Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nakoula Nakoula

There is, of course, that old saw that claims "freedom of speech" does not give you license to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater."  I mean, everyone knows that line.  There are limitations.  But still, acknowledging that truth is only a bit less difficult than really making an application in real time. 

What on earth does a culture such as our own do with Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, a man with a hefty criminal record in money-laundering and drug-trafficking, the man who--the stories suggest--is the idiot who made the film, a film which can hardly be called that, a dopey, tenth-rate digital story that has American embassies throughout the world under siege and, by motivation, caused the death four good people?  What do we do with Nakoula?  What do we do with free speech?

Did you see the film? It's beyond weird. If it birthed riots, it would be hilarious--crude and awful. It's junior-high in absolutely everything except hate-mongering.  I take that back--it's vastly worse than junior high.  It's idiotic. It's imbecilic. It's reprehensible. It's pathetic. It's too stupid to be called evil, but it is nonetheless.

But what do we do with Nakoula's freedom of speech?  What do we do about an American ethic that's almost as precious to us as Mohammed's face and reputation is to Islamic extremists?  And how on earth--literally, on earth--do two kinds of people, so radically different, ever learn to get along?

Nakoula is a Coptic Christian, which shouldn't, I hope, make him any kind of hero. Gadzillions of Americans think he's a pig-headed idiot and simply assume that his brain is as fried in hate as it could be in the meth he's been arrested for peddling.  

But Nakoula Bassely Nakoula, American, has all the benefits of American citizenship, including freedom of speech.  Here in the U.S. of A., he can peddle hate and not be touched.

Meanwhile, the fierce piranha in the Middle East, the bloody fanatics that kill Americans and burn embassies, are little more than animals. It's a stretch to call them humans.  

And here we are, as a nation and a culture, bloodied by the damned extremists on both sides.  Here we are in the middle of fiery muddle of sheer madness, because of a ridiculously ham-fisted film somebody stuck up on You Tube. This is crazy, but it's also deadly.

I'm about ready to hit "publish" here, and I'm very much aware of the irony of what I'm thinking.  And what I'm thinking is that what's going on here, emerging right in the middle of industrial-sized vats of hate boiling up all around us is the dark underbelly of the internet and the democratization it has created. This immense blessing--an information highway that has already begun to reshape forever almost everything we do--can be a monster.

Yes it can. Watch the flames again today, created by animals who know nothing but hate. 

On You-Tube.  


Anonymous said...

It would be so much better if people remembered the words of St Paul: "All things are lawful, but not all things are edifying."
Freedom of speech should have a few more limitations than not being allowed to shout 'fire!' in a crowded theater.

Anonymous said...

Don't fall for the facade that this is all about Nakoula and his "movie". Al Qaeda has planned and executed a military strike against the US in retaliation for the recent US drone airstrikes which have killed many top al Qaeda leaders. (check it out on the internet) The Muslim demonstrations have been planned and supported by al Qaeda to inflame anti US sentiments in the region, and it hasn't cost them as much money and lives as compared with what the US has spent to "stabilize" Bush's war efforts in the mid East. We need to get out of Bush's oil war and develop our own alternate energy resources and stabilize climate change so the corn will grow again.

Anonymous said...

Let's get back to those young christian ladies who were trying to get along and help each other after the last big war.

Anonymous said...

We are out of Bush's war (IRAQ),other than some advisor's. The Afghan war is BO's. I think it goes beyond oil...