I won't even tell you what you can do with your cheese danishes


I've got a hunch that the In-toon-fadah is winding down. There was a peaceful demonstration by 300 people in Bangkok, and a planned demo in Jakarta is expected to draw between 2,000 and 5,000 people. It would still be nice if these hundreds and thousands grokked the idea that a cartoon in a privately owned paper in a particular country does not have to be approved by that country's government, but a peaceful protest is good. Increase the peace.

Meanwhile, evidence for the theory that the embassy burnings were as much government setups as popular uprisings continues to trickle in: Lebanese authorities report that half the 174 rioters they've arrested turned out to be Syrians. Meanwhile, a soi-disant Damascus rioter describes how the government greenlighted the attack on the Danish embassy.

Despite the pusillanimous shillyshallying of government officials in the United States and Europe, the message to the protesters, demonstrators, and rioters has been more or less clear: Governments don't (or at least shouldn't) decide what people say with their own natural right to free speech. The lesson for everybody else has been valuable too: Neither the neocons nor the simpering left will be able to feed us any more horseshit about how radical Islamism is limited to a few bad apples. Believers in multiculturalism and believers in the clash of civilization (who are closer to each other philosophically than either wants to admit) got some points too: There are serious philosophical differences at work here, which go beyond politics or civil affairs, and require real (ahem) dialogue.

So all in all I revert to my earlier statement, that the best thing that can happen is for this crisis to go as far as it can, with nobody pussing out.

Since the fanatics are quickly running out of Danish interests to attack anyway, maybe it's time to start focusing on soft targets: No more performances of Hamlet anywhere. All references to the Danish roots of pre-Sartrean existentialism will be removed from textbooks. "The Emperor's New Clothes" is out of the question just for its promotion of immodest dress. And somebody needs to spread the word that Greenland isn't even green, for Allah's sake; some Viking realtor just called it that in the hope of turning it into the next Hot Neighborhood.