Here’s a tech note that will, as all tech notes do, almost immediately turn into a Friday night open thread.
I’ve gotten several complaints about the LGF front page crashing in the Opera browser, or taking forever to load if it doesn’t crash.
If you’re still having trouble in Opera, please let me know by posting a comment or using our Contact form (in the left sidebar). I’ve tested both Mac and PC versions here at LGF HQ and they pass with flying colors.
$(document).ready() function, which speeds things up significantly.)
In the never-ending search for a faster loading web page, I’m pleased to announce that more than 440K has been trimmed out of LGF’s front page today, and loading that bad boy should be much snappier now.
I’m using the AddThis service to generate those buttons; there may be a way to avoid the ridiculous overhead by using Google +1 directly. But for now I’ve disabled those buttons on the front page. They’re still available on individual articles, and on LGF Pages (where only one 44K instance loads).
Police in Berlin are on high alert for tomorrow’s debut of Mozart’s Idomeneo, fearing an outbreak of violence from the Religion of Peace™: ‘Headless opera’ puts police on alert.
The Associated Press attributes this threat of violence to “religious sensibility.”
BERLIN - Audience members at Monday’s Deutsche Oper production of Mozart’s “Idomeneo” will be kindly asked to empty their pockets of all metal objects. And they should be prepared to leave — quickly — in case of a bomb alert.
The Austrian musical genius born 250 years ago was noted for an impish sense of humor and some directors take huge liberties with their interpretations of operas. But the security measures for the performance, which include electronic screening of opera goers and evacuation precautions, are not part of the plot.
It’s a case of art meeting religious sensibility — and a decision that the show must go on, despite concerns that the production, featuring the severed head of the Prophet Muhammad, could prompt violence.
The latest web edition of Newsweek has an article by “moderate Muslim” Akbar Ahmed on the cancellation of a Mozart opera out of fear of violence from the Religion of Peace™. He calls this fear “sensitivity.”
In this instance, “moderate Muslim” appears to mean: the one who shows up after the infidel surrenders, and tells him how smart and sensitive he was to comply with the killers’ demands: Mozart and Muslims: What Have We Learned? (Hat tip: ellum.)
Although I totally support free speech and freedom of expression, and have been saying so publicly, all of us need to be sensitive to the culture and traditions of other faiths. I am not talking of a purely academic or idealistic discussion but the possibility of people losing their lives as a result of some perceived attack on faith made across the world. I believe that the lives lost and the properties destroyed—including mosques and churches—after the Danish cartoons controversy erupted could have been avoided had there been people of greater wisdom and compassion at the start of the crisis.
Ahmed doesn’t specify what these “people of greater wisdom and compassion” would have done if they had been around at the start of the cartoon jihad, but I don’t think he means they would have urged Muslims to show tolerance.
Here’s how he describes the Islamic death sentence against Salman Rushdie, which forced Rushdie into hiding for many years and resulted in the murders of several people involved in publishing or translating his book.
The first crisis that acted as a catalyst in the context of our discussion was that of Salman Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses.” It appears that we did not learn any lessons from that controversy. The West continued to insist on freedom of expression and the Muslims continued to insist on their right to protest when the central figure of their religion, that is, the Prophet of Islam, was under attack. Lives were lost and property damaged across the world. From the Salman Rushdie controversy to that generated by the pope’s remarks, we have seen relations between the West and the Muslim world steadily deteriorating.
Muslim “right to protest” in this case obviously includes violence and murder, but notice Ahmed’s passive voice when describing the heinous acts that followed the publication of Rushdie’s novel: “lives were lost and property damaged,” and everyone is equally to blame.
He concludes this piece of smooth PR with a call to Muslims to “reciprocate”—and praises the German opera house managers for being “bold” enough to capitulate to the fear of Islamic violence. A masterpiece of turnspeak.
It is time for Muslims to reciprocate these gestures. As a Muslim committed to interfaith dialogue, I would appeal to the president of Iran not to make provocative remarks about the Holocaust nor to threaten the Jewish population with extermination. It is time for all of us to think about the boldness of the theater owners in Germany. They did, after all, stop a production of Mozart, the quintessential iconic Germanic figure, in order to express their belief in the dialogue of and understanding between civilizations.
A Berlin opera house’s decision to preemptively cancel a Mozart opera out of fear of the Religion of Peace™ has triggered outrage in Europe: Fear of offending Islam spurs hot debate in Europe.
The controversy centered on a scene in which King Idomeneo is shown on stage with the severed heads of Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad and the sea god Poseidon.
“Here we go again. It’s like deja vu…This is exactly the kind of self-censorship I and my newspaper have been warning against,” said Flemming Rose, culture editor of Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten paper, which met a storm of Muslim protest after publishing satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad last year.
He said bowing to fears of a violent Muslim reaction would only worsen the problem: “You play into the hands of the radicals. You are telling them: your tactics are working. This is a victory for the radicals. It’s weakening the moderate Muslims who are our allies in this battle of ideas.” …
Berlin security officials had warned that staging the opera “Idomeneo” would pose an “incalculable security risk.”
The decision to cancel the production even before any protests had materialized was singled out for criticism. “To do it in advance of any actual protest I think invokes the next protest, because the radicals in any community are aided and abetted by that,” said Lisa Appignanesi, a novelist and deputy president of the writers’ group PEN in England. “We don’t want to end up in a situation where we don’t dare to speak up. What we do not want is a society where one is constantly fearful about what the people holding the bombs or the guns might say.”
European countries, rocked by a series of events including Islamist bombings in Madrid and London and widespread rioting in French immigrant communities last year, are struggling to find better ways of integrating their Muslim minorities.
UPDATE at 9/27/06 2:09:40 pm:
Chancellor Angela Merkel warns against bowing to fear of Muslim violence.
BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans on Wednesday not to bow to fears of Islamic violence after a Berlin opera house canceled a Mozart work over concerns some scenes could enrage Muslims and pose a security risk.
“I think the cancellation was a mistake. I think self-censorship does not help us against people who want to practise violence in the name of Islam,” she told reporters. “It makes no sense to retreat.”