The Conversation

Dawdling versus outrage

In response to Dawdling Over Doodles:

I'm not sure I can see how taking notice of Google's decision to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day on Easter constitutes an outbreak of "Boy Who Cried Wolf" syndrome that will weaken the case for defending religious liberty, Lisa, particularly since I'm not aware of anyone demanding legal action against Google.  For that matter, I don't even see much call for organized boycotts, just a few people here and there grumbling that they'll be taking their search queries to Bing from now on.  Are those people supposed to shut up and remain loyal Googlers, in the interests of not rocking the boat while the big guns of religious liberty are firing broadsides?

What level of outrage is required for "dawdling?"  A few of us took note of Google's decision (which, despite early theories that they'd throw up something harmlessly Easter-ish later, was still giving us the beatified vision of Chavez when I checked again at 7:30 PM on Sunday.)  Were the only acceptable choices of response silent acquiescence, or fiery outrage?

Christians (a group I defend more strongly than I belong to) are noted for their near-total absence of "outrage."  But every time they raise even mild objections to some insult or aggression, they're portrayed as neo-fascist fanatics.  Meanwhile, certain other groups, both religious and secular, slam the outrage meter to 11 at the first hint of insult, and aggressively confuse mere disagreement with offense.  

That seems to have worked out quite well for the gay marriage movement, hasn't it?  For years they've been insisting that even the most measured and rational disagreement with their cause is equivalent to unspeakable hatred.  Their issue is fundamentally linked to the people who espouse it; dissent from the issue equals hatred of the people.  They're not shy about attacking the livelihood of transgressors through boycotts and calls for loss of employment.  They don't seem worried about crying wolf, do they?

I'm not advocating other groups indulge in the wholesale manufacture of outrage, to compete in some sort of hyper-sensitivity arms race.  On the contrary, we've got more than enough of that going on already.  But I can't help noticing that squeaky wheels are getting all the grease these days.  

Google is perfectly free to run any sort of doodle they want on Easter, and the people they wanted to slight are equally free to confirm that their mission was accomplished.  They could have put up alternating doodles of Chavez, candy-dispensing bunny rabbits, Christian symbolism, Jewish symbolism, and anything else that struck their fancy.  They could have run no doodle at all.  But what they did on Easter Sunday was deliberate, and while it had nothing to do with religious liberty, it's not out of bounds to note that it has something to do with respect.


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