Freedom of speech
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Freedom to Enlighten, Amuse, and Offend
Freedom of speech and cartoons have gone hand-in-hand since Egyptians use cuneiforms (an early form of writing that use pics of birds and swirly-things) with pictures to depict Pharaohs going overbudget and bungling the construction of yet another pyramid.
In mid 2005, a Danish newspaper ran a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light to prove that freedom of speech never ever leads to people overreacting. Some people were offended by these cartoons as, in their particular take on Islam it is bad mojo to depict Muhammad, as it could lead to idolatory. It's even worse to depict Charlie Brown trying to kick a football.
While no one has yet idolized these drawings one guy laughed a little while the rest simply furrowed their previously unfurrowed brows, as most of the comics were, to be polite, either dumb or in very bad taste, or both. Just like Fox News!
Various Islamist groups promptly decried the cartoons six months after they were published. To prove that all Muslims are at least a peaceful as Crusade-era Christians, they decided to attempt reconcilliation with the Danish (and, by extension, the "west") by burning shit up and generally just making asses of themselves. Remarkably in this they resemble a well armed frat house ("Go Delta Pi Omega! Death to the infidels!") on frosh week.
Salman Rushdie is said to be glad that he was, in no way, involved.
Peace, Love and Understanding
People from Denmark have attempted to put out the fires by publishing a new cartoon.
This has unfortunately stoked the flames even further, as paper from Denmark is widely known to be by far the most burnable paper on Earth. In this it is similar to the American Flag.
Can't We All Just Get Along?
Meanwhile in other parts of the world, other cartoons have come out. These new drawing have offended the easily offended, and bored and confused everyone else.
Interpreters and misinterpreters of the Koran have seen (or at least been told of) other comics that may or may not deserve some form of Fatwa advocating the spanking of the infidels involved.
Just to be safe they're leaning toward spanking.
Just Don't Read the Paper
J.R. Bob Dobbs
After seeing a pic of an unsmiling "Bob" without a pipe members of the [Church of the SubGenious] are said to be mildly chafed.
Even the Hare Krishna haven't been spared from this vicious cycle of the repeated publishing of poor drawn (and more poorly thought out) cartoons.
The normally peaceful Krishnas have rioted in airports worldwide, using the power of lentils and their skinny arms to wack passing travelers on the head with their tamborines, over the following cartoon of Vishnu with a stick body, comedy moustache glasses, and a rabbit for a hat.
If you are planning to go an airport, beware. Their attacks have caused at least one innocent bystander's glasses to be knocked crooked and, if news reports are to be believed, another to spill a bit of his coffee.
Flying Spaghetti Monster
People who have been touched by His Noodly Appendage, the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are outraged at a drawing of Him as limp, undercooked pasta with unappetizing balls of meat.
Even the Non-Religious Are Easy to Offend
Atheists & Agnostics
Of course the Atheists and Agnostics are outraged too.
The Atheists are pissed at the anonymous painter of a blank, white-washed garage wall in Minesota that depicts, in gory detail, their lack of faith in any higher power while the Agnostics are ready for war over a mixed stain of oil and automatic transmission fluid that could be God, or not.
Cartoon on Cartoon Violence
Fat Albert is currently on a hunger strike to protest a cartoon depicting him as a svelt, healthy man.
It's unknown at this time if any or all of the "Cosby Kids" support him in this, yet another whacky adventure. It is known, however, that their North American tour has been suspended, pending either a successful end to the hunger strike or a return to the 1970's.
In Soviet Russia, Riot Incites You!!
Citizens of the former Soviet Union would be rioting over paintings of an unmustachioed Stalin and Lenin with a wicked Afro, but they have more important things to worry about - like the possibility of an undead Lenin rising from his tomb and going apeshit on the Kremlin, as he said he'd do if Communism ever failed.