In tonight’s second installment of the two-parter, “Cartoon Wars,” Comedy Central censored out an image of Mohammad. South Park has thus far parodied sexually abusive Catholic priests, blacks, Asians, Jews, the handicapped, illegal immigration, Osama bin Laden, and even the Holocaust. You may not consider any of that funny, but that’s not the point. You have the freedom to change the channel, and I have the freedom to watch. Parker and Stone finally picked targets that Comedy Central feared, however; Tom Cruise’s cult and Islam.
There are two ways you can look at Muslims, plus any number of ways that are somewhere in between. One view is that they simply practice an alternative belief system, no inherently better or worse than our own. Another view is that Islam’s followers are tyrannical, intolerant, misogynistic, and incontrollably incendiary to all who disagree. The true answer may depend on which region or group of which one speaks, but by presuming that Muslims can’t handle images of Mohammad that offend them without rioting and burning, Comedy Central is buying firmly into the latter view.
If I were Muslim, I know what would really offend me. But if Comedy Central assumed right — and recent evidence suggests they may have for large parts of the world — all the more reason for us to stand for our right to watch whatever the fuck we please. This is no time to let ourselves be terrorized.
You can contact Comedy Central here.