Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Holy Embarrassment

Pun intended. Historically, artists have been instrumental in bringing about social change. Authors, poets, and playwrights were the ones that weren't afraid to challenge the status quo, to oppose social norms, and question authority. They did these things under the threat of arrest, torture, or possibly execution. I could cite examples from hundreds of years ago, when artists lifted civilization from smothering religious rule via the Renaissance. Even in modern times, artists were central to ending Communist oppression in some European nations (see Plastic People of the Universe). Back in those days, being an artist took considerable intelligence, and even more courage.

Not in modern times, it turns out. In Europe, this bunch is a complete embarrassment. At least they are honest about why they do not mock Islam. No excuses about cultural sensitivity or anything like that. They just say straight up that they auto-censor topics on Islam because they are scared shitless about reprisals if they don't.

Mocking Christianity is easy: there is no danger involved, and most importantly, nobody cares. Its old. Thus, when these artists go on a Christian-bashing spree in a triumphant declaration of their bravery and fearlessness, but won't even touch Islam with a 6-foot pole, I can only think of one word with which to describe them: cowards. Christianity and Islam are both ideas, and as such, should be subjected to critiques, criticism, and even mockery. So people should either feel free to insult them both, or neither. Just don't presume to make a dramatic statement about religion in general by mocking just one and chickening out when it comes time to criticize the other.

I think ultimately my disgust here has nothing to do with religion at all. It is about the pathetic shape of the collective mental state of our civilization. The most obvious manifestation of this is the fear that we have of terrorism. There have been barely a handful of terrorist attacks on the entire West, and yet it is almost as if we live daily in fear of attack. It manifests itself in other ways too, the fear does. Fear of real political compromises to fix problems like social security. We are terrified of global warming, but at the same time don't have the courage to implement any of the reforms required to even begin to address it. Politicians cannot get anything done in this country without using fear as a motivator for the masses.

Reading about the things that people did in Eastern Europe to fight communism, it is so inspiring. Those people went through so much, and there was so much physical fear - fear of having your door kicked down in the middle of the night and being dragged away by the Stasi and never being seen again. They were not emotionally fearful, however. Through it all, they still maintained the collective emotional courage to continue to struggle and fight. They fought for almost half of a century. I wonder if people in the USA would respond in a similar manner in an authoritarian police-state? Most likely, this generation would just roll over and submit.

If anyone in Western civilization today was still unafraid to say anything or challenge anyone, I would think it would be the artists. What a disappointment.

1 comment:

CresceNet said...

Oi, achei seu blog pelo google está bem interessante gostei desse post. Gostaria de falar sobre o CresceNet. O CresceNet é um provedor de internet discada que remunera seus usuários pelo tempo conectado. Exatamente isso que você leu, estão pagando para você conectar. O provedor paga 20 centavos por hora de conexão discada com ligação local para mais de 2100 cidades do Brasil. O CresceNet tem um acelerador de conexão, que deixa sua conexão até 10 vezes mais rápida. Quem utiliza banda larga pode lucrar também, basta se cadastrar no CresceNet e quando for dormir conectar por discada, é possível pagar a ADSL só com o dinheiro da discada. Nos horários de minuto único o gasto com telefone é mínimo e a remuneração do CresceNet generosa. Se você quiser linkar o Cresce.Net(www.provedorcrescenet.com) no seu blog eu ficaria agradecido, até mais e sucesso. If is possible add the CresceNet(www.provedorcrescenet.com) in your blogroll, I thank. Good bye friend.