After six hundred and sixty-something posts –
A mini controversy on the old blogeroo.
I don’t want to make a big deal about it, but I gotta tell ya, I’m a little excited. I was beginning to lose hope that I could ever say anything that would stir up the passions of the readership. The responses I do get, which are always welcome, are intelligent, interesting, encouraging and often educational. But rarely do I feel my corresponders to be legitimately up in arms.
Now, it’s finally happened.
Six comments, I received. Hardly an avalanche, by but for me, that’s a near “heart surgery” level of response.
Okay, one was from a regular reader who likes to hitch a ride on my blog and tell, often quite funny, stories of his own. But the other five…the precious other five…
Those were actual comments.
Have I ever deliberately tried to be provocative on my blog? Not really. I just tell the stories that come to me. Being “deliberately provocative” reminds me of the sketch my brother and his then writing partner Lorne Michaels once wrote for a Canadian radio show.
They were parodying a radio call-in show. The “Topic of the Day” was: “The Wheat Bill – Yes or no?” Remember, this is Canada we’re talking about.
Not a single person called in, the listeners being unable to muster any excitement about the Wheat Bill, yes or no. So little by little, in an effort to generate callers, the show kept changing the “Topic of the Day” in an increasingly more “red meat” direction, to the point where the “Topic of the Day” ultimately evolved into:
“They didn’t kill enough people in World War II.”
The funny part was, they still didn’t get any calls.
So which one of my blog topics aroused my readers such that they felt compelled to write in and voice their views?
Was it my pronouncement that “equal” doesn’t always mean the same?
Was it my adamant refusal to use the phrase “his and her”, as a protest against the destruction of natural rhythm of writing?
I believe I got nothing on that one.
Was it me, being so out of step with current entertainment that my favorite movie comedy remains The Court Jester, from 1955?
That could explain my modest following, but there was no direct assault on my comedic proclivities.
So what was it, already? Which incendiary topic triggered this astonishing groundswell of passionate comment writing?
It was my post about stoning.
I take full responsibility for the uproar. That’s what you get when you work close to the edge. The heat comes with the territory: Lenny Bruce skewering cultural taboos. George Carlin, and his seven dirty words. And me, daring to make light of a punishment no longer practiced anywhere but in Afghanistan. And maybe a couple of other places.
The responses were “across the board.” One, untroubled by the subject matter, complimented my comedic approach:
“Fiendishly clever stuff…”
wrote Joke, in a three-word and three dots effusion of praise.
Viagra Online wrote in:
hahaha thank you very much for such hilarious story I have not laughed this way in so long, the story made my day, who wrote it by the way? I think it’s a little master piece.
“a little master piece.” I like that. Though I could have done without the “who wrote it by the way?” crack.
Dimension Skipper jumped in with some humorous musings of their own:
“Would misdemeanors require ‘pebbling’? Or at least sand in the shoes for irritation?”
I love praise. And Dimension Skipper caused the corners of my eyes to crinkle. I was in a fine mood to that point. Then came the hard stuff.
Miles sent me this:
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?
This would be your classic “some does, and some doesn’t” situation. Both Miles and I agree that stoning is a horrible, disgusting practice. Finding humor in the matter?
“Some does. And some doesn’t.”
And then, there’s Greg Morrow. Greg took my post seriously which I love; it’s way better than being written off as frivolous and dispensable. Greg took me to task for my assertion that people who are committed to cultural diversity believe in it only up to a point, and then they go “Feh!’”, everyone “drawing the line”, but just doing it in a different place.
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 reason lynching is wrong, all xenocultural/autocultural origins aside.
One does not have to give up one’s moral sense of critical judgment when one embraces diversity.
As you see, Greg makes a distinction between a behavior that’s “different” and a behavior that’s “wrong.” To me, they’re the same thing, distinguished only by degree. A “wrong” behavior is a “different” behavior that, for you, elicits a gag reflex of overpowering revulsion.
Second, equating stoning with lynching is itself a “xenocultural” response. Lynching is illegal. Stoning, to the culture that engages in it, is not only socially accepted, it’s the legally prescribed punishment that that culture metes out for serious transgressions, like, in the recent cases, adultery and eloping.
Third, which is a lot for such a short comment:
One does not have to give up one’s moral sense of critical judgment when one embraces diversity?
With all due respect, Greg, I believe one does. That “moral sense of critical judgment” comes from your culture, not theirs. They don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.
Well, will you look at that? An entire blog post, responding to your comments. I believe that’s a first.
Keep ‘em comin’. The comments, the questions and, of course, the compliments. Whatever you want. This is big fun for me.
It fires up my brain cells. And it gives me something to write.