Monday, February 27, 2006

Much Ado About Nothing

In the latest incident of alarming insensitivities in the publishing world, a mid-western daily newspaper has drawn the ire of atheists worldwide with the adjacent "cartoon." While some may see nothing but an empty box, regular readers of the "Daily Disturber" newspaper became suspicious that the ominous white space was just the latest in a series of off-color jibes at the figures of various religions. The Disturber's cartoon the day before portrayed a cosmic chef spitting in to a bowl of primordial soup.
The controversial blank cartoon drew immediate reponses from the local atheistic community. Armed with high-resolution scanners and email, members of the local chapter of ANGER (Atheists Not Getting Enough Respect) sent flawless digital copies of the offending image via email to their godless brethren worldwide, fanning the flames of global outrage.
Asked what, in particular, she found most offensive about the cartoon, local atheist Mary Fornow answered: "Well, it's not so much an issue of what IS in the cartoon, it's more about what's NOT there. Sometimes, as is clearly intended here, silence speaks volumes. I mean, everyone knows that atheists don't believe that there even is a god, so this picture of nothing is obviously poking fun at us, and our most sacred object of (non) worship."
The editor of the Daily Disturber, Mr. Lance Disturber, was immediately questioned as to whether the blank box was intended as commentary on atheism. His response was non-commital: "A blank white space can be perceived in many ways. People are going to see what they want to see. Perhaps it was just a printing error. Maybe our printer ran low on toner?"
Gene Chance, president of the group Mid-Western Atheistic Humans Against Hatred All-over (MWAHAHA), doesn't find that answer satisfactory. "Who's he (Mr. Disturbed) trying to kid? The cartoon was surrounded by stories of the Prophet Muhammad situation, and biographies of famous atheists. Context is everything. Just because we athiests don't believe in God, it doesn't mean we're stupid."
Not everyone agrees with Mr. Chance. Even among fellow disbelievers, more moderate atheists are calling for calm and measured reactions. Les Newdoh is one of this camp. "Sure, the piece is in poor taste, but let's use this as an opportunity to show the world what we're all about. Just as Christians strive to emulate their Christ, and Muslims try to be like Muhammad, let us atheists respond as we believe our (non) creator would - by doing nothing at all."
As with the recent prophet Muhammad cartoon response, the blank box brought it's share of extremist reactions. Said Mr. Stan Mistenay, founder of GLAD (God Lovers Are Dangerous) : "This cartoon is an absolute outrage. Mr. Disturber and his entire staff should burn in ...well, I don't know, SOMEWHERE! How can any publisher, knowing what kind of dangerous worldwide reactions we've seen with the whole Muhammad thingy, willingly offend such a growing segment of the population? It's unethical, and society ought to hold that editor accountable. Deplorable actions like his make me so angry, I almost wish I believed in God, so I could pray that curses would be rained down upon his head."

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