Tuesday, February 07, 2006


This was the caption to a photo of Dick Cheney on the AFP site in a slideshow of pictures of Muslim protests about some cartoons I've never even seen:

US Vice President Dick Cheney, seen here in January 2006, said in a television interview that Muslim violence in response to newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed was not justified(AFP/File/Don Emmert)
You read that right. Dick fuckin' Cheney has the nerve to suggest that violence is not justified when "cartoons" or "caricatures" are printed in the newspaper. But I seem to remember him arguing for, and then engaging in violence when caricatures of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi WMD program were printed in American papers. Dick even came up with the caricatures himself. Here's a really memorable one:

“...we believe that he [Saddam Hussein] has in fact reconstituted nuclear weapons.”
This is the entire problem in a nutshell--the Muslim world feels it is under attack, and they jolly well should feel that way, because it is. Not necessarily for being Muslim--that's not the stated reason, anyway--but the people who are under attack do have that one thing in common.

But that's not what I was really trying to say--Cheney's comments about violence not being justified in this case illustrate very simply the rest of the world's problem with us, and that is, we require behavior from others that we do not adhere to ourselves. In other words, we fly into a (seemingly) unthinking rage after 9/11 and direct it mainly against a country that didn't even have anything to do with 9/11 yet argue every day that that was somehow justified but when they feel their religion is being shat upon by infidels and fly into a blind rage, Dick has the gall to say "your violence based on a caricature is not justified, but ours is."

And really this controversy sheds light on Republican/Rove/conservative methodology, which is to caricature everything. The caricature of John Kerry: French-looking flip-flopper. The caricature of tax cuts: "[B]y far the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum."

On that note, the Wikipedia definition of "caricature" seems particularly apt:

A caricature is a humorous illustration that exaggerates or distorts the basic essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness.
Humorous distortions of the basic essence of something: sounds like everything today's Republicans stand for.

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