Sunday, April 16, 2006

More cartoon fun!

Trouble is a-brewin' in Italy. Not because Berlusconi won't shift his bottom off the chair of state out into the cold where it might get prosecuted. Nope. It's showtime again for the Big M and his devoted and offended followers.

Another cartoon. This one was published by the Italian Catholic magazine Studi Cattolici (Catholic Studies), linked unofficially to Opus Dei. The cartoon shows Dante and Virgil in Hell surrounded by flames and devils with tridents. Dante asks his guide, "That one split in half from head to tail, is it Mohamad?" "Yes", replies Virgil, "because he has split society in two. And that one with slumped shoulders is Italian policy towards Islam."

It is based on a scene in Canto XXVIII, 22–63, of the Divine Comedy which shows Mohamad in the 8th Circle, Bolgia 9 condemned for swowing 'dissension'.

The editor of Studi Cattolici, Cesare Cavalleri, is unapologetic, sying that "a politically incorrect cartoon every now and then is good. I just hope that publishing this cartoon does not provoke attacks because if that happened, it would only confirm the idiotic stance of Islam."

The Consulta islamica (a sort of 'representative' body set up by the Ministry of the Interior) responds with an Italian saying: The mother of cretins is always expecting. Father Justo Lacunza Balda, rector of the Pontifical Institute of Arabic Studies, laments, "This is not the Christian spirit. And to do it during Holy Week!"

Cavalleri's spiritual superiors in Opus Dei, meanwhile, are also taking up the 'slumped shoulders' stance. The spokesman for Opus Dei, Giuseppe Corigliano, evoked Sant'EscrivĂ  (founder of the movement), who, he said, "would have given his life to protect the religious liberty of others."

So far there have been no calls for demonstrations, but we know that reaction times in these affairs are unpredictable and that righteous anger sometimes needs months to construct. Wait and see.

The article is in Italian.

Update (16.21)

It all goes exactly as per the standard paradigm. The editor of Studi Cattolici, Cesare Cavalleri, has apologised. He's gone even further and taken grovelling to a new low. To wit:

It was interpreted as anti-Islamic. If anything, it signals a crisis of identity in Western culture.
Excuse me. I need to dialogue with the porcelain in the bathroom.

Brief announcement from ANSA in Italian.

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