Saturday, February 14, 2004

Have a Happy and Fatwa-Free VD
Why I Dislike the Saudi Government Even More Than I Dislike Valentine's Day

Dang, and I thought I disliked Valentine's Day...

But not compared to the Saudi Government. Check it out.

Hard to pick out a favorite 'graph from this's an embarrassment of comedic riches. In fact, for a second I wondered whether I'd accidentally wandered over to Allah is in the House...

There's this gem, for example:

" 'A Muslim is prohibited from celebrating, approving or congratulating on this occasion,' said the ruling issued by the Fatwa Committee. Supporting others to celebrate the day such as buying or selling Valentine’s items, presenting gifts or making festival food falls in the category of approval."

Whoa, these guys are a barrel of laughs... Do you think they have a Committee For The Prevention of Gettin' Jiggy Wid It?

How about this one:

"The occasion seems trivial to youths in Qasim. 'I know it but I disdain it,' said a 23-year-old Ahmad Al-Mutairy. 'The Internet is full of such triviality. Only fools will fall into such traps,' he added."

If Ahmad really exists, he's apparently a Stepford Muslim...

Creepy as those are, though, I designate the following the most annoying passage:

“ 'You should also enlighten Saudi citizens on the danger of this custom, which is alien to our society, and make them aware of its negative effect,' Al-Madinah daily quoted the religious police chief as saying."

Ah, yes, the appeal to the sanctity of the society--meaning, basically, the customs a society already has. A textbook fallacy beloved by both the Back-to-the-Stone-Age Right and the Everything-Is-Relative-to-Social-Practices Left. This is the way we have always done it; ergo you are evil if you do it otherwise. As if mere repetition could ground moral obligation. We've been doing it in this stupid way a long time, so we'd better not stop now! What, have these guys been reading Bill Bennett or something?

So, screw those guys, and happy VD, even though I think it's a dopey-ass holiday. I'll take the goofy heart motifs manufactured by our Corporate Overlords to fill the holiday gap between Christmas and Easter over the decrees of the Fatwa Committee any day...

And we can take a bit of pride in the fact that, while the Fatwa Committee is keeping an eye on flower shops in Riyadh to make sure that no one is "approving or celebrating," over here, hundreds of same-sex couples are getting married in San Francisco. Check it out. At least until the American analogs of the Taliban get this little bit of progress squashed in the name of the sanctity of Having Done Things A Certain Way For A Long Time.

Oh, and I know what you're thinking, and no I'm not sitting around blogging bitterly about VD because I don't have a date. Rather, I've got one of those cool girlfriends who hates Valentine's Day, too. Heh heh. So there.


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