Mudcat Café message #1663732 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #88604   Message #1663732
Posted By: Donuel
07-Feb-06 - 08:48 AM
Thread Name: BS: Cartoon riots around the world
Subject: RE: BS: Cartoon riots around the world
thanks for the link

Thirty years ago at an old brick apartment building on Hertel Avenue in Buffalo NY, I was visiting friends on the pretense of smoking a joint, or visa versa, its hard to remember which.
Somehow no one had a match or lighter and the electric stove offered no convenience so I went into the hall and knocked on a door to see if I could borrow some matches. An orthodox Jew with weather worn face and beard answered the door. Before I could even ask for fire the man traced my eyes to a glance I made behind him where his wife was peeking around a doorway. He immediately became incensed. He angrily shouted that I had broken his convenent with God because religious law forbid his wife's face from being seen on the Sabbath.
She looked worried and scared.

Hell, I had never heard of such a thing before, not even during the time I went to Hebrew school for the option of getting a Bar Mitzvah.
I apologized claiming ignorence but he went on berating me in the hallway and heaping guilt upon me for the punishment that his wife will now have to endure. I said "Hey I don't care whatever promise you made to whatever God, but if you beat your wife you'll have to answer to the police". Of course this infuriated him to the point of holy curses and door slamming.

I don't believe this guy's God forbid reflected light of his wife to enter the eye of another human being but it happened. But now I was made to be the reason for this woman to be punished. Now I wish I had uttered some Yiddish joke instead of making the guy even angrier.

And that is where I realised that humor was often used to defuse silly religiously held beliefs. The mother of a Catholic girl I knew would some times offer up homor regarding some obscure Saint or ritual of facing an icon to the west and spinning around three times, just to let people know that she took faith a religious rules witha grain of salt. Likewise Jewish humor often involves either God or a Jewish Mother and lightened the mood when people were unsure whether they had to stand on ceremony.

Whether its an Orthodox Jew hiding a their wife's face on the Sabbath, or a Muslim man hiding the faces of women all the time I can still think of no joke to enlighten the situation and defuse the insecure, tyranical underlying cause for beliefs that cause nothing but hurt and misunderstanding between people.

If I find the joke that will save the world, I will let you know.