“Everybody Beat A Dead Horse Day” Ethics

Cartoonist Jeff Hibbert's conception of Muhammad

I was stunned to discover that “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day,” last year’s mass warped exercise in going out of the way to insult the religious beliefs of fine, upstanding, moral Muslims world-wide,  is supposed to be an annual event. I would have thought that the justifiable abuse heaped on serial Islam-provoker Rev. Terry Jones would have shown the organizers of EDMD the error of their ways (which I correctly pointed out to them here, and here). But no. The self-styled defenders of the undoubted right to use freedom of expression recklessly and badly still claimed to be standing up for the sullied rights of  the “South Park” creators, who last year had their show censored by cowardly and hypocritical “Comedy Central” suits after a threat by some Muslim nut-jobs. For their part, Trey Parker and Matt Stone have happily moved on to the more profitable work of making fun of Mormons on Broadway, because they won’t kill you. Meanwhile, the “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” Facebook pages has about 180 fans, or a few less than the “Happy Birthday, Martin Van Buren” page.

About 12 people actually drew the Prophet this time around, and the event got  the publicity it deserved: virtually none.  The fact that it occurred at all in 2011 proved that, as I surmised last year, most of the renegade artists were seeking publicity rather than principle, and that their calculus of the ethical issues involved was shaky at best, negligent at worst.

Beating a dead horse is usually just dumb, not unethical, but any Muslims, minding their own business and trying to worship as they please, who were offended yesterday by encountering a graphic rendition of the Holy Prophet as a madman or Gumby or a duck have every reason to feel abused. They are  the victim of a pointless protest that doesn’t do a thing to preserve creative expression, and only shows how irresponsible it can be.

11 thoughts on ““Everybody Beat A Dead Horse Day” Ethics

  1. But I drew Muhammad. (I didn’t last year, but not because I didn’t support it. I just didn’t. This year, I thought of a great idea, and I didn’t want to pass it up.)

    Right or wrong, I think those who did the protest will say that SINCE nobody responded, that shows it was a success. Nobody was intimidated because nobody can really get all that upset about it when a bunch of people do it, but when one person does it, they can be targeted and harassed.

    (The DMD2 page on Flickr has at least 1000 participants. I know, because I was #1001.)

    • Huh? Nobody can harass a thousand people because it’s too many to harass individually. Which is why I called the protest cowardly. There’s no risk to the participants, except that it guarantees that Molly Norris still has to be in hiding for her life. It’s not a success, because nobody covers it having realized that it’s a big nothing—rude, but inconsequential.

      I really do like your drawing…in fact, I cane this close to posting it with the article, until I found the “South Park” horse-beating frame.

      • If you stand up for your rights as an individual, you’re brave. If you stand up for your rights as a group, you’re a coward. Martyr worship?

        Yes, Rosa Parks is more of a hero than those who marched in Alabama, but that doesn’t make the latter cowards.

        • No, but then their protest had a point, and was not designed to just piss people off to prove they could piss people off, like EDMD. If you are out to bravely show you can piss people off, present a target. I would not have been impressed with an on-line march on Selma.

          • Drawing Muhammed is not designed to “just piss people off.” It’s designed to show the tyranny of the muslim faith, and the attempts of specific muslim groups to squash free speech.

            There was no need of being brave. Part of the point was that you shouldn’t have to be brave to exercise your rights. You shouldn’t have to be scared of violent retaliation for criticizing an idea.

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