Ivan Pavlov trained some dogs to look for food by ringing a bell, blowing whistles, and other actions. The dogs got so used to food being served at Pavlov’s signal that they would start to salivate as soon as the signal happened. They had been well trained.

And the western media has also been well trained, but not to drool at the ring of a bell. Instead, the media has been trained to not give offense to brittle Islam. And the media has been so well trained to not give offense that they will silence themselves preemptively. The latest example of the media kowtowing to radial and brittle Islam comes at the expense of Berkeley Breathed and his Sunday cartoon, “Opus.” FoxNews describes the situation in an article posted August 27th, 2007.

A popular comic strip that poked fun at the Rev. Jerry Falwell without incident one week ago was deemed too controversial to run over the weekend because this time it took a humorous swipe at Muslim fundamentalists.

The Washington Post and several other newspapers around the country did not run Sunday’s installment of Berkeley Breathed’s “Opus,” in which the spiritual fad-seeking character Lola Granola appears in a headscarf and explains to her boyfriend, Steve, why she wants to become a radical Islamist.

The installment did not appear in the Post’s print version, but it ran on WashingtonPost.com and Salon.com. The same will hold true for the upcoming Sept. 2 strip, which is a continuation of the plotline.

Breathed managed to show the difference between the media’s response to Christians and Muslims in a 7 day period. His cartoon making fun of now-dead Rev. Falwell ran without riot, but the cartoon poking fun of radical Islam scheduled for that next Sunday caused the salivating media to pull the cartoon and preemptively apologize.

Way to assert your freedom of speech, guys!

In other news about brittle Islam, the U.S. military apologized for distributing soccer balls with the flags from many nations on them. And why did they need to apologize? They made the horrible mistake of including Saudi Arabia’s flag and its inscription of the name of Allah. Oh, the horror! Michelle Malkin calls Islam the Religion of Perpetual Outrage, and for good reason.

As we’ve learned from Rushdie Rage, MoCartoon Rage, Burger King Ice Cream Cone Rage, Koran Flushing Rage, Valentine’s Day Rage, Veil Rage, Pope Rage, Fallaci Rage, Miss World Pageant Rage, and Rushdie Knighthood Rage, they’re pretty damned “sensitive” (read: ready to riot) about everything.

Many people say Islam is the “Religion of Peace,” but I can’t help but believe it is the “Religion of Pissed.”

UPDATE (8/30/2007 11:48:48 AM): Hehehe. Cox and Forkum do an excellent job with a cartoon they title “Opus Akbar.”

Opus Akbar