“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.”
“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.)