People seem to fail to realise that the strength of my videos about Christianity comes from the fact that I know things about Christianity. A lot. I know a LOT about Christianity. I can pull bible quotes and references out of what would appear to some to be thin air, but which is actually a lifetime of exposure to the religion and its text and theology and apologetics. Perhaps the tiny references and citation gags that I insert into my scripts have gone over the head of many of the people who have enjoyed my videos. Trust me, they're in there. It isn't only my brilliant artwork that has made them so uncomfortable for many Christians.
More and more, over the last few years, as Islam has become prominent in the western mind, I've been getting comment after comment from people who think that I ought to just flick that switch that I apparently have in my mind, download a lifetime's intimate experience of the religion of Islam, and make NonStampCollector videos about that religion, instead; complete, presumably, with the same sort of awareness and familiarity that has given my videos about Christianity their strength.
Seriously, in many people's minds, I have a moral obligation to make videos about Islam, and they think that if I have any gaps in my knowledge of Islam, then I have a moral obligation to fill those gaps with research, in my own abundant spare time (the kind of spare time that has allowed me to make, on average, one video per year for the last 4 years, on a topic with which I am already abundantly familiar).
Some commenters can get pretty indignant in their demands that I devote the time between work and my family responsibilities to becoming as familiar with Islam as I am with Christianity (which would likely only take several years, after all), so as to be able to make the videos that I am apparently obliged to make. They DEMAND that I receive the same kind of inspiration, regarding Islam, that have always been the spark of new NSC script ideas. They seem to be demanding that I be walking down the street, pondering some interesting little chestnut of Islamic scripture or lore (as though I'm as likely to be doing that as they themselves are), and come up with an analogous satirical parallel involving various characters from the Qaran which will draw on an enormous number of references to all corners of the faith, allow for all sorts of finicky language jokes, and put the Islamic faithful in a self-reflective corner that might disturb their mental status-quo and commence some sort of re-evaluation of the sorts of apologetics that they've always clung to in mental defense of their faith.
I'll often be called a coward, or more recently, a "regressive", for not having developed the means by which I might be able to make my style of videos about a religion about which I know zero details. (That, after all, shows such a fantastic and thorough understanding of what Harris and Nawaz mean by the term "regressive left". not.)
Close to two years ago, such a comment came in, and I'd like to post a version of my response to it, as it has not received an adequate response from the OP, and sums up my usual response. In fact, I may have given you the link to this blog post because I want you to read this as my response to a comment of your own. (Having said that, though, my response is pretty abrasive, and if you haven't been rude to me then please don't take the rudeness of my response hereunder to apply to you. I mean - look at how the guy opened.)
My response went thus:
You said: "Do something similar about muslims instead you fucking coward."
It was a compelling argument that you made, eloquently stated, and I find myself convinced. I'm going to do it!
However, I'm going to need a great deal of help, because I know next to nothing about the Islamic faith. I'm absolutely incapable of coming up with a snappy 12-minute script filled with references to all corners of their scriptures without your help - in fact beyond the Qaran and the Hadith (whatever that is), neither of which I've ever read, I really don't know enough to even have an idea for a basis of a well-researched script.
So, I suggest that we do a co-write. You're convinced that I need to MAKE these videos, and you also seem convinced that the necessary preparation will be a piece of cake that requires fuck all in terms of effort and time, so I'll assume you're happy to volunteer to be my research assistant. Working together should be a fun adventure! I'm glad to have you on board.
Please get the ball rolling by providing me with a detailed crash course in Islamic beliefs, customs, texts, history, politics, apologetics, and culture that's sufficient for me to be able to start finding little problems out of which to start making up jokes, but short and compelling enough for me to read between all of the other things that I have to do with my time- (keeping in mind that in recent years, between work and family responsibilities, I've only ever had time to make one or two videos per year. Your report had better be good and concise.)
Once you've done that, we can start choosing characters. I don't know any Qaranic characters beyond the prophet and his 9-year-old bride. Do you know any others? How many? Do you know anything about their characteristics and history? Family connections? Roles? Anecdotes that can be ridiculed? Again, since you think it will be so easy for ME to do the necessary research, you won't have any problem volunteering to do it your fucking self.
After that we'll need a scenario into which to couch the action we depict in the script. Should we go contemporaneous, or humorously yank the scenario out of its history and into a completely different context? Give a reason for your decision on this.
We'll need some contradictions and mistakes from the text, in fact I'll need PLENTY to choose from just like I have when it comes to Christianity, so you'd better get to work on that, too. And given that a lot of the "contradictions" that people do see in the Bible simpy aren't contradictions at all, in my opinion, you'll need to give a for-and-against argument on each one that you include so I can be confident that it won't be swatted down by the first muslim listener who hears it.
Oh, and by the way. Think of the pains I go to to make sure there aren't any significant errors of theology or apologetics in my videos. If you go making any mistakes in the research you go doing for this, we're absolutely fucked; you realise that, right? If people who know the religion more than either of us start picking holes in our script or our understanding of the history and traditions we're dealing with, it will all have been for zip fucking squat. You get that, right? This video we're working on needs to be convincing and persuasive to people who have been in the religion for their whole life. An absolute precursor to even having them take any notice of our video is for them to be convinced that we know their religion as well as they do. Otherwise: it is for NOTHING. Your research needs to be 100 percent bullet-proof.
But again, that shouldn't be a problem, right?- you seem to think that I could handle it all on my own, in my spare time, so it ought to be a cinch for you.
If you agree to this, then email me your initial proposal, you fucking coward, and let's get to work.
You stupid, arrogant, ignorant fuck.