Thursday, August 26, 2010

"A Few Words About Stoning (And Then A Show)"

“A Few Words About Stoning (And Then A Show)”

1) People who believe in diversity believe in accepting and respecting the traditional habits of other cultures.

2) Stoning is a traditional habit of other cultures.

3) People who believe in diversity accept and respect stoning.

Well, that’s me, being philosophically scrupulous. And tedious and boring. And self-righteously superior to people who believe in diversity, which I believe in most of the time, but not all the time; otherwise, I’d have to accept and respect stoning. And how monumentally stupid would that be! I mean, really!

“Do you allow room for dissenting opinions in your blog, or do you prefer to bloviate without contradiction?”

No, no, speak away. Speak away.

“Thank you. When people say they accept and respect the diversity of other cultures, it doesn’t mean they accept and respect all forms of diversity of other cultures.

Just the forms of diversity they believe in.

“Yes. I mean, no.”

Yes, you mean, no?

“You’re putting words in my mouth.”


“But you’re distorting my position.”

You believe in diversity, but not all forms of diversity.


So what did I distort?

“You make it sound like I’m culturally judgmental.”

You are.

“All right, I am a little. But I’m not like the people who call other cultures primitive. Or barbaric…

Do you consider stoning barbaric?

“Of course, I do.”

You’re dazzling me with your consistency.

“Okay. I admit I’m judgmental of other cultures on very rare occasions. But I’m nowhere near as judgmental as other people.”

Are there people who are less judgmental than you are?

“I imagine there could be.”

Then to them, you’re the ‘other people’.

What other people?”

The people who are more judgmental than they are. Of course, those guys are highly unlikely to be “judgment free.” For example, other cultures’ treatment of women, cannibalism, human sacrifice… With those traditional cultural behaviors, there’s no more “It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.” They think it’s worse.

“So what you’re saying is, we’re all culturally judgmental. We just draw the line in different places.”

“Just so, Grasshopper.”

“Okay. But I still think I’m better than most people.”

“Better.” Is that too not a judgment?

And the dialogue is done, the writer, once again, having the final word.

Stoning is a bizarre and biblical activity. But despite its unspeakable brutality, or maybe because of it, it’s also, at least to some people, in a sick and twisted way perhaps but still, hilarious funny.

To minds bent in that particular direction, the concept of stoning leads immediately to a myriad of questions relating to stone-throwing etiquette:

“Are there rules about how close you can stand?”

“Are there professional stoners, or is like jury duty: You get a letter in the mail, you go, and you throw stones at a stranger ‘till they die.”

“Are the ston-ees allowed to duck? Or is that cheating?”

“If you miss the person, can you retrieve your stone and throw it at them again?”

“Are you permitted, in any way, to “doctor” your stone by, say, sharpening it to a point, or is it, because it’s more humane, ‘natural stones only’?”

Is it okay to throw a stick instead? How ‘bout a stick with a nail in it?”

I don’t mean to be disrespectful of another culture’s traditions; dumbfounded, yes, but not disrespectful. That attitude can get you stoned yourself. So I’ll stop here, and pass the buck to Monty Python’s Life of Brian, who unquestionably mean to be disrespectful. Those taking umbrage at this conversation should direct all stones in their direction. Including the dead Python. You can stone his headstone. Or if he was cremated, his dust.

The following clip does not include the setup scene of the shady stone salesman hawking his wares before the stoning, which is a shame, because it’s very funny. But it will give you a feel for their disapproving perspective.

Enjoy. (And thanks again, Gracie, for teaching me how to embed.)


Dimension Skipper said...

Would misdemeanors require 'pebbling'? Or at least maybe a little sand in the shoes for irritation?

A. ducccck! Short said...

I hope we can at least agree on the concept that of all the proven methods of corporal and capital punishment, stoning is among the greener. Also, I’m going out on a limb here, but I think, of your many daring and consistently thought-provoking blogging ploys and maneuvers, ventriloquism ranks right up there among the most entertaining.

It’s like I don’t have to rely on just Earl Pomerantz to get me going every morning, I’m in a breakfast coffee clutch. And as we all know, you haven’t made it in this life until you’ve been accepted into some sort of clutch. I’m not even certain what a clutch is or if I ever fully went through the initiation ritual. As we all also know, in this day and age, that kind of exclusivity is valued. It’s why every member of my family is so dern proud of having been accepted into Sam’s Club.

But getting back on topic, I think you may have stoning confused with either bocce -- or quoits, or whack-a-mole or perhaps very close to one of your Canadian passions, curling? Maybe that hilarious dunking booth at the Kiwanis gala? (And if the concept of a Kiwanis “gala” doesn’t get you where you live, then you’re not the Earl Pomerantz I thought you were. So whose Earl Pomerantz are you?)

And what? You don’t think stoning won’t be among the next clutch – there it is again – clutch, of pay-per-view junk sports right up there with Ultimate Fighting Championship, the lesser Penultimate Fighting Championship on Fox, and Rachael Ray Robinson?

Btw, did you ever stop to think that these poor unfortunates resort to stoning, because they haven’t got the advantages and resources to spend all day on what we just take for granted, like Larry King, and wii?

And please give us some credit for having gotten through all this without some lame and arcane reference to either Cheech – OR Chong. Oh. Damn!

S. Buck Short said...

Wait a minute stop the presses!
I mistakenly started reading you this morning on my wife’s internet account, which is often left open on this state of the art computer (if your state happens to be Mississippi).

She prefers to get her email here, because of its many sophisticated “apps” like dolby, uh, color, and only .01% APR. And to paraphrase the great Fred Gwynne in My Cousin Vinny (In Sweden, Min Kusin Vinny), “What’s an APP???”

Heck, what are APR’s? Also, that Marisa Tomei is still hot. But don’t let me start going off on a tangent here at this late juncture. What I’m trying to say, coming up, here is the kind of Yahoo news my wife’s home page leads with every morning -- above the fold. As I just said, “Stop the presses!”.

Finally, I hate to rain on your Boxing Day parade or anything Mr. P, but in this information age, many of your contemporaries take embedding for granted. OK, maybe not your contemporaries…

Thanks also – OK, especially – for the clip. And that’s another art that also seems to have fallen by the wayside, uttering.

But I do like a sketch that has a nice beginning, middle and end. Or as Joan Rivers boldly asked on the Red Carpet, "Whose tallis are you wearing?"

Greg Morrow said...

I typically take a respect for diversity to mean that one does not consider another culture's practices wrong because they are different. They might be wrong for other reasons. E.g., stoning is wrong for pretty much the same reasons that lynching is wrong, all xenocultural/autocultural origins aside.

One does not have to give up one's moral sense or critical judgment when one embraces diversity.

Miles said...

This post was amazingly disturbing. There is nothing funny about stoning, it is a horrible, disgusting practice. It's like saying there's something humorous about murder. What the hell Earl?

Joke said...

Fiendishly clever stuff...

Anonymous said...

"daring blogging ploys?"

Yes, if using the style of Plato or Leonardo is considered daring and new.

I personally have a hard time reading these type of dialogues, be it from Plato, Leonardo, Hoftstadter or Pomerantz. My mouth needs no stuffing.

Joke said...

Well, I still liked it. And it's what I think that counts.

joke said...

It's 11am here, and my mouth will need stuffing soon.