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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunday Shorts

Let him have his say!

There has been far too much hand-wringing and protesting over Oxford University's having extended an invitation to allow a Holocaust denier to defend his position at a debate.  People... This is exactly the sort of venue where you want this kind of crackpot to have to defend his 'theories'! 

Forget the fact that even the government of the country that perpetrated the Holocaust (Germany) admits it happened on precisely the scale that the Jews claim.  More and more files are being opened each year which support mainstream reports of the scope of the Holocaust, making the claims of Holocaust deniers like this seem like the rantings of 'flat earthers'... which is essentially what they are.

I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on this topic on BBC radio last week (you can download and listen to it here), and I said then (as I will repeat here) that this is NOT a freedom of speech issue.  It is just common sense.   Trying to ban certain objectionable viewpoints through legislation gives them far more legitimacy than an invitation to a speaking engagement or debate might have lent them.  And you need to ask yourself, where are this guy's theories bound to get the best 'Fisking'; at a neo-nazi rally or at debate hosted by one of the world's premier institutions of higher learning?

Scary movie night... scarier than planned

Last night I treated the big kids to a scary movie night - complete with popcorn and soft drinks - in our living-room.  The featured film was Stanley Kubrick's classic 'The Shining' (based on a novel by Stephen King).   They were both pressed deep into the couch cushions throughout the film, with pillows and blankets pressed to their chins to stifle involuntary screams. 

However the classic moment came during a tense stretch in the action when our youngest - Yonah - began shrieking from his upstairs bedroom like a 'B' movie actress in a shower stabbing scene. It turns out his dinner hadn't agreed with him, and by the time I'd run upstairs he'd managed to cover roughly half his bedroom in vomit.   But watching the two big kids actually levitate off the couch in terror (screaming louder than Yonah!) was almost worth the clean-up and laundry I had to do before getting Yonah settled back in bed.

If they think that was offensive...

I don't know how many of you have been following the story, but apparently a British teacher working in the Sudan made the mistake of allowing her 7-year-old students to name the class mascot; a stuffed teddy bear.  Naturally, the little kids named it 'Mohammed'... and wackiness ensued.

Immediately the Muslim authorities in Sudan lost their collective minds (as Muslim authorities are wont to do) and charged the teacher with 'insulting Islam.   Long story short, the teacher was convicted of the crime which carried the potential punishment of public lashes... but luckily she got off relatively easy with a modest prison stay and a deportation order.

However, it turns out that now there is an angry mob (heh, what Muslim country doesn't have one of those standing by to lose their collective minds?) calling for her death for having insulted Islam!  Yes, you heard me correctly.  There is now a grass-roots effort to have this hapless woman executed for allowing her students to name a stuffed animal 'Mohammed'!

As luck would have it, I have had several inquiries lately about the Feral Cheryl doll I blogged about a while back


It turns out that the manufacturer has stopped producing this earthy, correctly-proportioned doll which sports tattoos, piercing and, um, realistic body hair.  So several collectors have asked about buying mine. 

In an effort to level the playing field and give everyone an equal chance to acquire this nifty doll, I propose the following contest:


  1. To avoid inadvertently going astray of any copyright rules with the original manufacturer, for the sake of this contest I have taken the liberty of renaming this fetching doll 'Mohammed'. 
  2. Anyone who would like a chance to win 'Mohammed' should leave a comment explaining your religious, political and/or personal reasons for wanting to give little miss Mohammed a new home.
  3. Humor will almost always win out over anger (or sincerity, for that matter), so don't hold back.
  4. Void where prohibited by Shariah law (I don't want your execution on my conscience).
  5. The decision of the judges (moi) will be both arbitrary and final.

That should just about do it for today!

Posted by David Bogner on December 2, 2007 | Permalink


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I yearn for this doll for one, and only one reason: To reduce the number of Bratz dolls (a contemporary bimbo version of the famous Barbie doll) in my daughter's collection. It will be a great achievment.

Posted by: QuietusLeo | Dec 2, 2007 11:59:54 AM

First of all, I saw The Shining in high school with my friend Marta. It scared the hell out of me and I wouldn't stay in the guest bedroom that night, I slept on the floor of her room and relived the movie for weeks afterward. To this day, on the (admittedly) rare occasions that I see or hear the phrase "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", I think of Nicholson losing his mind.....SCARY STUFF!

As far as Mohammed goes, now that you've named her so, I really have no desire to have her. But my husband would get a kick out of her. And the, um, realistic body hair would totally freak him out. And my gift-giving to him lately has been (almost) as lame as you say yours is. And it is Chanukah this week, and maybe he'd forgive the hours I spend reading your blog. So even though I may not be as witty as some of your other readers and commenters, I believe Mohammed should be mine...

Have a great Chanukah!...

Posted by: Baila | Dec 2, 2007 12:47:31 PM

of course, the antisemitic cartoons appearing in muslim country newspapers post-annapolis insulting jews are perfectly %100 a-ok. a little integrity, anyone?

i'm impressed your kids were ok with the shining -- my kids get freaked out by jumanji (granted, they're younger, but even i get scared by the shining!)

Posted by: nikki | Dec 2, 2007 1:44:26 PM


First, I deserve the doll because I've been single for a long time, and...well, frankly, she's starting to look pretty good.

Second, and more importantly, this might be a good time to remind your viewers (and those playing the home game) that insulting a prophet of Islam is just fine as long as it's the Jews who are most upset. (Remember the deafening silence from the Muslim world when "The Passion of the Christ" came out)?

Posted by: dfb1968 | Dec 2, 2007 3:02:47 PM

I miss Scatman Crothers- The voice of Hong Kong Phooey. Whatever will we do to fill the void.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 2, 2007 6:39:03 PM

Oh dear goodness Jack you've made my Trivia Day!tm

The Shining? Trep, I didn't realize your kids were 17 already! ;o/ Good film, and Kubrick's 2nd finest...

And finally, may I be the first to issue a Fatwa calling for you to be dipped in 100% peanut oil and then rolled in sand? Thanks! I'll call Salman R. and see if he has a sofa bed.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Dec 2, 2007 6:58:04 PM

OK, so you named her Mohammed... but you could start a new trend by naming her Ayesha or Fatima, no?

Posted by: Rahel | Dec 2, 2007 8:32:55 PM

Haven't seen The Shining (except for the classic scene), but I've read the book, and couldn't stop thinking about it afterwards. And this week I had a horror night myself, watching another King-based movie, The Mist, which was horrifying, though in a somewhat different manner. (Really NOT appropriate for younger audiences because of the ending). Strongly recommend... and yes, I MAY have let out a sound or two! ; )

Posted by: Irina | Dec 2, 2007 9:57:31 PM

Sounds like a great movie night!!! :D I never watched the Shining, but now I know what I'm missing.

Anyway... I'd like little Mohammed, because I'm trying to get accepted to art school so I need to draw lots of models from life - from the more cultures the better - and it's so hard to find a Muslim lady who's willing to pose.

Posted by: Chantyshira | Dec 2, 2007 11:52:06 PM

I have no use for L'il Mohammed, but I know several ex-Berkeley types who would probably even give up their anti-Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Bush bumper stickers for her. She's *that* Bohemian! For my taste (having perused the website), she's a tad too eco-friendly for this homo(sapiens)phile.


Posted by: Wry Mouth | Dec 3, 2007 12:34:45 AM

Well Dave, between you naming the doll Mohammad and me calling him a pedophile, we should both have a fatwa against us in short order. If you need any help defending the ramparts of Castle Treppenstein, lemme know. :)

Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 3, 2007 3:12:14 AM

I should have the doll so I can help the poor girl get control over some of her unsightly hair issues. And my husband wants to know if she comes with the bag of 'green stuff'.

Posted by: Alice | Dec 3, 2007 4:03:08 AM

Speaking of scary movies, they should watch the first Friday the 13th.

When I was about 14, I watched the movie at my sister's friend's house. At the end of the movie, when all is calm and the heroine is lazily sleeping in the boat on the lake with her hand in the water, my sister's friend said to us - "hey did you see the movie Carrie?" "Sure, wh....SCREAMMMMM"

I've yet to see that movie again.

Alice - how funny.

Posted by: jaime | Dec 3, 2007 7:51:28 AM

QuietusLeo... Just so you understand that from a purely mathematical standpoint, the addition of 'mohammed' will not actually cancel out any existing doll already held by your daughter. It may slightly mitigate the percentages of one doll type to another... but that's about it. :-)

Baila... I'll take it under advisement, but I'm really not in the business of arranging absolution for those who read my site against their spouse's wishes. :-)

nikki... So far so good (meaning no nightmares). I think it is because there is a real story line in The Shining and not just gratuitous gore such as in the Friday the 13th genre.

dfb1968... Um, I have to tell you that "I deserve the doll because I've been single for a long time" is a little creepy, no? :-)

Jack... Funny, I remember him best as the voice of Meadowlark Lemon. :-)

Wry Mouth... We take the 'parental guidance' thing very seriously. BTW, what do you consider his best, 2001 ASO? Please don't tell me eyes wide shut. Anything but that! Clockwork Orange... Lolita... Full Metal Jacket... anything but EWS!

Rahel... Nah. For all their veneration for women, they don't really seem to hold them in very high regard (i.e. honor killings).

Irina... the book was excellent, but go rent the movie tonight! That's an order!!!

Chantyshira... You too... go rent the movie! As to art class, there's nothing like drawing the real thing (or so my BFA-educated wife tells me).

Wry Mouth... True, but we all know someone like that, no?

Alice... Yes, she came with the bag of green stuff, but by now it is probably pretty stale. :-)

jaime... I never had any interest in the Friday the 13th / Nightmare on Elm Street-type movies. They were too much like campfire stories without any real substance to back them up. I don't want to feel like some counselor is trying to make me pee my sleeping bag when I watch a movie.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 3, 2007 12:44:11 PM

Straying off plumb a little and FYI, Trep, it's 2001, right up until the last 15 minutes. And even those I have come to appreciate after many years, grudgingly. My eldest brother saw 2001 upwards of 20 times -- when it came out. Recall that you had to *pay* back then to see a movie more than once! We both love the silence of the space scenes. A few years back, I had the privilege of teaching Gary Lockwood's daughter (he's the astronaut that gets rammed into space by HAL9000) and got to shake his hand. A highlight of my career!

Haven't seen EWS. I see no reason to spoil that record.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Dec 6, 2007 9:59:00 AM

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