teisipäev, mai 04, 2004

The Good Kind of Censorship

Look, I'm not a fan of censoring unpopular opinions. But I can't raise an ounce of outrage over this.

I have no problem with controversial opinions. I'm going to disagree with them and mock them, but I'm not going to try to stop you from expressing them. But there is a point where an editor needs to look at your work and say, dude, you got this one wrong. The mainstream media needs to have certain standards for accuracy, even in cartoons. My problem is less with the inappropriateness of spitting on Pat Tillman's grave a week after his death and more with, sweet Jesus is Ted Rall wrong. I don't see any reason why msnbc.com should be giving a soapbox to a guy who won't even concede that the war in Afghanistan was a response to 9/11. These guys should need to prove they have a minimum level of intelligence and understanding of international affairs before you give them space. Also, and this is a problem I often have with political cartoons, it's not funny. Really, there's nothing funny about the comic. It's just bad. I don't care if you offend some people in the process of making a good point or a good joke, but this does neither. The sole purpose appears to be to call Pat Tillman an idiot. And I just can't respect that. I felt the same way about the right wing scum, including the WSJ's James Taranto, who called Rachel Corrie an idiot for standing up for what she believed in. What are you accomplishing? What are you adding to the discourse other than hate? Nothing. It's just irresponsible and mean-spirited and it's an editors job to weed crap like this out.

If you want to talk about honor, valor, and the definition of a hero, I'm all for it. But do it tastefully and show the dead some respect. Otherwise, I have no use for you.

That said, Rall is correct in the interview that the word "hero" is thrown around way too much these days. A private contractor like Thomas Hamill who goes to Iraq to make money, gets kidnapped, then escapes, for example, is not a hero. He's just extremely lucky. I'm happy to see he's okay, but running away from people who kidnapped you in a place you chose to be isn't heroism. There's nothing wrong with it. I'm not criticizing the guy. But the media has been far to quick to stamp the label on some people. If you want to call him a hero for going over there and helping with the reconstruction, we can talk about it. I have nothing against the guy. But calling him a hero for escaping is excessive.

For the record, though, I would call Pat Tillman, and any other soldier who fights for this country honorably, a hero.

On a related note:

Rall, who risked his life in Afghanistan himself as a visiting cartoonist/writer after 9/11...

Give me a break. You're a cartoonist. Don't belittle war heroes by comparing yourself to them. I'm sure it was very dangerous, but you were there for yourself. Pat Tillman was there for his country.

And the people sending Rall hate email and wishing he was dead need to grow the fuck up, too. It's just a cartoon.

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