Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Islamic Cartoons?

I totally get that idolatry often leads to problems, and a smart code might exclude depictions of X because all too often, that's led to ineradicable bugs.

However, in mythological space, it's difficult to erase all hint of The Prophet (whomever that may be) from some heroic fable or epic. The White Monkey (Ramayana) is bound to resemble this or that celebrity of the day.

Someone will take offense. Someone will say it's really a subtle dig at some high holiness. Followers get riled, stones get thrown, and we're off: religion at work, trashing your world.

Do any within Islam have authority to debate the consequences of never allowing feature length cartoons that tell the story, of a man, of his life? Mainstream Christianity is overflowing with depictions, but gives the Islamic saints scant treatment.

Non-Islamic theologians read Islamic literature, and necessarily bring their imaginations to bear. It's just about impossible to read about any historical figure, without conjuring some kind of image.

So why not a cartoon?

I'm not talking about disrespectful. I'm talking about the work of religious teachers, aiming at propagating Islam for generations to come. Have they forever denied themselves this tool of animation? Maybe. I'm not qualified to say, one way or the other.

Related reading:
Muhammad on museum walls by Christopher Reynolds, LA Times, Feb 17, 2006, page E1