Thursday, April 13, 2006

Dateline: South Park

So Comedy Central won't let Trey Parker and Matt Stone (hereinafter "the South Park guys") put "an image of Muhammad" on their show. It brings me to wonder: what exactly constitutes an image of Muhammad? It obviously doesn't have to be a likeness... but how far from a likeness can you go, and still be blasphemous? (Or, if you like, what's the closest you can get to making "an image of Muhammad" and not get killed?) For instance...

If I captioned this picture as being... a certain prophet (careful, now)... could I legitimately be tagged with a fatwah of death on the grounds of image-making? Because if I did so - oh, I'm not, don't worry - my intent would clearly not be to make an image of ... anybody... but rather to make fun. Which would of course be dangerous enough, but not really to the point.

But let's say some thoughtful fatwah-issuer did decide that the above was too anthropomorphic to bear labeling. Then what if I attached an inappropriate caption to this?

Or this?
Or this?

What if I printed a body part, and labeled it as belonging to a certain person? Let's make it something fairly innocuous, a pancreas, for instance:

This is not so-and-so's pancreas, nor am I claiming that it is. But if it were, or I was?

Sure, I'd probably be put to death for trying to be clever. But I'm not trying to defend my life, I'm trying to determine the rules. Would it be grounds, in this case or any of the above, to claim that I had illegally "represented" Muhammed?

What part does intent play in blasphemy? What part does representation play in blasphemy? What part does "part" play in blasphemy? What, what, what, what, what?


At 4:45 PM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

It's far simpler than that, infidel. You're guilty and you know it. Normally, that's sufficient for Allah and his humble servants who give voice to His edicts. Satan surely is looking after you, though, because you misspelled Muhammet. You get a pass. This time.


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