Wednesday, February 08, 2006

That's All Folks!

There was the War of Jenkins’ Ear. It all started in 1731 when a British merchant ship was stopped and boarded by a vessel of the Spanish Navy. In the ensuing fracas, the offending Spanish captain cut off the ear of Shipmaster Jenkins. After a great deal of huffing, puffing, and demonstrating back home in Britain, the government was goaded into declaring war. As so often happens in wars, this little dust-up got completely out of hand. In no time at all, the issue of whether Master Jenkins was unfairly deprived of his ability to keep his sunglasses from slipping off his head was forgotten. Pretty soon the entire enterprise wound up being the War of the Austrian Succession and raged across Europe until 1748.

Now we have the War of Mohammed’s Cartoons. It all started when a Danish newspaper printed 12 sketches of the Prophet. Denmark is not a likely candidate for starting an international war. The Danes did invade Britain about 1,200 years ago, but after realising that the weather was not very good, they decided to go home, build a tolerant society, and invent cheese danish. However, after a great deal of huffing, puffing, and demonstrating, some Muslims seem intent on expanding the dispute into the War of the Infidel’s Suppression. There’s a great deal of talk about cutting off the heads, hands and other useful parts of the cartoonists in question. The 18th Century was obviously a gentler time and Master Jenkins got off lightly.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, is leading the charge. (Since Mahmoud is not allowed to wear neckties or to shave, there is some question as to whether he is on suicide watch. This is a troubling thought given his desire to control nuclear weapons.) Hamshahri, one of Iran’s leading newspapers, has announced a cartoon contest on the subject of the Holocaust. This is clearly a worrying escalation of the cartoon wars.

H I can report that there are pre-emptive cartoon strikes being considered by countries around the world. North Korea is planning a contest to make fun of South Korea and Japan. Russia has contacted sketch artists for ideas for insulting Ukrainians. Iceland, which is the only NATO member without any military forces of its own, is looking at drafting people with a sense of humour and drafting talent into a national force of draftsmen. France, fiercely protecting its honour, is stockpiling cartoons that insult every country in the world that has not announced they want to be French.

Amidst this escalating tension, The United States has attempted to be a calming influence. Citing its commitment to a ‘kinder, gentler arrogance’, the American government has decided not to mobilize its Strategic Cartoon Command at this time. In background briefings, State Department sources have, however, reminded reporters that Walt Disney was the Father of the Intercontinental Cartoon.

Hopefully the good offices of the United Nations can turn the world from the brink of war. Failure can only mean a further escalation and the threat of a massive American pre-emptive strike. Portraying Islamic fundamentalist states as a bunch of Mickey Mouse countries would be bad enough. But launching Porky Pig at them could spell doom for everyone.

8 Comments:

Blogger Ananke said...

Hm, "a kinder, gentler arrogance." That's George W. Bush in a nutshell. Except for the "kinder, gentler" part. ;-)

11:52 AM  
Blogger siren said...

Who knew the Danes could instigate this kind of trouble? They make such good cookies.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Jorge said...

If only that cartoon were a bit funnier. At least it looks like we'll be getting some nifty black comedy. One way or another.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous dv said...

There's a serious theological issue underlying this. It seems to be a basic tenet of any type of fundamentalism that humour is strictly off limits. I wonder how the keepers of the faith are going to allow any form of cartoon to ever reach the public eye?

4:02 AM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

kinder, gentler arrogance? heh.

As for skirmish-starters, without Schoolhouse Rock, I'd know naught of the "shot heard round the world.

And I don't remember the Maine. The Massachusets, maybe, but her lines were really avant garde for her day.

(*)>

1:36 PM  
Blogger Abby Taylor said...

Personally, I'd like to see Richie Rich in a suicide bomber turban, with Archie and Jughead doing a little illegal wiretapping.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Amal said...

Please Please don't hold us all up to the standard of that Iranian Nutbar.

1:03 AM  
Blogger Homo Insapiens said...

Amal -- there's no intention of poking fun at all the folks in any group. Thankfully for this blog, there are Homo Insapiens in every group, population, country, and religion - as well as quite a few normal Homo Sapiens!

9:24 AM  

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