliefs and value the Enlightenment above any priesthood or any sacred fetish-object. It is revolting to me to breathe the same air as wafts from the exhalations of the madrasahs, or the reeking fumes of the suicide-murderers, or the sermons of Billy Graham and Joseph Ratzinger. But these same principles of mine also prevent me from wreaking random violence on the nearest church, or kidnapping a Muslim at random and holding him hostage, or violating diplomatic immunity by attacking the embassy or the envoys of even the most despotic Islamic state, or making a moronic spectacle of myself threatening blood and fire to faraway individuals who may have hurt my feelings. The babyish rumor-fueled tantrums that erupt all the time, especially in the Islamic world, show yet again that faith belongs to the spoiled and selfish childhood of our species.

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