Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Drawing Lessons From EDMD

Seven Mohammeds

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day is over.

The ashes of all the American flags have been swept up from the streets of Karachi and Islamabad. The screaming demonstrators have returned to their slums. The fatwas have all been issued. The “Death to America” banners have been stuffed into dumpsters or used as toilet paper.

Pundits are publishing platitudes, right-thinking folk are scowling in disapproval, and Facebook can at last breathe a collective sigh of relief. Ordinary folk can go about their daily routine, knowing that they are completely safe — so long as they never, ever do anything that offends a Muslim.

With almost a year to prepare for the next one, now would be a good time to take stock, to examine the reasons for the phenomenal success of EDMD and consider the possible ways that next year’s version could be made even more successful.

The occasion was a remarkable one, given that it was entirely viral — the MSM only picked up on what was happening after it became too large to ignore. When the media finally did report what was taking place, it was with the predictable focus on how offended Muslims were by our blasphemous behavior — because, you see, any depiction of their prophet is strictly prohibited by Islam (this last assertion is totally false, but that’s a topic for another post).

Molly Norris, the unfortunate woman who set the whole viral EDMD event in motion, did nothing to support the movement once it got started, and everything she could to stop it. It became obvious that at the time she first drew her cartoon she had no idea of its significance — had she really never heard of a “death fatwa”? Or Theo Van Gogh? — and that she was totally clueless about what she had unleashed.

But it was an idea whose time had come, and, thanks to South Park, it seemed to tap into a widespread resentment of Islamic bullying here in the United States. The response was extensive, and although there were no celebrity participants — no Garry Trudeau, no Bill Watterson — not all submissions consisted of crude sketches of a bearded guy in a turban, or anatomically explicit cartoons of Mohammed getting it on with a goat.

EDMD even had a marginal presence in the MSM. One example is mainstream syndicated comic strip, “Over the Hedge”:

Over the Hedge EDMD

To see the punch line, click here.

All in all, it was a day to remember. But how can we help make next year’s EDMD even more memorable?

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

I don’t have any great insights of my own to present, but I’d like to open up a forum here where people can put forward ideas and suggestions about what can be done to make Everybody Draw Mohammed Day 2011 an even greater success. If a light bulb goes on over your head, please feel free to illumine our comments with it, and also make sure you spread it elsewhere — the nature of a viral operation requires that its components appear simultaneously in a number of locations and media.

I’d just like to point out a few factors that helped EDMD take off in such a spectacular fashion:
- - - - - - - - -
1. It emerged from the grassroots and spread upwards.

Ordinary people picked up on the meme once it appeared. “Of course! What a great idea! Why didn’t I think of that?” seemed to be the general sentiment. It’s possible that some people made money from the occasion, but nobody got rich from it. It was a true citizens’ movement that took off and became so large that it gained the attention of the MSM — not to mention that of the legendary hair-trigger Muslim Street.

2. Immediate Muslim anger helped increase the stature of EDMD.

As soon as the meme surfaced, Muslims denounced it. The larger it grew, the more widespread and ominous the reaction. This tells us that putting a burr under Islam’s saddle is definitely the way to go.

3. Social networking sites were paramount.

Without the Facebook group, EDMD would probably have never reached critical mass. But any single site is vulnerable, so multiple instances in multiple venues will always be the most effective strategy.

4. YouTube is essential.

I’m not a video person, so it pains me to say this, but nothing works better than YouTube to make a meme go viral. All those videos that appeared before the day — some of them stunningly professional — were necessary to spread the word. Once again, a single site or service is vulnerable, so multiple instances in multiple locations are necessary when propagating videos.

5. The most successful images are not particularly confrontational.

One of the reasons that Ms. Norris’ idea was so appealing was that it was so obviously harmless. Those who issued death threats against her for drawing a teacup claiming to be Mohammed obviously didn’t understand that they were acting against their own best interests. People who otherwise might have paid no attention couldn’t help but notice that Muslims — skinless people in a sandpaper world, in Zenster’s memorable phrase — were taking deadly offense at something that was as innocuous as a cartoon could possibly be. The irony was lost on Muslims, but not on the rest of us.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Please feel free to add your own ideas and observations to my hastily compiled list. There’s much more that can be said about Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.

One more point worth mentioning concerns the tendency by Muslims and Westerners alike to regard Muslims as devoid of agency.

This attitude consigns the faithful followers of Mohammed to the status of robots. We must not offend them, because they are unable to control themselves, and will react to certain stimuli in as predictable and unalterable a fashion as would a machine. They are not human beings who can exhibit self-awareness and act autonomously. They are drones, and they cannot help themselves. That’s why it is up to us to act in certain ways so as to prevent them from responding violently.

It’s important to reject this assumption overtly.

It’s important to grant that every Muslim has personal agency.

It’s important to treat a Muslim as we would any other human being.

Remember: by launching Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, we gave the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims the opportunity not to be offended.

We showed them the respect they so often demand by treating them as full human beings and allowing them to demonstrate that they — not the kuffar, not the “Zionist Entity”, not the “Great Satan” — are responsible for their actions.

They can laugh along with us if they choose. Surely they can take a joke…?

Or they can ignore us. They can turn up their noses at the foolishness of non-Muslims, and not give us any credibility by paying attention to us.

Or they can take to the streets, burning flags and cars and embassies and killing people.

It’s not up to us.

It really is up to them.

Jabba the Mo

Hat tip for the comic strip: TB.

11 comments:

Zenster said...

They are not human beings who can exhibit self-awareness and act autonomously.

In due time Muslims will learn well enough to sorely regret ever having so thoroughly cultivated the image of being without agency. A few more atrocities and it will be far too easy for many people to view Muslims as being equal parts inhuman and inhumane.

Woe is the day for Islam when we kufr are finally convinced that Muslims are not human.

It’s not up to us.

It really is up to them.


As it is with ending terrorism. Muslims really, really want to end terrorism themselves. Should they be so foolish as to leave the task entirely to us unbelievers, those Muslims who manage to survive will wonder why they were ever so idiotic as to pass up the opportunity to do it on their own.

costin said...

They are not human beings who can exhibit self-awareness and act autonomously.

This is the sort of elitist/lefitst arogance that views regular people as something less than themselves, and the way the world works is influenced only by what they, the "elites", think should happen. Doenst matter a bit what the poor redneck thinks about how his government should be and do, because he is not fully human (, or more than human, like they are), they cannot be held reponsible for what they think, so they must be ignored. Ignoring them serves their purpuse, so the way to act is to ignore them.

With muslims its a little different, but not all that different. They are also less than human, so they can not be held responsible for what they do or think, but they must be minded in the way we/they(the elites) act, because by doing so the purpose of the elites is served.. the weakening of the west.

This all comes from the fact that some a** holes that make the rules think that they are more disurving of being called humans than others. The others are just drones in their view, but only if they would understand that they are the drones. Both human and drones, and the human part makes the responsable.


I expect that the EDMD will transform in something very different next year, and I hope it doesnt go uder, but it turns into the real thing..making the MSM really ask themselves questions about the self censorchip and there will be open talk about the nature of Mohammed..or something of that sort :)

Axel T said...

The bottom line is that the principal locus of the event was the Facebook page...and it was shut down. Other facebook groups related to it have been deleted. Apparently Facebook is deleting accounts of many of those who contributed.

Then the next fact is that numerous other blogs and sites specific to the day were also deleted. One was replaced by a page that said "nothing" and had lists of comments from pro-Islam mouthpieces.

Curiously, none of the Islamo-critical sites I visit ...here or Jihadwatch for example, seem to have even mentioned these facts.

What EDMD REALLY demonstrated was the limitations of the internet as a medium of dissent and the power of those unaccountable individuals and bodies who control it. Im afraid I do not read the outconme as being as positive as do others. It is quite clear that by next year it may even prove impossible to mount a re-run.

If it is going to happen, some pretty powerful sponsors will need to be found. And by that I dont mean financially or institutionally powerful, but powerful on the internet. There will need to be dedicated multiple and multiply redundant web-sites on servers operated by such sponsors, who are in a corporate position of security and independence that will prevent them being shut down.

As the internet is 99.9% about money (99% of that generated by porn ) and as it is clear that noone "in business" ever wants to risk upsetting a Muslim, I think the chances of achieving such a secure position are slim to zero.

At the end of the day, the internet has a place, but as a tool of dissent it is incredibly circumscribed. What I take from EDMD is the bleak suspicion that it is only a matter of time before sites like this one, or Jihadwatch, are themselves shut down or blocked, or crippled by various service provision curtailments.

So, really, the internet isnt such a revolutionary tool after all. Things change but things remain the same. The street is steel the only reliable medium of revolution and of protest: as our "friends" in Pakistan so clearly demonstrated. That, I am afraid, is the ultimate lesson of EDMD: they have won again.

Baron Bodissey said...

Axel T --

Good to hear your upbeat, encouraging observations!

You didn't see any of those things you referred to here because I'd never heard of them before you mentioned them. Can you cite sources?

Yes, our blog goes unmolested because of our laughably small traffic. But Jihad Watch is a much larger operation. So is Politically Incorrect. And there are other sites -- not specifically counterjihad -- such as Rense or Infowars, whose traffic is IMMENSE.

Given what you just said, why are they still in business?

Axel T said...

Baron,

Re Facebook Im surprised you didnt know the EDMD page was shut down. It was shut down ON THE DAY. Does this mean folks have been blissfully unaware of this? Just go there and see for yourself. Ive just had a look for the other sites that previously came up on Google under "draw muhammad". One has been restored. But others have now dissapeared without trace, including www.everybodydrawmuhammadday.com and http://everybodydrawmohammedday.wordpress.com/ Go there, see for yourself, it says "nothing".

http://everybodydrawmohammedday.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/where-did-you-go-my-little-baby/

The fact we have such websites as yours at present isnt in itself proof that we will in the future.
I think its a matter of time. Its like we are in a quicksand of Dhimmitude that is rising slowly to engulf everything.

Sorry if I sound depressing, but I can only say what I think is true. I hope Im wrong about it. Maybe my bleak outlook is because I live in a PC part of Britain. Here, you have to engage in a weird verbal ritual dance to establish even what close friends will think before daring to say anything remotely critical of Islam. Fine, we talk a good one online. But online isnt reality. In reality, life in Britain is already totally sewn up by Islam. And its maintained under force of law administered by the police.

Its also that fact that the internet isnt reality that concerns me more widely. Ultimately, nothing will change until people speak out, draw, act, protest etc in the real world. I sometimes fear that dissenting online is a kind of safety valve that vents pressure and merely leads to a catharsized lack of drive to resist in reality.

Baron Bodissey said...

Axel T --

Of course I'm aware that the Facebook site was down for a while. But it came back up, and the last time I heard, it was up, with more than 120,000 members.

I don't have Facebook, so I don't look for myself. Can anyone tell me if it is still up?

In any case, this underlines one of my main points: the need for multiple sites on multiple hosts in multiple media. Never rely on any particular site being available. DDOS attacks, hacking, government action, lawsuits, and the cowardice of the provider -- all of those are to be expected.

Rule #1: Viruses must replicate.

Baron Bodissey said...

Axel T --

As for your other examples of sites that were shut down -- I believe them. But there were a lot of EDMD sites. What percentage of them were shut down?

What was the total number, and how many of those are no longer in business?

Answers to those questions will help us determine how successful the repression has been.

Sean O'Brian said...

Blogs that are shut down could be hosted from another country:

Iceland plans future as global haven for freedom of speech

Axel T said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Baron Bodissey said...

Axel --

Please refrain from obscenities in our comments. Use asterisks if the word in question is otherwise unavoidable.

---

Axel T said...
I just wrote a long reply. But its gone in the ether. [redacted] Ill have to write the whole [redacted] thing again later. In the meantime, just go to the EDMD Facebook page

link

Then search "draw muhammad" on Google and take a look at the kind of results you get. Not encouraging.

NorseAlchemist said...

Ah, such is the fun of the internet. Soon there will be epic battles even greater than this one on the great invention of Al Gore.

Don't worry about the porn. According to Obama, the internet shall no longer be for porn.

Wonder if Anon will pause their fight against the church of happyology and turn on Islam anytime soon.