For those of you who have missed my angry, rambling insanity style of writing lately, I intend to be back on top form with this one. As you may know, the titles of my posts usually relate in some backwards, barely coherent and yet slyly clever way, to the content of said posts. This one is no different. It is not, as may seem at first glance, about my status as a raging carnivore. I love meat, everyone knows that. It's not news. It's delicious, full of protein, and it reminds me that, despite my status as a relatively unknown shouter of obscenities on the internet, I am actually on top of the food chain. This post is not about delicious cows. It is instead about sacred ones.
I realize I'm a little late to the party on this one, but the whole South Park/Mohammad controversy really had me steaming. You all know what it was about by now, so I'm not going to rehash the details. Suffice to say, it had me sincerely cheesed off.
I'm not going to direct anger at Comedy Central. They pussied out, for sure, but not arbitrarily. There are a lot of talented people that work for them, and they all have families and friends and other people they don't want beheaded or blown up. I'm sure if I were in that position, I'd back off, too. Live to fight another day, I dig. Instead, I'm going to direct my sweet, rich hatred where it belongs: at the groups who think that their sacred cows give them the right to deprive anyone else of the feeling of safety.
Coleman, the butler in the Dan Aykroyd/Eddie Murphy film Trading Places (well worth watching, simply for the genius scene of Dan Aykroyd in a filthy Santa suit, eating a salmon whole while picking nylon fake beard threads out of it. The best moments in life really are the little moments.) says toward the end of the film, while disguised as a Catholic priest, "I always say religion's a fine thing, taken in moderation." I tend to agree with this opinion. I have nothing against religion in and of itself. I may be, as I've said many times before, an agnostic at best who finds the whole practice a little silly on a personal level, but I respect the right of an individual to believe whatever they please. In many cases, religion allows an individual to connect with a certain side of himself (or herself, let's be equal here), giving him or her the opportunity to explore the deeper philosophical bits and pieces of the human existence, a practice which I am most definitely for. It helps fill a void, I get that, and sometimes I even envy it.
Me? I tend to get my philosophy from other sources. I believe that when I die, I'm going to go to the Island from Lost and kick it with some polar bears and crack a few cold ones with the Smoke Monster. "But K-Dawg," you may say, "Lost is fictional. It's a story made up by some guys in a room some place. It's not even real!" To which I will reply, knowingly, "Exactly."
Point: Just because you believe it's sacred doesn't mean I have to. We can still be friends.
You can believe in Jesus, or Buddha, or Mohammad, or Brahma or whatever you please, and I can believe in The Island. If it helps us ponder the mysteries of humanity and the inner workings of the cosmos, excellent. Hell, even if it just gives us something to do once a week, there's nothing wrong with that either.
And you have every right to think that I'm silly for believing a TV show is real, and for wanting to go there when I die, and I have every right to believe that you're silly for believing the stories that you believe. We're all still here together; we just don't have to hang out on Sundays.
These extremist groups continue to threaten and provoke because we back down every time. The best defense against jack holes like this isn’t more retaliatory threats, which is something I've seen a lot of in the little research I did for this piece--violence does indeed beget violence, after all-- it’s not letting them silence us. Everyone has a right to their belief system, or to the lack of one. Believe in your sacred cows, shine on you crazy diamond. I don’t have to believe in them, too, and I DON'T have to treat them with kid gloves. And you can take offense at that; it's a perfectly normal human response. But the moment you threaten violence against me and others who don’t believe what you do, you lose the right to be treated fairly and with respect. And the fact that these threats in particular were made by a group in America makes it doubly so; it's a place where we pride ourselves so much on our citizens' right to free speech, we put it right at the top of the damn Bill that lays the big ones out.
Freedom of speech means just that: You can say what you want, and I can say what I want, even if we're both full of crap. You can disagree, you can debate, you can argue, but you can not threaten. Period. And the moment we give in to a threat of that nature, we give up a little bit of that freedom. It's kind of like erosion: One day, you got a nice piece of beachfront property, a nice little bungalow with a nice wooden deck off the back. It's great to sit out there and feel the summer breeze and drink some lemonade or a little rum punch and just generally enjoy the hell out of being alive. You lose an inch or two a year, big deal, man, it's just an inch or two. Then, before you know it, you're on the news with a sad, confused look, your kick-ass Ray-Bans having left a tan line around your face that makes you look like a doofus, and damn it, no one looks good in a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops,what the hell were you thinking? And the video of your house falling into the ocean is on youtube with a jillion hits, right behind that one where they try to blow up the whale and Moby Dick rains fiery death from above with chunks of his fat whale ass.
Damn, that shit was funny. In both instances, and in the one above--you know, free speech. Pay attention. No, stop looking up the whale video. You've seen it nine times already. Did you not even come close to getting the point of this...you know what, screw it.--Point: hindsight is 20/20.
And to my Hindu friends: I'm not picking on you more than anyone else, I promise. I admire your people, your rich history, and your Mahatmas (means "great souls", apparently. Thanks, Wikipedia!)... and I love your curry. Sacred cow is just a great term. And if any of you guys wants to go for a hamburger with me, I totally won't narc on you. We're cool, bro.
Queequeg out, bitches.
(Seriously, no one got that reference? I know no one even read the book in high school, but shit, man, even the Cliffs Notes has the list of characters in it. Read a book, goddamn it!)