Thursday, November 29, 2007


Nobody fucks with the Jesus!

- Jesus Quintana played by the incredible John Turturro in The Big Lebowski. Edit(12/3/07): I can't wait to see No Country for Old Men, the Coen brothers current theatrical release. If you haven't seen any of their movies, I would highly recommend, Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Hudsucker Proxy, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and the previously mentioned The Big Lebowski.

I assume you've heard about the British teacher who went to teach in Sudan. If you haven't, here you go: she let her class of 7 year olds name a class teddy bear. They came up with Muhammed which is a very common name for men in Islamic cultures. But it turns out that's not OK and she's going back to prison for a few days. Oops.

I completely see their point though. Do you see it? She broke the law by allowing her young students to name a bear Muhammed. Bear is an animal and that's insulting to the Prophet. Her punishment is 15 days (although she had already served 5 leading up to the trial, efficient legal system no?) and deportation. Some jail time, banishment, media circus and hopefully a free first class ticket home, right chaps? Hopefully she'll be fine after this whole debacle, but it serves a valuable lesson.

Learn the customs of the foreign nations you visit.

Simple really, but so hard to actually do. For example, did you know that in Brazil, the okay sign,

means asshole? Spitting in public isn't considered bad manners in China? (Although they have a public campaign against it for health reasons and it being nasty.) It's bad manners to refuse food, um, somewhere. It's a huge sign of disrespect to show someone else the bottom of your foot in the Middle East? (Like when you sit cross-legged, so be careful) I'm sure someone has a book about things of this nature, and I'm sure it would be in the intro chapter of most good travel books, so read up!

The other lesson here is that the First Amendment is great, wonderful and just fucking awesome. For example, let's say the shoe was on the other foot and pretend that the Sudanese teacher named her class' teddy bear Jesus Christ. And say the government thought that would be horribly insulting to poor Jesus. So they tossed her in Leavenworth (or maybe Guantanamo) for a couple days then sent her ass back to Sudan. Does that sound a bit extreme? Or does that sound like a good idea?

Be careful, Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, Vishnu and Mother Nature are always watching.

Edit(12/3/07): She was pardoned! Congrats to Gillian Gibbons and I'm sure she'll want to thank these two gentlemen:
The pardon came following efforts by Nazir Ahmed and Sayeeda Warsi, Muslim members of the House of Lords, to persuade the Sudanese government that releasing Gibbons would create international goodwill toward their country.
She was released 6 days before the end of her sentence. I think she's still being deported but probably wants out anyway. There were some protests calling for her execution, so it might be best to hang out in the UK and let this whole thing blow over before returning to a foreign country to teach.

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