Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rants. Rants Rants Rants.

Of course I'd never use this platform to rant. Who, moi?
Unless something RIDICULOUS pops up in the world and one simply cannot ignore it. Or unless, heavens to betsy, several somethings pop up.

RANT ITEM #1: British teacher imprisoned in Sudan
DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A HARDENED CRIMINAL TO YOU? I didn't think so. Me neither. The photo features Gillian Gibbons, a sweet British lady who traveled to Sudan, Africa to teach there. Recently, at the highbrow school at which she taught, she had her pupils name - note, her pupils performed the action - a teddy bear. And they named the toy after an apparently popular kid. Named, as luck would have it, Muhammed. Now Gillian is going to spend over two weeks in a Sudanese prison. Why? Because the conservative Muslims have convicted her of "insulting religion," and "inciting hatred." Because the prophet Muhammed does not take kindly to having teddy bears named after him. That's a no-no. But I thought the kids named the bear? you might ask. Yes, but they weren't westerners. But I thought the kids named it after a boy? you might ask. Yes, but the boy shared a name with the prophet of Islam. The key tenet, of course, is belief "in Allah and his prophet Muhammed." So Sudan (which might ring some bells - you know, the country also home to Darfur, where the genocide has been taking place?) has sentenced Gillian to jail, after threatening her with a possible 40 lashes as well.
Britain has expressed its outrage, and diplomats are scurrying back and forth trying to keep the Sudan from mistreating their citizen. In fairness, it should be noted that many British Muslims are scoffing Sudan's actions as well.
Don't take your freedom of speech and expression for granted. In this country, if someone wants to name their hamster Buddha or their goldfish Jesus, they have the freedom to without fear of imprisonment or beatings. Our nation certainly isn't perfect, but my outrage at an African country who needs volunteers and foreign aid treating a woman so despicably makes me grateful that while some ridiculous things occur in the U.S. of A., at least we don't have that.
The Darfur region is a mess, UN peacekeepers have been wounded trying to protect Sudanese citizens from raping and injuring each other, and this is how Sudan thanks one of the UN power players. While 90% of me sides with the nameless literally millions of people suffering in the Darfur region, a scant percentage of me wants to say fine, Sudan, don't come crying to us when you're in an economic crisis a few years from now.
So, Gillian, our sympathies, while you spend two weeks in dank, corrupt Sudanese jails, facing heaven knows what indignities, abuses and violations.

RANT ITEM #2: Leaping Reindeer, Batman!

As I sit here listening to the classic, old-school "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," I am reminded of the special Shrek Christmas special last night. I am a Shrek fan, at least the first one. The second one was okay, still haven't seen the third. But the first was really funny and cute and original and had lots of puns I enjoyed, particularly the muffin man sequence.
Enter Shrek Christmas Special, which aired on ABC. While scribbling out invitation addresses, one of my roommates and the six year old from down the hall gathered with their suppers to enjoy Shrek's Christmas. Now Shrek, being an ogre, didn't know how to have Christmas. So a helpful shopkeeper gave him a book on keeping the perfect Christmas, replete with gathering the family around for the Christmas story. *Surprise*, I thought, the Christmas story? Surely not, on national television. I wondered if there would be a twist.
There was.
For those of you ignoramuses - ignorami? - who don't know what the Christmas story is, I'll tell you. Apparently, it's the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem.
"Twas the Night Before Christmas"?
I like that traditional old yuletide poem as much as the next nutcracker, but to label it ubiquitously as "The Christmas Story"? What...wha...I'm speechless. What do they think the POEM was based on? A holiday? Then what do they think the HOLIDAY was based on? The poem? Way to instill circular reasoning into our young. They'll be primed to be liberal television commentators.
I'm no Don Wildmon. I know some people who say "holidays" instead of "Christmas" with no political agenda, I understand that. "Holidays" does, after all, derive from "holy days," so the joke's on the pundits. But to call, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" the CHRISTMAS STORY? No manger, just eight tiny reindeer. It's like scrubbing the Menorah out of Hanukkah, to make Hanukkah more palatable to the Yuletide Police. Merry Christmas, kids, the holly jolly gestapo will be sliding down your chimneys making you goosestep your way to the dinner table.
Well, I've gotten those things out of my system. Meanwhile, I'm tempted to send an anonymous shipment of about 10,000 teddy bears with "Muhammed" embroidered on their hearts over to Sudan as a nicely wrapped Christmas gift. I may not have liked Shrek's Christmas, but as least we have the freedom to televise it and publish subsequent rants!

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