Yet another very funny piece by Mark Steyn in the Chicago Sun Times, with thanks to Yojimbo.
In an otherwise grim week — at least on unimportant peripheral matters like Iranian nukes — three things cheered me up. The first was the decision of Iran’s bakers to rename Danish pastries “Roses of the Prophet Muhammed pastries.” Has a ring to it, don’t you think? If they’re looking for a slogan, how about “Iranian pastry: There’s nothing flakier. Except our president.”
The second cheery sight was the destruction of a McDonald’s in Lahore by the usual excitable young lads from the religion of pieces. Apparently the lively Pakistanis had burned every single Danish target in the city — one early Victor Borge LP left behind by the last British governor — and had been obliged to diversify. So they dragged Ronald McDonald out of the joint, torched him in the street and danced around his flaming remains shouting “Death to America! Death to Britain! Death to Tony Blair!”
I’m not sure I even get that. Ronald and Tony seem kind of similar from a distance but even on the all-infidels-look-alike-to-me-especially-when-they’re-alight thesis you’d think they weren’t that easily confused…
Meanwhile, from Malaysia to Jordan to Scandinavia, it was a bad week for journalists increasingly constrained — not to mention fired and otherwise humiliated — in their ability to cover the big story of our time. If I had to pick a single moment to contrast with the hilariously parochial narcissist buffoons of the Washington press, it would be another press conference in another government building, this time in Oslo, called by Norway’s minister of labor. Surrounded by cabinet ministers and a phalanx of imams, Velbjorn Selbekk, the editor of an obscure Christian publication called Magazinet, issued an abject public apology for reprinting the Danish Muhammed cartoons. He had initially stood firm in the face of Muslim death threats and the usual lack of support from Europe’s political class, but in the end Mr. Selbekk was prevailed upon to recant and the head of Norway’s Islamic Council, Mohammed Hamdan, graciously accepted the apology and assured the prostrate editor that he was now under his personal protection. As the American author Bruce Bawer commented, “It was a picture right out of a sharia courtroom.”
In Canada, by contrast, the Western Standard (for which I also write) stood firm in its decision to publish the cartoons, and as a result is suffering legal harassment from Muslim lobby groups and has been banned from both Air Canada and two of the country’s leading bookstore chains, Indigo-Chapters and McNally Robinson. Paul McNally of the latter defended his action this way: “We feel there is nothing to gain on the side of freedom of expression and much to lose on the side of hurting feelings.” Not exactly Voltaire, is it? “I disagree strongly with what you say but I will fight to the death for your right to say it as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody’s feelings.” Maybe it could be Canada’s new national motto.
It’s easy to be tough about nothing. The press corps that noisily champions “the public’s right to know” about a minor hunting accident simultaneously assures the public that they’ve no need to see these Danish cartoons that have caused riots, arson and death around the world. On CNN, out of “sensitivity” to Islam, they show the cartoons but with the Prophet’s face pixilated so that he looks as if Cheney’s ventilated him with birdshot and it turned puffy and gangrenous. C’mon, guys, these are interesting times. Anyone can unload the umpteenth round of blanks into the bulletproof Chimpy Hallibushitler, but why not take a shot at something that matters?
Or perhaps it would just be easier to change the term ”free press” to the ”Roses of the Prophet Muhammed press.”