We’ll be the first to admit that the Idler is probably not your go-to guy for international crises. For instance, our first reaction to the news that Iran was attempting to gain a nuclear capability was that you couldn’t really blame them because Iranian practically rhymes with uranium. But even if no one is going to nominate us for National Security Advisor, these last few crises are actually right in the Idler’s wheelhouse. They’re about insults.
Guys are always insulting each other. A bald guy’s buddies will call him Curly, a short guy will be Stretch. We’ve known guys nicknamed Shorty, Moldy, Cutie-pie and Sweaty. We knew a guy named Norbert who moved three thousand miles away where no one knew his nickname was Knobby. Sports fans practically live on insults. You know why Youngstown doesn’t have a professional football team? Because if they got one, Cleveland would want one.
There used to be a lot of insulting ethnic jokes, but people don’t find them so funny any more. See? No violence involved. Plus, we think they’ve been replaced by geography jokes. Did you hear about the guy who moved from Pennsylvania to West Virginia and succeeded in raising the average IQ in both states? We know people from West Virginia and they don’t seem to mind this type of joke once it’s been explained to them a few times. Also, if it’s not such a good joke, it reflects more on the teller than the intended victim. This would have been the case with “The Interview.” It’s a not-very-funny movie that paints an unflattering picture of North Korea. Like there’s any other kind. It would have amused some teenage boys at Loew’s for a week, tops, then gone straight to Netflix. Except that the chubby, sawed-off dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, launched a cyber-attack against Sony and catapulted the film to international acclaim. Nice going there, Poppin’ Fresh.
Now some Islamic nut-jobs have murdered a bunch of French cartoonists because they didn’t like the way they depicted Muhammad. They had the same reaction to Danish cartoonists a few years back but with marginally less carnage. Surveys of the Islamic world reveal that even ordinary adherents to the religion of peace approve of such bloodletting. They seem to have declared war on cartoonists in particular and on Western freedom of expression in general. This is a war we need to fight and win, and we can’t do it by backing down. The president said this at the UN in 2012: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” He’s wrong. The future must belong to people who slander prophets, popes, presidents and ayatollahs. It must belong to people who express themselves freely and openly whether or not presidents agree with them or terrorists threaten them. I once heard a joke on TV about the pope and Raquel Welch. How come the president didn’t get huffy about that?
As usual, the Idler has the answer: an all-out joke barrage. And since we’re dealing with an essentially fascist ideology, we should look for inspiration to a historical figure who knew how to kick some nazi butt. It’s time to get our Churchill on and say to our fellow freedom (of expression) fighters,
“We shall insult them on the beaches, we shall mock them on the internet, we shall jack them in the fields and in the streets, we shall taunt them in cartoons and scorn them in books, we shall slam them in the papers and deride them in the blogs; we shall never surrender!”
OK, let’s get started: A priest, a rabbi and an imam go into a bar . .