Sunday, September 16, 2012

We Are All Puppets

I wrote recently of the U.S. politics of the U.S. embassy attacks, but what of the protestors who are involved? That is an uglier picture of fervent religious adherents who have been so easily manipulated into abandoning their principles and doing harmful and self-defeating actions. Or as Sarah Harper more eloquently puts it at Pissed Off Woman, “Dear Muslim Film Protestors: You’re Acting Like Idiots. Stop it.”

It is easy to pick out people acting like puppets when they are strangers at a distance, but we are all puppets more readily than we would like to admit. In America, countless people watching TV edits of the protests feel compelled to complain about how easily Islam can turn evil. These people, friends of mine in their armchairs, are puppets just as surely as the people in the street. The more we learn about the mysterious movie that is the nominal target of protests in seven countries (or probably more), the more we find that this whole confrontation has been scripted in advance. Even the reactions of politicians and of bloggers like me were anticipated and planned for — not entirely, but to an extent that dismays me to think about.

Online I see puppets saying, “At least I live in a free country!” If you are a puppet proclaiming your independence on cue, that is one form of freedom. If you refuse to be a puppet, that is a step up. Refuse to be a puppet.