Let's Just Say...Hypothetically

It seems that half of Europe and the Middle East is ablaze after a Danish newspaper printed an unflattering cartoon featuring the Muslim prophet Mohammed. The two camps - there are always at least two camps on every issue - shake out thusly. Those for freedom of expression on one side and those who show respect for religious symbols on the other. As usual, the two sides are screaming at each other like Seahawks and Steelers fans on game day. Being a fair and omnipotent being - because someone has to play the parent in these little squabbles - we'd just like to present a few hypotheticals so you can tell which side you're on.

Hypothetical One: You're watching America's Funniest Home Videos - for those who don't watch the show, 97% of its videos contain people being whacked in the crotch by all manner of hard things. The remaining 3% show people being whacked on the head with bats as cute kids try to hit a pinata. There is a statistically insignificant number of people tumbling into swimming pools and off trampolenes, although some of them do land on their crotches so it just confuses the count.

Let's say host Tom Bergeron trots out onto the stage and says something pithy and droll while a clip showing two carpenters working fills the screen. Let's say that one carpenter picks up a board and "accidentally" whacks the other carpenter in the crotch, causing him to fall hilariously off the roof and onto the ground.

Great stuff isn't it? You laugh and laugh because, after all, this is comic gold.

Now let's make carpenter number two Jewish and really old - like about 2006 years old. He wears a flowing robe with donkey hairs and manger grass stuck to it. He looks vaguely familiar. Sort of son-of-God-like.

Still funny? Why aren't you laughing? After all, this is comic gold. Bergeron says so, so it must be true.

Hypothetical Two: You sit around watching the evening news. The anchor - speaking in authoritative and somber tones (unless it's Rita Cosby who will be bullfrog croaking something about Natalie Holloway) - introduces a story about protesters gathering to support the right of the local school board to teach intelligent design as part of their science curriculum.

Tempers flare as they so often do. There's a little yelling, some pushing, and suddenly the puck drops on an all-out melee that would make an NHL enforcer proud. As you watch, you mutter, "Goddamn scumbag liberals. We ought to get rid of the whole damn bunch of them."

Bill O'Reilly, let's rewind the tape and play it again!

This time, let's replace our God-fearing, intelligent design-loving brethren with a group of people protesting the opening of an abortion clinic. Tempers flare as they so often do. There's a little yelling, some pushing, and suddenly the pious brothers and sisters are punching and scratching the eyes from those who oppose God's will. As you watch, you mutter, "Goddamn babykilling liberals. We ought to get rid of the whole damn bunch of them. Where the hell's my pipe bombs?"

Suddenly there's an explosion and a few weeks later you're depending on the guard to bring you your three squares at San Q while protesters picket the prison trying to stop the death penalty.

So there you have it. Which side are you on?

Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Tuesday, February 07, 2006

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