Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beyond Irony

It seems unlikely that either the ugliness or the magnitude of ironies surrounding the intentions of the Dove World Outreach Center to turn 9/11 into a Quran-burning ceremony is likely to register with the church's leader, Terry Jones. Thus, we may need to take a page from the French court of Louis XVI, where it was widely recognized that, if one cannot achieve shame and disgrace through truth, one would do better to resort to ridicule. Unfortunately, in this case the source of ridicule may be too dated to have a very strong effect; but it was inspired by the latest BBC News story about Jones. The Web page for this report includes an Associated Press photograph showing Jones standing alongside a series of signs receding into the distance. The first sign says "ISLAM." Behind it a sign says "IS OF THE;" and behind that sign is the single word "DEVIL." The photograph is cropped at the edge of the rear sign, giving the impression that it is the last one. However, I was raised to expect that there would be one remaining sign saying only "BURMA-SHAVE;" and, judging by Jones' display of facial hair in this photograph, I suspect he would be well advised to give more heed to that last sign than to the first three!

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