I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Okay. I'm going to say it:

Now...besides my dislike of any fundamentalist religion of any kind (including my own) I truly do not care what religion you are, and am happy you've found a comforting ritual that reaffirms your existence, and (hopefully) comforts you with the possibility that death isn't the end, gives you something to look forward to, and instills in you the lesson that it's good to be nice to people, and help the poor, elderly and sick and to teach the children of the world. You want to eat dead babies and smear poop on yourself? Fine, as long as you have the baby's parent's permission and you're not doing it in my house, knock yourself out. You want to hump fire hydrants while playing the lyre? Have at it, and let me watch, because that would be funny. If you want to tell me what to do, because that's what your religion dictates, that's where I draw the line...piss off and leave me alone. You get to live your life, and if you don't want to do something, fine. I don't make you do my stuff, so vice-versa.

And let's everyone stop getting so touchy and offended about things that, when one thinks about them, really aren't such a big deal, alright? Did they insult your mom? No? Then move on. Somebody drew a nasty picture? Chalk 'em up to being an asshole...move on. A picture (or several pictures) does not warrant burning down buildings, killing people and blowing things up. Bombing places because a Danish person drew a picture of a man with a bomb on his head...well it seems to feed into and justify the underlying message behind the cartoon that got you started, now doesn't it?

Yes. I know. You don't believe in depictions of the human form, because you're worried it'll lead to idolatry. (We're not allowed to have idols either, but apparently we can draw a picture of Mom and Dad without being compelled to bow down to it...I guess that's just one of the things that makes the Jews really special...) For that reason, you have created some truly amazing works of art, circumventing that problem, and leaving the world with breathtaking creations. El Catedral de Cordoba, built in 784, with golden and jewel encrusted writing? Stunning. My pictures don't do it justice. La Alhambra in Granada? A spiritual place.

But things you hold sacred, other people don't. And they hold things sacred that you don't. For example, I don't hold blowing up innocent people sacred, some of you do, most of you don't. And that's just life. And anything a select few people do to try to impose a narrow and strict religious guideline on the rest of the world, probably isn't going to endear them to anyone... it's just probably going to perpetuate even more stereotypes of violence, lawlessness, barbaric-unthinking, and truly medieval behavior. The expression "a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel" is true. We all have different value systems, and we all get frustrated sometimes, and we all get offended sometimes. But when we get offended, the answer isn't to light trees on fire and stone people to death. I mean, if it were 1200, fine, yeah, stone away. But it's not 1200 anymore, I really hate to break it to you, but that boat has sailed. And I'm not inviting you to wreak any violence on anyone, by any method at all...not fair twisting my words into "Instead of stoning...Lasering," no, I'm advocating peacible expressions of frustration... And while I'm on the subject of frustration about depictions of religious icons...the answer is also not "THIS IS ISRAEL'S FAULT" or "THIS IS ALL THE UNITED STATES' FAULT!" or "THIS IS ALL DENMARK'S FAULT!" Know whose fault it is?


I'm giving you that knowing, eyebrows-raised look for a reason. Don't make me get out my pointing finger...


It's your fault.

Sorry. Someone had to say it. I mean, think about it. How are you reacting to a cartoon? See what you're doing? Do you see ANY parallels with this behavior of yours right now, and the fact that the cartoon was drawn in the first place?

Look at those Swiss. You know, people from one of those delicious dairy-rich countries that you're probably now boycotting because they speak a language that derives from the common Germanic linguistic heritage from which Danish sprouts... The Swiss don't behave like this. And does anyone hate the Swiss? No. Does anyone draw mean cartoons about the Swiss? No. It's an endless CYCLE, people! Behave nicely, and people won't treat you meanly, and they won't draw nasty pictures about you. Jesus once said something about Turning the Other Cheek. And something about slapping...and... feet washing... and a fish dinner, and I believe he also said "Woman, your fine ointment, brand new and expensive should have been saved for the poor! Why has it been wasted, we could have raised maybe three hundred silver pieces or more. People who are hungry, people who are starving, they matter more that your hands and feet!" He also wrote the 13th Commandment (the eleventh and twelfth, fourteenth and fifteenth were tragically lost when Moses dropped that extra tablet, and it was only the archaeological exploits of Mel Brooks that unearthed the 13th Comandment, surviving as a shard that hadn't been pulverized in the Great Idol Mosh-Fest of the Golden Calf of 3,500 B.C. And how was Jesus alive 1,500 years before he was born? Because he was Jesus, Okay? Miracles n' shit? Stop asking questions.) that spruce trees and evergreen trees must die during the months of November and December, only to be placed in houses for three weeks and then thrown away... I don't really understand it all, but I accept it.

Does it harm me individually? Probably. I mean, millions of trees are killed every year so they can drop pine needles on the carpet, clogging vacuum cleaners up everywhere, which in turn catch on fire, causing house fires, making the fire department respond to put out the fires, and in turn driving up the property taxes in my neighborhood to pay for said fire departments to put out said fires caused by smouldering vacuum cleaners, which have aspirated on pine needles because Jesus told all of his followers to kill some trees in November and December. IN ADDITION, the quality of my air is reduced, and greenhouse gasses are created, because there are less trees around to absorb all of the carbon dioxide produced from 1) the burning houses and 2) the large diesel-burning fire engines and ambulances that respond to the scene. So, I'm gonna die of cancer, at about the same time that the earth simultaneously freezes over, and a tidal wave washes away my luxurious South Florida condominium.

And yet, I manage to hold in my temper, and shrug my shoulders and say "Hey...different strokes for different folks." I don't get out my machine gun and unload rounds into the air, and then into the Italian consulate in my neighborhood, for the reason that Italy is the home of the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church (which was the root of all Christianity) was founded by Jesus (or Peter, Jesus's friend), and Jesus told everyone to cut down trees, increasing air pollution and consequently the global temperature, killing me from Global Warming (which, by the way, my friends, is ALSO caused by YOU and your ghastly, dirty OIL!) and tidal waves and respiratory and cardiopulmonary ailments.

Come to think of it, we're all going to die anyway because of you guys and your dirty, filthy oil. But you know what? Ain't nothin' I can do is going to change that. And so I accept, and move on. I'm not storming the...do you guys have consulates? Embassies? I mean, yeah, the Saudis have them, and probably the Bahranians..whatever, I don't care, that's not my point...

So here's the deal... Someone printed some nasty pictures. It's done, and overwith. You could take the high road, and say "That was mean," and turn the other cheek. You can still pursue that course of action. But behaving like you are right now, with your riots, and your protests, and your murders and your vandalism and your depriving your skinny and impressionable little children, with their tiny developing brains of valuable butterfat and related vitamins and amino acids...I just don't see where it's gonna get ya. I mean...violence doesn't seem to be getting you very far right now... so how about a little diplomacy? (And dairy! As Sandra Bernhardt once said "Us Jews love our dairy!") At this point, guys, in world opinion, you really have nowhere to go but up. I'm not saying the United States is very high on the list of Vaunted and exalted nations, and peoples, and yeah... right now, we're wrong, wrong WRONG! See? I can admit when I'm wrong! So try some diplomacy. It's probably going to be a lot like the first time you ate goat cheese...a little sour and gross at first, but it'll grow on you. Eventually, you'll love it, and make EVERYTHING with diplomacy! Sandwiches! Pizzas! PITA!

It's a picture. Stop taking it so seriously. Yeah, it was insulting, and yeah, it's not something you'd choose to do, but the rest of us don't strap dynamite to ourselves and get on a bus in Haifa, and blow ourselves up. Because, the rest of us find that a little insulting too. And some of us find it a little offensive that you claim Jerusalem as yours, when, hell-lloooo... it's been ours for 3,500 years. If you love and want Jerusalem so much, maybe don't walk into a Sbarro and detonate a bomb, huh?

I know. You've been through a rough patch the last few years. But listen, honey, we all gots our problems. Look at me. I can only wear one shape of sunglasses...and it really burns me up, but eh. What can ya do? I don't make everyone hate me by constantly obsessing over my sunglasses, and breaking other people's sunglasses that I think are really cool, but don't look good on my face. Yessssssss...sunglasses aren't totally on the same plane as having bombs dropped on your house and having your grandmother killed, but we all go when it's our time. And if you want to riot over that, well you just go right ahead. I won't hold it against you, honest. Anger is part of the grieving process.

But you're not grieving over a cartoon. You don't like it, and that's fine. It's understandable, and if Denmark was being a big-boy about everything, he would apologize for the insult and buy you a nice day at the Spa to make it up to you. But then you went and overreacted. And there's nothing worse than an injured person who takes advantage of the sympathy factor. I mean, look at the United States. We were SWIMMING in Sympathy in late 2001! Everyone LOVED US! And what did we do? Instead of using good public relations and good policy to continue to endear us to the world, keeping our ass clean and showing strength and decorum, we sat there in our dirty diaper, screaming the same demands for pudding and the remote control, and worse yet, we started to throw poop at anyone who came to change us or bring us our spoon.

So, yeah. This is long, and probably offensive, but it's not intended to be -- I'm just puzzled. That's all. Try something new. Try breaking the cycle, and not feeding into the stereotype that the cartoon was drawn to perpetuate. Surprise us. Wounded pride heals. Wounded spines and brains do not. Enough of the "dry-angry-drunk" reaction. You're not now, nor have you ever been drunk. There's no excuse. You're not my Crazy Uncle Al, so quit acting like him. And with that, I'm off my soap box, and I'm sorry to anyone that I offended - it was not my intention - just my honest thoughts.