Posted by: ilanasmith | February 16, 2006

Laughter Spoils a Person’s Aim

There’s a great early episode of The West Wing where the president’s doctor is killed by some terrorists, and in retribution, he wants to blow the crap out of some country.  After Leo and the Joint Chiefs formulate such a plan and explain the destruction and death, Bartlet comes back around to a more balanced retaliation, a "proportional response".  There’s a lot of weighty stuff about it being the responsibility of a super-power to not act like the neighbourhood bully etc which I won’t go into because it will send me off on a long, divergent, depressing tangent.
I was reminded of the concept of proportional response when I read that an Iranian newspaper is running a competition for the best Holocaust cartoons.  Offensive, yes.  But proportional.  Setting fire to Danish embassies?  Not so much.
Of course, the story becomes particularly amusing with the news out of Israel – a bunch of cartoonists are setting out to create anti-Semitic cartoons that are better than the Iranian ones.  The ringleader says “We’ll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published! No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!”

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