View Full Version : The Discreet Charm of the Danish Cartoons

02-15-06, 11:57 AM
The Discreet Charm of the Danish Cartoons
February 15th, 2006
James Lewis

The last Jutland berserker must have died about a millenium ago, when the Vikings were converted to Christianity. Ever since then the Danes have become quieter, more introspective, and yes, a lot more civilized than their rape-and-pillaging Norse ancestors.

Today they are mostly agnostic Lutherans, not much different from the people of Minneapolis. Danish ranting and raging is hard to find today, outside of the drunken ferry rides to Norway, crowded with young beer drinkers eager for the duty-free booze. Today, Denmark seems more like Lake Woebegone than like Mecca during the hajj. Stoning Satan is fresh out of style.

A Danish professor told me a few years ago that he saw his country as an island of sanity in a world of madness. And today, we are treated to a spectacle that brings out the contrast more than ever: thirteen mild-mannered Danish cartoonists are now in hiding for fear of Islamofascist death squads, and all over the Muslim world the flag of Denmark is burned by chanting mobs of rioters.

As a result, I have been falling under the quiet charm of these innocent cartoons. Take a look.

They seem more gentle and truthful by the day. As the Islamist cartoon scam unfolds and hatred is all over the news, these cartoons have no anger. They aren’t laugh-out-loud funny, just whimsical. They say: your Prophet Mohammed was a violent, desert warrior. And so are you. The cartoons just tell the truth in a quiet way.

My favorite ‘toon is a take-off on EC Escher’s famous self-portrait using a round, shiny mirrored vase, showing a fish-eye view of Escher himself quizzically drawing his own face. It is a wonderful visual metaphor for looking at oneself without preening, and without anger: just a bearded guy in a funhouse mirror. Except this Danish parody of Escher has the bearded Mohammed looking back at the cartoonist with a fierce expression on his face. It’s very funny in a quiet way, a sort of Kierkegaardian “I and Thou” expression: Here I am in sedate Denmark, looking at you, the prophet of religious violence. It is a face-to-face meeting across a thousand years of civilizaton.

No wonder the Imams who went to Egypt in December to stoke the fires needed to spice up these gentle drawings. So they added three fakes: One using an AP photo of a bearded man wearing a pig mask for the piggie competition at a French festival; one of a dog buggering a Muslim at prayer; and an amateurish drawing of an Arab figure with the Danish word “pedofil.”

No one can confuse these blasphemous frauds with the gentle drawings of the Danes. They are gross, deliberately setting out to violate Islam’s greatest taboos. The fakes are just classic hate speech, because that’s their purpose. And oddly enough, they were forged and peddled by devout Islamist Imams from tolerant Denmark.

Which makes me wonder even more about the twisted minds of these actors. Interestingly, some Arab bloggers are completely aware of the fraud, and are laughing at it. So are others.

Well, the forged hate cartoons are working like a charm. While the rent-a-mobs in Syria and Iran have been small and obviously organized, people are still dying in Pakistan, and there is no end in sight to the hatred being whipped up for political purposes. The fascist wing of Islam is determined to squeeze every bit of blood out of this farce, and they will certainly continue to intimidate politicians like London’s mayor Ken Livington, who plays the anti-Jew card to get out his Pakistani voters.

Meanwhile, the world is slowly and reluctantly waking up. My prediction is for big Tory gains in the next UK elections, for Nicolas Sarkozy to gather more support for his presidential election campaign in France, and for Angela Merkel to become more popular in Germany. More conservative governments will emerge in reaction to the Cartoon Crisis.

So maybe, just maybe, the Danish cartoonists have done all of us an unexpected favor. They deserve a Medal of Freedom.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor.