May The Farce Be With You

Sometimes I want to give the internet a hug:

Tommy Robinson took a few seconds on Sunday evening to make an observation about Twitter’s homepage. “Welcome to twitter homepage has a picture of a mosque,” he wrote. “What a joke#creepingsharia.” Of course, Robinson isn’t just any old tweeter, but the co-founder of the English Defence League, a far-right protest group. Tweet posted, Robinson no doubt wandered off to do other Sunday evening things; maybe plan a rally or two.


In less than 24 hours, #creepingsharia was trending, but what could have become a feed for EDL members and sympathisers to display their hard-hitting “evidence” of the rampant Islamisation of Britain, instead attracted the nimble fingers of sensible and funny tweeters, wittily but firmly telling Robinson and others of his ilk where to shove their ill-informed views.

From the mind of @microcuts_22: “I skipped breakfast this morning. Clearly fasting subconsciously. #CreepingSharia” and from @knownasbowman: “Muslamic bloke walked past on tiptoes #creepingsharia.” From @LorrieHearts came: “Got rained on the other day, so pulled my scarf up over my head before realising that I’d become a victim of #creepingsharia.” Each one a gentle squeeze of the hand, a tiny bit of silliness to ward off the insanity, and a quiet rebuke to the dangerous rhetoric being spouted by organisations like the EDL.

The cherry on this sundae? The image which prompted Robinson’s original Tweet was not of a mosque but India’s famed Taj Mahal. Woopsies.

I got a big laugh out of the #creepingsharia hashtag. Sometimes we forget that the ignorant exremists of the conservative fringe are not unique to the U.S. but are an international phenomenon. The trial of Norwegian murderer Anders Behring Breivik is a reminder of how dangerous this hatred is: Breivik claims his victims were not innocent teenagers, no, “these were young people who worked to actively uphold multicultural values,”he told the court. That was their crime, in his twisted mind.

So yes, I realize this is serious business, and I’m not trying to trivialize it. But sometimes the best offense is a liberal helping of ridicule. Applied generously and frequently, humor is the most effective antidote to fear I know. It’s hard to be scared of a boogeyman when everyone is pointing and laughing at the folks hollering about “creeping sharia.” Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are effective neutralizers of right-wing messaging, but we’re all just as clever as those guys, right?

And good grief, it’s not like the right wing nutballs aren’t giving us plenty of material, folks. Victoria Jackson’s best comedy has been in her new self-appointed role as “citizen journalist.”Here she is tiptoeing around the Murfreesboro, TN Islamic Center yesterday, peering in windows and looking for something — anything — scary. “It says take your shoes off and put them in the racks,” she reports. Oooh! Creeping Sharia indeed. Jackson was never this funny on SNL, folks.

So my challenge to everyone on the left this week is to use their creative energies for a little coordinated, well-executed mockery. Make ’em laugh — it’s better than crying.

6 thoughts on “May The Farce Be With You

  1. Even funnier is that the conservative fringe so lacks an understanding of sarcasm and satire, they’ll believe those joke #creepingsharia incidents are real and will use them as further proof of creeping sharia.
    Well, not funny at all, really. More scary and pathetic. :-/

  2. i would have thought the tallibornagains would love sharia. they have their own anti-woman thing going on. puritaria.

  3. I always thought Victoria Jackson’s comedic genius resided in her spot-on portrayal of the stereotypical dumb blonde. It was quite a shock when I came to realize she was the actual embodiment of the stereotypical dumb blonde.
    Not sure of this is irony or, in some very small way, tragedy.

  4. I get the humor and love that the sane folk hijacked the #creepingsharia. I’m also a little confused.
    When I go to the image looks like a video cam or smartphone with a camera taking a picture of what is up on stage. So I played around with it by using the pull-down to change the language (and confirming this by going back to some previously tried languages).
    The images are the one described above of a camera device, the Taj Mahal, and a high-rise urban landscape.
    The questionable image has an ornate building in the background that very well could be the Taj Mahal. In the foreground are some guys playing cricket (at least they have bats that appear more like paddles). That’s right, the English game. Wouldn’t the EDL know that India used to be part of the British Empire? Wouldn’t the EDL be in favor of world cricketization? This picture came up for languages including
    Camera at a concert photo came up for English,Magyar
    Urban Landscape languages include Hebrew, Turkish, Dansk, Norwegian, German and Italian.
    Cricket at the Taj includes Filipino, Spanish…
    After a few dozen changes, the page started just giving me the cricket image over and over. Before that, I couldn’t really see any reason why one language would be connected with a particular picture (for example, Sweedish gave the high rise and Finnish gave the cricket photo). My initial thought was to call it random, but for the first few dozen tries, the same picture came up with the same language. So I don’t think I’ve done enough to say that the language and photo care connected or if the photos that come up are random.

  5. Besides seeing the humor that the EDL guy’s observation appears to both get a picture for a language other than English and even more, assuming Twitter hasn’t changed things on this yet, the EDL guy doesn’t recognize cricket and that India has an association with England:
    On a much more serious note, was just listening to a news report on the “testimony” of Breivik. (Note: the Norwegian courts allowed reporters in but has forbidden publication of his testimony as the testimony was guaranteed to include inflammatory statements – and publication could be a platform for spreading his beliefs). From yesterday’s news, I learned that he was declaring his killing of almost 80 people, including kids at a camp, an act of self-defense. He also apparently thinks it is important that he be found sane.
    From today’s synopsis they are reporting that he made a long statement which apparently includes that the Marxist, foreigners, etc. are destroying the country from within.
    In short, what I’m hearing are statements that would be perfectly “at home” with the USA political right as well as White Supremicist groups (although the news reports so far indicate that he worked alone.) So who fits the profile of a terrorist the most – someone from outside or from inside the WASP?

  6. The Guardian story has since been updated to point out that “the picture on the Twitter homepage is in fact the Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman, and not the Taj Mahal.”
    Obviously, the Muslims got to the Guardian too.

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