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← [UPDATE-07-Jan: commentary by Russell Blackford] Prejudiced Danes provoke fanaticism

[UPDATE-07-Jan: commentary by Russell Blackford] Prejudiced Danes provoke fanaticism - Comments

Twatsworth's Avatar Comment 121 by Twatsworth

How many of us are constantly reluctant to give our full opinions on Muslims because we're afraid that we will be killed around like a football or have our throats cut? I know I am.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 23:43:00 UTC | #428553

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 122 by SaintStephen

115. Comment #447207 by Ophelia Benson on January 4, 2010 at 11:25 pm

On Christmas Day, I went out walking by myself in a beautiful, local park virtually filled with Sycamore trees. Many other people, including families with children, were out enjoying the crisp, clear weather, and since there was only one well-defined path on which to walk, I kept passing by them and couldn't help hearing their conversations.

Three women, easily in their late forties and fifties, clucking along like excitable hens, smiled and said pleasant hellos as they went by, only to immediately renew their animated conversation, well within my earshot, and they knew full well I could hear them.

"You're a bitch? Sister, I'M THE REAL BITCH in this Joy Luck Club!"

*Laughter from all three*

"What? Why are you the only bitch? What do you think you are... Miss Queen Bitch or something?"

*More laughter... fading away down the path*

Now I suppose this doesn't excuse a MAN from calling a woman a bitch, in some alternate Universe perhaps. But it certainly sheds some light on just how "psychologically damaging" that particular pejorative term is considered to be, by women themselves.

As D.L. Hughley said, "It's all a Zero Sum game." Or, how about the old "Sticks and Stones" adage, for those of a more traditional nature.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 23:47:00 UTC | #428554

decius's Avatar Comment 123 by decius

Carto, I stand corrected.

On 17 September 2005, the Danish newspaper Politiken ran an article under the headline "Dyb angst for kritik af islam" ("Profound anxiety about criticism of Islam"). The article discussed the difficulty encountered by the writer KÃ¥re Bluitgen, who was initially unable to find an illustrator prepared to work with Bluitgen on his children's book Koranen og profeten Muhammeds liv (English: The Qur'an and the life of the Prophet Muhammad ). Three artists declined Bluitgen's proposal before one agreed to assist anonymously. According to Bluitgen:

One [artist declined], with reference to the murder in Amsterdam of the film director Theo van Gogh, while another [declined, citing the attack on] the lecturer at the Carsten Niebuhr Institute in Copenhagen.

In October 2004, a lecturer at the Niebuhr institute at the University of Copenhagen had been assaulted by five assailants who opposed his reading of the Qur'an to non-Muslims during a lecture.

The refusal of the first three artists to participate was seen as evidence of self-censorship and led to much debate in Denmark, with other examples for similar reasons soon emerging. Comedian Frank Hvam declared that he would (hypothetically) dare to urinate on the Bible on television, but not on the Qur'an.

On 30 September 2005, the daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten ("The Jutland Post") published an article entitled "Muhammeds ansigt"[12] ("The face of Muhammad"). The article consisted of twelve cartoons (of which only some depicted Muhammad) and an explanatory text, in which Flemming Rose, Jyllands-Posten's culture editor, commented:

The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where one must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price, but that is of minor importance in the present context. [...] we are on our way to a slippery slope where no-one can tell how the self-censorship will end. That is why Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him. [...]

After the invitation from Jyllands-Posten to about forty different artists to give their interpretation of Muhammad, twelve caricaturists chose to respond with a drawing each. Many also commented on the surrounding self-censorship debate. Three of these twelve cartoons were illustrated by Jyllands-Posten's own staff, including the "bomb in turban" and "niqābs" cartoons.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 23:51:00 UTC | #428556

Ophelia Benson's Avatar Comment 124 by Ophelia Benson

S.S. Right. Change the people to black and the word to nigger. Do you still think the fact that some people use it of themselves means the word is benign£

And do you, in fact, use the word nigger£ (I'm assuming you're white, given the albino snap and all.)

It's not up to you. It's not up to you to decide whether bitch and cunt and twat are sexist pejoratives or not. And three women in the park do not, believe it or not, stand for women in general.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 23:54:00 UTC | #428559

AllanW's Avatar Comment 125 by AllanW

Comment #447207 by Ophelia Benson on January 4, 2010 at 11:25 pm

While I agree with the point you make, please don't tar everyone on this site with the same broad brush as a result of the juvenile behaviour of our resident -------- (fill in the blank).

I can't believe that comment has not been dealt with by removal to the alt thread already but as you've no doubt seen, any mention of his childishness just provokes a further stream of inanity. A sad circumstance that has been going on for quite a while now and remains undealt-with by the administrators. Plainly they approve.

Feel free to remove this off-topic post to the alt thread should you see fit.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 23:56:00 UTC | #428560

Ophelia Benson's Avatar Comment 126 by Ophelia Benson

And no, the 'sticks and stones' thing is no good. If the author of the article were African-American, would people here be breezily calling her a stupid nigger£ I reeeeeeeeally don't think so. Racial pejoratives are taboo, but sexist ones are just fine. Why is that£ What does that say about routine contempt for women£ Volumes, if you ask me.

Like Richard, I consider that article the most disgusting thing I've seen at the Guardian in some time, but I can say that without using sexist epithets. I don't know why you pricks can't manage that.

Mon, 04 Jan 2010 23:59:00 UTC | #428561

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 127 by Steve Zara

Comment #447212 by blitz442

What do you think of Jorgen Leditzig's assertion that the UK does pander too much to religion?

I have no doubt at all that it is true.

Comment #447205 by Cartomancer

As usual, you provide invaluable contributions to a debate. Thank you.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:01:00 UTC | #428562

Ophelia Benson's Avatar Comment 128 by Ophelia Benson

Allan - okay, I won't. I didn't realize it was just one.

God I hate this stuff. Richard, Josh - come on.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:02:00 UTC | #428563

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 129 by Border Collie

Nothing like a little terrorist ass kissing in Macy's window to make one feel morally superior, eh, Ms. Holm?

The violence of Muslims is not due to cartoons or whatever. It is an expression of their insanity. The blame factors are simply excuses.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:04:00 UTC | #428564

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 130 by SaintStephen

125. Comment #447222 by Ophelia Benson on January 4, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Of course it's benign, to people who aren't racist or sexist. Are you inferring something that perhaps you could make a little bit clearer?

I call my friend Karl "my niggah" all the time. Didn't Denzel Washington call Ethan Hawke "my niggah" in the blockbuster movie Training Day?

Yes, it's certainly not up to me to decide whether people are offended by the word grapefruit either, or by the use of the colour pink in my posts. Why aren't you harping on those potentially destructive pejoratives? Why focus your venom on a perfectly valid term for a female dog, instead?

I take full responsibility for the words I use, and I fully accept the consequences. Such as the sweetness of your last post, for instance. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt this "white" cowboy. I wish everybody could be the same.

EDIT: I'm actually part Scottish, English, Irish, and German, with a touch of Blackfoot Indian thrown in.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:08:00 UTC | #428566

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 131 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Well with this stupid woman's logic, I bet she could easily have written this instead:

On New Year's Day, Katrina Westergaard came close to being raped when a knife-wielding man with sexual problems cornered her on the street. It was the latest in a string of attempted rapes that can be traced directly to the offence caused by women's choosing to dress provocatively.

These women often sport tube tops and mini-skirts with thong underwear visible to even the most casual glance. Men with sexual issues failed to see the women's choice of clothing as only another form of expression. Instead, they saw it as an invitation for rape. Rape is a terrible crime. But most people who rape are men who cannot help their biological urges. If a promise to dress differently had been forthcoming from these women, that probably would have been the end to it – but none came, and the men's overwhelming urge to rape was compounded.

Three months later several men approached the Danish government for an appeal to the anti-rape laws. They carried with them a 43-page document, presenting their case: they cannot help but rape when women dress so provocatively. Denmark became an "enemy of men" when it started allowing women to dress in mini-skirts several decades ago, and this resulted in the nation's worst anti-male movement in history.

Why did the women of Denmark want to tempt men in this way? Some of us believed it was foolish and cruel. Sexual provocation, intended or not, is an aggressive act. As a journalist now living in the same town as Westergaard, I thought these women had no grasp of how the male mind works. Danes fail to perceive the fact that they have developed a society that does not recognize the fact that men simply HAVE to have sex with anything that looks provocative. This is the real issue between Denmark and men, not freedom of expression. The free society precept is merely an attempt to give the perpetrators the moral high ground when actually it is a smokescreen for a deeply rooted anti-male mentality. Some men are in love with their penises. And many Danes are suspicious of anyone who loves their penis and feels the need to pleasure it no matter what the cost.

On the last day of the American Society for Male Advancement's conference in 2006, Frank Rose, who believes women should dress as they please, agreed to take more than an hour of questions. I witnessed this exchange and admired his honesty.

"Are you not at all sexual?" someone asked him. "Yes. But most Danes do not rape," he responded. "Well then … can't you at least respect men who have a harder time controlling their urges?" "No, not really," Rose answered candidly. "I think it's a disgrace when a man rapes a woman."

Danes are no more sexist than any other western nation but many of them have serious issues with men with strong sexual urges. Westergaard has stated that men need to develop self-control and respect a woman's right not to be raped. They need to understand that they can't just have sex with a woman whether she wants to or not.

The Danes won't back down on their stance and the few but uncontrollably horny men will continue the fight. The first major reaction came in January 2008 when Danish police arrested a cell of men that was accused of planning Westergaard's gang rape. There are 87 women in Denmark with the name Katrina Westergaard and all of them now have police protection. Four months later, these men attempted to rape women at the Danish embassy in Islamabad. They said it was in response to the women who feel that they can dress as they wish and not expect to get raped.

This time, Westergaard's potential rapist was caught – but someone else is out there waiting for an opportunity to strike again.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:19:00 UTC | #428570

blitz442's Avatar Comment 132 by blitz442

117. Comment #447209 by Adrian Bartholomew

Huh? The problem with child porn is little more than the harm it causes people watching it FFS.

BOTH practices cause harm. Are you trying to argue that the profound emotional harm that Clapton and his family would experience is some kind of minor collateral damage for the higher ideals of free speech, and therefore okay?

And if you don't like the child porn analogy, how about the Coulter one? It's just a few widows, after all.

Not this lifetime bud. In fact I think I’m going to go out and buy one their CDs.

Of course. Why not paint yourself into even more of a corner?

If most of what "Anal Cunt" writes is disgusting taunts, then why give money to a group of hacks who make up for a lack of talent with this bullshit "free speech" scam? Like I said, any idiot can be "controversial". What was it that W.C. Fields said....?

Tom Paine was a brilliant exponent of free speech. He offended but the offense was a side effect of some brilliant observations. These guys, not so much.

What's your next purchase, 2 Live Crew?

I’m pretty sure I’ve said stuff about Mohammed that muslims would find equally disgusting as the Clapton scenario and I am not retracting that either. And stuff about Christ too.

Analogy fail. Were your anti-christ and anti-Islam posts lying, pointless babble intended only to insult and offend for commercial gain, like the Clapton scenario, or did you actually have some substantive points to make? If the latter, you are justified in your posts, and we could accuse your targets as hiding behind "offense".

Oh and to answer your question I wouldn’t shake the hand of the person from Anal Cunt insulting Clapton. I’d exercise my right to free speech instead.

Nice evasive non-answer. Would you condone it or not? If I saw it, hopefully I would tell the Cunt what a Cunt he is.

Or should I tell this Anal Cunt fellow what a hero he is for demonstrating that statements that are untrue, borderline insane, harmful, and completely unproductive are protected speech?

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:22:00 UTC | #428571

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 133 by Ignorant Amos

100. Comment #447186 by Steve Zara

The cartoons reminded me of propaganda paintings on the site of buildings in Northern Ireland designed to stir up emotions against Catholics or Protestants.

Loyalist or Republican would be closer the mark Steve....none of the murals that I have witnessed would give rise to offence on religious grounds....other than the point that the tribes are divided along Loyalist-Unionist-Protestant and Republican-Nationalist-Catholic, but not exclusively. All that said, it makes no difference to the observation you make, just a point of order.

Of course at a time there would have been a lot of "Fuck The Pope" and "Fuck The Queen" as head of the opposing factions church it could be construed as attack on religion, but that is pretty much out dated.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:27:00 UTC | #428572

root2squared's Avatar Comment 134 by root2squared

More stupidity!

Malaysia: ‘Allah’ Just for Muslims

Edit: Am I the only one having ridiculous load times on this website? Pages take minutes to load!!!

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:36:00 UTC | #428575

blitz442's Avatar Comment 135 by blitz442

127. Comment #447224 by Ophelia Benson

It's not up to you. It's not up to you to decide whether bitch and cunt and twat are sexist pejoratives or not. And three women in the park do not, believe it or not, stand for women in general.

The rules are sometimes complicated. It is in fact common for American blacks to refer to themselves as niggers in several different contexts without being labeled as racist. For white Americans, the term is best avoided at all costs.

Same for bitch and cunt. Women, American women especially, can usually get away with calling another woman a bitch. If woman are so against the term, they should stop using it altogether.

A term that is bandied about equally by women and men is dick or cock. "That guy is such a dick." "What a cock!" Clearly, male sexual organs can be used as pejoratives as well, and it is not evidence as contempt for men.

If a man hears a woman use bitch or twat against another woman, and then uses it himself against a woman, he may not be up on the latest doublestandard. But please don't read into this any "routine contempt for women".

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:41:00 UTC | #428576

Fuller's Avatar Comment 136 by Fuller

I felt deep anger when I started reading this piece. I need to find a productive way to channel it before I grind my teeth down to the bone.

Maybe it would help to call Holm a narrow vile disgusting ignorant cunt.

It does a little.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 00:58:00 UTC | #428581

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 137 by SaintStephen

127. Comment #447224 by Ophelia Benson on January 4, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Like Richard, I consider that article the most disgusting thing I've seen at the Guardian in some time, but I can say that without using sexist epithets. I don't know why you pricks can't manage that.

Case closed, I suppose.


EDIT: And please take your chihuahua AllanW with you. TY.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:00:00 UTC | #428583

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 138 by Peacebeuponme


It's not up to you to decide whether bitch and cunt and twat are sexist pejoratives or not
It is when it's him using it, and within the context which which he intends.

This is all rather stupid.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:06:00 UTC | #428586

blitz442's Avatar Comment 139 by blitz442

139. Comment #447247 by SaintStephen

Stop being such a dickhead. : )

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:07:00 UTC | #428587

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 140 by SaintStephen

141. Comment #447251 by blitz442 on January 5, 2010 at 1:07 am

Comment ranked as Excellent.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:09:00 UTC | #428588

ninnaand's Avatar Comment 141 by ninnaand

That Holm woman - along with the rest of the international media - seem to be forgetting, or not knowing, why it all went mad in the first place.

A delegation of Danish Imams and other religious fanatics took a nice little trip around the Middle-east. The cartoons were published in the fall of 2005, but the world only knew about them in the spring of 2006, precisely because those fanatics had been stirring up the mood in the area.

With them they brought a bunch of the cartoons - but also other funny stuff such as photos of a bearded man with a fake pigs nose. The photo was from a Belgian pigs festival (why they would have a pigs festival... well, got no idea! :) saying that it was one of the cartoons. They're apparently also too stupid to know the difference between a photo and a cartoon.....

I strongly doubt it would ever have come to this if it weren't for those pathetic and lying, fanatical thugs. I can only rejoice that most of them decided to leave Danish soil. They are not missed.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:11:00 UTC | #428589

amuck's Avatar Comment 142 by amuck

137. Comment #447244 by Lendear on January 5, 2010 at 12:56 am
It is time to show some empathy for muslims. Can you imagine living your life confined to a social political cultural religious ideology called 'SUBMISSION'. They have very real social penalties for even thinking out-of-line. The sexual restrictions alone must be horribly confining. A society where men are deeply afraid of the women they need and want desparately. They are unprepared to deal with their powerful attraction to the beauty of women. Where women are unable to enjoy casual relationships with men leading to natural unions and families. It is a pathetic pathological mess. Yes, you can expect aberrant behavior to be rampant and very dangerous. Assist them to find some courage to free their minds of dogma but stop harassing them.

I think the best way to help them is to expose their ideology to public criticism and censure.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:12:00 UTC | #428590

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 143 by SaintStephen

140. Comment #447250 by Peacebeuponme on January 5, 2010 at 1:06 am

It is when it's Him using it, and within the context which which He intends.
Spoken like a true theist.

Peace-ful words indeed, from the master.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:13:00 UTC | #428591

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 144 by Steve Zara

Comment #447235 by Ignorant Amos

Thank you. That is a useful comment.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:17:00 UTC | #428592

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 145 by Steve Zara

Comment #447226 by Ophelia Benson

Of course, you have been justified in expressing your concerns regarding language. I don't think they are off-topic, as not all talk of prejudice can be dismissed as pandering to culture or religion.

I do hope that this site is sorted out to deal with your concerns.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:23:00 UTC | #428594

Logicel's Avatar Comment 146 by Logicel

Carto covered all the points I wanted to make (in a way more eloquent style that I could ever muster).

The content of both articles (three Americans responsible for stirring up hate for homosexuals in Uganda and this one by a total moron) are appalling. But what makes this one that is being discussed at present to have a more total appalling impact is that not only is its content shockingly stupid and dangerous, but the author clearly is also, while the former article's author is a credit to his profession.

Though I think Steve Z is talking about something that does have some debatable value, there is nothing redeemable that Holm has uttered in her insane vapidity that is up for debate--that Steve can glean with his fine comb of intellectual discrimination some aspect which could trigger a debate outside the mad-hatter ranting of this despicable apologetic of an article is a credit to him, not her.

Ophelia, sometimes sausage festival time and locker room silliness can prevail here. There is no moderation regarding this carelessness toward 50% of the human race. In fact, once Richard himself admonished a female poster (Corylus, I think) who objected to sexist language to take the situation to the PM sector. While PZ Myers intervenes frequently to show clearly that sexist language is not to be tolerated, don't expect that to be the case here.

What I do, is focus my energies outside this website's front page. It is not worth the effort to change the sexist language ambiance here because many male posters here want to use sexist language and that is their right (free speech and all that). But I don't have to spend my precious time here either and that is my right. There are many other excellent sites on the net that discuss my interests without my having to put up with the sexist crapola that often invades this site.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:24:00 UTC | #428596

Quine's Avatar Comment 147 by Quine

Comment #447260 by Logicel:

But I don't have to spend my precious time here either and that is my right.
I would hope people would consider that better use of language and thought makes the FP more valuable, so people with valuable time to spend will come here and spend it.</soapbox>

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:43:00 UTC | #428600

Dog Boots's Avatar Comment 148 by Dog Boots

I liked the part where our prime minister (now former) was supposed to apologize for something...that was when the stupid meter needle got stuck.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 01:56:00 UTC | #428603

Joshua Slocum's Avatar Comment 149 by Joshua Slocum

Steve Zara:

I think Cartomancer sums it up nicely:

The problem, I think, is that these two issues are so massively different in character that it is something of a mistake to talk about them in the same sentence. The first is an issue of deplorable illegal violence, the second a somewhat moot talking point about public standards of civility.

This was my reaction to your concerns, too. Actually, I was a little hotter under the collar about them. It baffled me that you seemed to think it was just as important to talk about civility in discourse (given the attempted murder we're all talking about) or more, than it was to say, "Civility or not; fine. But my goodness - someone tried to kill this man for a cartoon he found offensive!" That's what you should have said, right up-front.

They are not equal. There is no justification for an attempted axe murder. It is not morally equivalent . It cheapens what ought to be universal outrage and condemnation of attempted axe murder for you to use this as an opportunity to talk about how civilized people have a social obligation not to gratuitously insult others. Can you see, Steve, how ethically inappropriate it was to use this as a platform for - even I think you must admit this - the contextually less important concern about civil discourse?

Let me use an analogy that both you and I, as gay men, can probably relate to. Imagine a "coarse, rude" gay rights activist drew a series of editorial cartoons depicting opponents of same-sex marriage as illiterate, drunk, toothless hicks. Imagine that some self-identified "offended" opponent of same-sex marriage broke into the cartoonist's house, wielded a gun, and threatened to "shoot that disrespectful faggot" in front of his husband and children.

Would you take that as an opportunity to put your "worry" about the "incivility" of the gay cartoonist's "offensive, bullying" cartoon on an ethical conversational par with his attempted murder? I doubt it, but that's exactly what you appeared to do here.

Yes, I can hear you now: "I never said they were equal, I was only pointing out that two wrongs don't make a right." No, I'm sorry. There is a clear moral and ethical imbalance here, and it does strike many reasonable people as disproportionate and ethically off the mark for you to spend more time highlighting discursive improprieties than you spend unequivocally condemning murder attempts. Why, Steve, was it more important for you to comment on "bullying" discourse" than it was to condemn (weakly, as an aside) an attempted murder? That is what got reasonable commenters pissed off.

More in a second post.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 02:00:00 UTC | #428605

blitz442's Avatar Comment 150 by blitz442

148. Comment #447260 by Logicel

Why is there any need to apologize? The use of sexual organs as pejoratives is not just directed against females, nor are males the only users of this type of language. If there is anything to apologize for, it is crassness, not sexism.

Or better yet, let's apologize for the excessive PC.

Tue, 05 Jan 2010 02:02:00 UTC | #428608