I haven't written directly about the putative cause of the recent Mohammed-movie mess violence, in large part because it seemed too trivial; the film itself is little more than a live-action Jack Chick tract, painted in broad and sloppy strokes, rather than a serious biopic or critical deconstruction of the religious myth.
...And then the pseudonymous producer turned out to be a Coptic Christian, instead of the nice Jewish boy he'd claimed to be -- and then he turned out to not be a career producer either, having previously worked in the bank-fraud industry. And then, he got a midnight knock on the door: the terms of his probation barred him from, oh, using computers (at least online), or soliciting investors, both of which he certainly appeared to have been doing.
It was that midnight-arrest-in-force -- for the kind of misbehavior that usually calls for two officers, during the day -- that had some bloggers invoking Orwell's 1984 or William Shirer. While cooler heads (Sebastian, Popehat) were pointing out that you give up rights and can be prohibited from specific activities on probation, the timing, nature and publicity of the arrest does give the impression that the manner in which it was done was intended to send a message. "--Intended by whom?" then becomes fertile (though rootless) ground for speculation.
My own speculations went in a different direction, remembering some of the grandiose funding claims made for the film: we're more likely to be watching a real-life version of The Producers than 1984. And just like the move, Max has gotten nabbed before he could catch the plane to Rio.
Fraud is not free speech; it ain't protected. Unfortunately -- and thanks to both an overly-dramatic arrest and the drama some of us have added to it -- that is far too subtle a message for the marching (burning, assaulting...) morons of Mohammed and the Middle East.
In fact, it's hard to find any category in which this entire muddle can't be scored as "lose."
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
7 months ago