Saturday, February 04, 2006

About those cartoons

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. James 3:1

Sometimes, there are no easy answers in life. And a cigar is more than a cigar. Consider the following story. It is essentially a simple, silly “joke” about backgammon that I’ve modified extensively for the purpose of this post.

Mo is walking around those higher planes with Mu.

“Where are you going Mo?”

“I have to meet Jess for a game of backgammon. He is due back shortly from his visit to Mag. Jess is having a ball with those lush-hair foot massages. We are going to play a nice game of backgammon to settle a dispute.”

“What dispute?”

“The handsome devil is cutting in on my turf. So feminine and fashionably androgynous his presence! Smash hit with the Houris. And I tell you Mu, there is a stunning virgin around these parts….Praise be Allah… unbelievably sexy. That’s what the game is all about.”

“Good Luck Mo.

“Thanks Mu!”

A few hours later Mu gets back and there is a heated game on. And terribly raucous. Score is four-four. It looks like there is no way Mo could beat Jess. Not even a double six would save him.

“Give it up Mo. Don’t be such a sore loser,” Jess taunts.

“I’ll throw the dice and you’ll see.”

“Voila, double 19,” shouts out Mo in excitement. “I win the virgin!”

“You SOB,” says Mu, “another miracle just in the nick of time—and all for a piece of cunt!”

“I am leaving,” says Jess disgusted.

“Where are you going?”

“To Mag’s place. I am going to finally do what I should have done eons ago.”

“Me, I am going to go do that virgin now. Nothing like the feel of bloody, tender young flesh on first encounter!”

“Where are you going Mu?”

I don’t know. To see Lot, perhaps, assuming he’ll open the door if those daughters of his are not at it again. If not, Abe then. Maybe he is finally done pimping Sarai.


I can’t be sure, although I suspect at least one person might laugh at one of the characters present and it wouldn’t be me, I assure you.

I am exercising my freedom of speech, aren’t I?

But am I within the bounds of propriety? Civility or decency? Are these considerations a factor whenever we decide to say, write or draw something? Should certain issues not be tackled after a bit of introspection, and thinking? Is the way a certain image presented also not a reflection of who we are and what we’ve become?

Nothing besides disasters of monumental proportion awaits us if this trajectory keeps up.

There are all kinds of different people in this world. You can basically get a sense for the broad outlines of the divides looking a bit more closely at the types of reactions we are witnessing.

Some are genuinely concerned with free speech and with good cause.

Quite a large segment is getting progressively angrier and about to get even more violent given the extent of the ongoing siege of the heartlands and the obvious pressures. And there is that group as well predictably peddling this as a matter of speech when they fully know what they aim to do is contribute to the frenzy of clash of religions and civilizations.

They are becoming even more unapologetic, and shameless about both the past and present.

Look at our past , though, as harbinger of what is to come. The Parthians and Romans managed to fight for centuries as did the Sassanians and Byzantines. Life, then, got even more unbearable for a lot of people with each religious turn within the empires.

And who finally won those wars, anyways?

Remember also that we are all, finally, minorities of one. There are certain boundaries best protected from our passing follies long-term.

And also consider this. Even under a most generous light, the simple accident of birth in a particular geographical boundary or within some culture will not absolve any of us of our responsibilities. Nothing would automatically justify a thoughtless claim to superiority.

It might also be constructive to remember that dwarfs and midgets incapable even of ruling themselves won’t successfully manage that reckless hustle of standing on the shoulders of such giants as Sir William Jones long-term.

The mere illusion of appropriating historical figures or names does not automatically grandeur make. Pretense is never the real thing.

We should all reflect more carefully before proceeding to fiddle daily with those proverbial gates of hell. These unleashed passions, I fear, will inevitably devour us all.

None will be left unscathed.

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:6

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