This essay from the Washington Post attacks Gary Trudeau, who criticized the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in a recent speech. They had “punched down,” Trudeau insists, and that is bad form. Those writing satire shouldn’t do it, but should instead "punch up" by going after those who are comfortable.
As the essay writer, Eugene Volokh points out, there are many things wrong here, but I will give a slightly different list than the one he gives.
To begin with, satirists in America have never had any qualms about punching down. Eastern liberals love to punch down on the hayseeds here in flyover land, especially if they have simplistic religious views and refuse to accept the theory of evolution.
Next, when Salman Rushdie wrote The Satanic Verses, was he punching down? He came from a culture in which Muslims were not powerless and disenfranchised; they were the Establishment. According to Karima Bennoune in her book Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, “An Algerian journalist says he has to explain to European leftists that ‘the Muslim fundamentalists are our extreme right’” (p. 24).
Third, the Islamic Establishment’s reaction to Rushdie was to demand that he be killed. Isn’t that extreme for a “powerless and disenfranchised minority?” Couldn’t he just have been excommunicated or whatever is the Islamic equivalent?
Fourth, are they in fact powerless? I am going to repeat something I said a few weeks ago. Listen to what Hege Storhaug says. A Norwegian feminist, she is the author of But the Greatest of These Is Freedom, a book aimed at changing European views on Muslim immigrants. She happened to be in Amsterdam a few days after the murder of Theo van Gogh:
I wanted to see the mosque to which the murderer belonged: I wanted to see who went in and out of it, what kind of people they were. And I wanted to take a picture of it.
The experience turned out to be quite special – indeed, frightening. From the moment I pointed my camera at the building, it took just under ten seconds before seven Arab, Pakistani, and Afghani men stormed out of the front door and physically attacked me and my camera. They were between twenty-five and thirty-five years old, and all were wearing wide pants and coats in accordance with the standard Islamic dress code. Some also had full beards and typical Islamist head coverings. They exhibited an aggression and self-confidence that were out of another world. It was plain that none of the Dutch passersby who witnessed this incident so much as considered intervening. [284-5]
Is Trudeau positive that these people are powerless? They don’t seem to act that way. They act like they will soon enough be in control of things.
Finally, those who are members of powerless and disenfranchised minorities include a lot of people who I’m sure Trudeau would agree don’t deserve to be coddled. White supremacists today are powerless and disenfranchised (no matter what leftists might think), and that is where they belong. Being powerless and disenfranchised doesn’t matter as much as what one’s goals are, and the goals of the Islamists are to take over the world. They are to put a gun to everyone’s head and demand that they convert. Look at it this way:
There are no Christians who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
There are no Jews who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
There are no Baha’is who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
There are no Hindus who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
There are no Sikhs who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
There are no Jains who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
There are no Buddhists who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
There are no Daoists who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
There are no Confucians who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
There are no Shintoists who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
But there are Muslims who want to kill me because I won’t convert.
In fact, not only are there Muslims who want to kill me if I won’t convert, there are different groups who want me to convert to their group’s type of Islam and who will each kill me if I don’t convert to their type.
Do you begin to see the problem, Mr. Trudeau?