Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Molly Norris and May 20th Draw Mohammed Day (UPDATE)

On May 19, I posted an article announcing the "Draw a Likeness of Mohammed Day". It was a call to arms (or call to pencil) started by Seattle artist Molly Norris in reaction to a censored "South Park" episode featuring a likeness of Mohammed. Fearing violent objections by radical Islamicists similar to reactions to the Danish Mohammed cartoons, Comedy Central's brass decided to take the appeasement approach and blocked out the offensive likeness so as not offend.

Shortly after word got out what Comedy Central had done, Ms. Norris, an up-and-coming young cartoonist, reacted as any artist should when faced with censorship of any kind. She showed her disdain by drawing a cartoon "thought balloon" titled ""Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" and posted it on her website. As these things go in the internet age, someone saw it, passed it on, and within a few days, her cartoon went viral. Her idea spread like wildfire.  Facebook pages were started and blogs across the world were touting May 20th as the official day everyone would strike a blow for freedom lovers everywhere. Every news organization in the country was clamoring for an interview with Norris, the newest cult-hero in the War on Islamic Terrorism. "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" had taken on a life of its own, but Norris began to have serious doubts about what she had so innocently started. She never intended that anyone should actually draw a likeness of Mohammed. She was just thinking out loud. As the appointed day drew closer, she began to furiously backtrack and did pretty much everything short of burning her driver's license and donning a burkha to denounce the movement stating emphatically that she "never meant to offend anyone" and to "...Please stop drawing Mohammed".   Her doubts and fears were not unfounded.

Unfortunately for all of her protestations and denunciations, she put it out there and it did not go unnoticed either.  Last week, Ms. Norris was informed by the FBI that she has now been named the next new inductee onto Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki's hit list. This is the same peace-loving Islamic cleric who brought us the Fort Hood terrorist killer, Malik Nadal Hasan, and the would-be Times Square bomber, Faisel Shazhad.  I guess this is one of those Obama "teachable moments" - when you want to make a stand these days especially on the internet, you better be ready to deal with the consequences. These people are not kidding around and they will kill anyone even innocent cartoonists in Seattle when they are offended. But we know all of this.

But here is something that makes this a little bit worse. A New York Daily News poll  indicates a real lack of sympathy for her plight. Here is the poll and results:
A radical cleric has called for the execution of a U.S. cartoonist after she launched a project called "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day." Do you support the cartoonist's lampoon?
• Yes. She was making a statement protected under the First Amendment. That's her job. 37%
• No. She knew Islam forbids drawing the likeness of Mohammed. This is insulting, not fun. 56%
• Not sure. 7%
Taking into consideration that the Daily News is just left of the NY Times on most days, this is a big surprise. One would think that liberals would want to stand up against censorship of any kind and would support any artist who made a stand even if it might offend Muslims. I know I am reading a lot into this very unscientific poll, but it a little scary that only 37% support her First Amendment rights.


AndrewPrice said...

What is so interesting to me about this is that it puts to lie several decades of self-righteous whining by the left. For decades now, all we've heard is that the left are staunch defenders of free speech, whereas evil conservatives are Nazis who want to ban speech and burn books.

They even kept this garbage up in the face of speech codes, verbal hate-crime laws, and everything else they've done.

Now they are faced with a situation where they should be out there protesting, holding hands and singing silly protest songs to stand up for "human rights." Only it turns out that they aren't so interested. It turns out that human rights aren't really rights and don't apply to all humans.

And I wonder what the reaction would have been if this had been a radical Christian group threatening to kill peopl?

Ponderosa said...

Hi Bev.

I agree with Andrew, lefties aren’t too good with the whole freedom/liberty thing.

Well, unless it relates to sex and reproduction even then they’ll only fight their issue of the moment.

Sadly it doesn’t even come from a place of: joy, fun or principle but they do it because they perceive all things sexual to be corrosive to society.

Other than the above, they’ve proven to be very comfortable with placing limits on the First Amendment: shouting down opposition, “hate” laws, censorship of their own members, etc.

Sex is the common thread.

Now if it was “Draw Pope Porn” day.
Katie bar the door!

MegaTroll said...

I hear that they convicted two Muslims for trying to burn down the house of the Danish cartoonist.

I am not surprised that Norris ended up on a hit list. I'm disturbed by it, but not surprised. I'm even more disturbed that the liberals won't do or say anything to stop this? Aren't they the ones who usually look to the government to stop bad people from hurting other people? What's different this time?

Also, this idea that she deserves it -- like the poll says, is the same thing like blaming rape victims for dressing wrong.

AndrewPrice said...

Ponderosa, My point exactly -- if this was "evil right wingers" or "evil Christians" threatening Norris because she had drawn a pornographic cartoon, there would be liberals in the streets protesting. But it isn't. It's Muslims, and somehow they are allowed to impose limits on free speech.

This clearly exposes that the left doesn't care at all about free speech, they only care about letting the things they like be heard.

Unknown said...

There's always the problem of how the questions are asked ("push polls" being the prime example). The fact that representing Mohammed is offensive to Muslims would, in a different world, be sufficient to cause thoughtful people not to represent him. Unfortunately, in this world, Islam (particularly radical Islam) is not merely a religion. It is also a massive, oppressive political movement. And its best figurehead and representation is Mohammed.

Is it insensitive to draw pictures of Mohammed against the religious wishes of his adherents? Probably. Do I care? No. Am I 100% behind the right of an artist to draw offensive pictures? Yes.

It would be nice if people didn't feel compelled to draw pictures of Mohammed because of his religious instructions, just as it would be nice if people didn't feel to compelled to produce "art" such as a crucifix soaking in urine or the Virgin Mary made of dung.

But this world isn't nice, and that's why we have a First Amendment. Muslims have taken us back 600 years to the time when any irreligious art could get you killed. Christians and Jews have gotten past that. Islam has not. We may lecture, cajole, plead and boycott in the face of vile depictions of religious symbols. Only they murder people for it.

When liberals express equal outrage at "Piss Christ" as they do for cartoons of Mohammed and at the same time defend the equal rights of the artists to be offensive, I'll agree with them. Until then, girls and boys, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

The Founders pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to protect the right to freedom of speech. Modern liberals cower under their desks in fear of those who would deny that right.

Joel Farnham said...


I thought the fatwa was extended to any one who defended her and looked upon the pictures of Mohammed, and any one who supported the system that freedom of speech as part of it's rights. Essentially a fatwa against the citizens of the US.


It's a good thing most of us aren't paranoid otherwise we would shoot and kill any Mohammedan, Muslim or Islamist who got within twenty feet of us just in case.

BevfromNYC said...

Sorry, I've been in a meeting all morning.

I get so tired of emotional artists making a "stand" and then backing down when things get tough. I saw it for years when I worked in the theatre. Either you believe in First Amendment rights for all or you don't. And the "don't's" should never call themselves artists.

Don't get me wrong. I am scared for this young woman and I really don't think she ever meant to be a hero except in her own limited world. But there are consequences to posting on the internet. Once you post something like this, all it takes is one Google search and it can be disseminated in matter of hours globally. And if you are not prepared to face the consequences, you need to shut up and sit down.

And we ALL know what would have happened if a Christian group put a hit out on someone like this. Outrage and MORE "Draw the Pope Naked" cartoons. Because they know Christians will cry and get angry, but they won't kill over a cartoon.

BevfromNYC said...

Ponderosa - It is tiresome that the Left cannot see their own hypocrisy in all of this. They don't want anyone to say anything offensive, except when they want to be offensive. It's always wrong if it's the other guy saying it. A fine example is all the racist rhetoric directed at the Tea Party movement. The NAACP has no problem with members calling an African American TP spokesperson a "token" or an "Uncle Tom". Hypocrisy... Okay, rant over.

BevfromNYC said...

MegaTroll: That is exactly what they are doing in the guise of backing away - Blame the victim.

What will these same people do when someone takes Anwar al-Awlaki up on his offer and she's killed?

BevfromNYC said...

Joel, it probably does extend to anyone who did, but they can't kill us all at once, and Norris was the public face of it all. It's a warning to us that we are ALL at risk, so don't dare try it again or it may be you! Well I say "Phewy" to that.

rlaWTX said...

ya know, God really missed a great opportunity when He didn't have Jesus command that His followers maim or kill anyone who disagrees with them...

Then, of course, implying that God is not omniscient would prob'ly get me into trouble too ... :-)

But seriously, I agree about the "I am an artiste" attitude that then turns into a frightened rabbit when they actually make an impact - annoying!

As for the loony left blaming the victim - not beyond expectation based on their kowtowing to sharia and refusal to speak up about women who are truly suffering...
I used to think that one day their heads would explode from all of the contradictory walk vs talk exhibited by the left, but then I realized that they don't actually believe the stuff they say - so no internal conflicts when they do the opposite. < sigh >

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I'm sick of that too. If you're going to stand up for a principle, then do it. If you aren't willing to take the heat, then stop pretending that you're being heroic.

Anonymous said...

that poll's been freeped, no doubt...

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