December 11, 2011

"Fatwa banning Muslim women from touching bananas and other penis-shaped foods makes Internet rounds."

"Unconfirmed religious order says the phallic foods may spark sexy thoughts."

Hmmm. Emphasis on "unconfirmed." I don't believe it, and I've passed up on writing about this story because I think propagating rumors about a religion is a very bad practice.
"If women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their a father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve," the cleric supposedly dictated.

Carrots and zucchinis pose a similar threat, according to the Muslim decree.
I'm writing about this now, not because I want to amuse you — though, admittedly, it's amusing — but because I'm acknowledging that this is now a meme. Memes about religion penetrate deeply. Use protection.

But... why am I resisting this? Phallic symbols are a long — really long — -term topic on this blog. And if the Muslim cleric thinks women ought to refrain from touching carrots, I'd like to caution the men about fingering onion rings. Remember? Old times on the Althouse blog: "Let's take a closer look at Bill's carrot and Hillary's onion ring."

And, by the way, I say that cleric — if he really exists — is bragging: Even a vague reminder of the shape — and size! — of our turgid man-parts sends our women swooning with desire.

ADDED: Literary reference:
He turns, advances to edge of stage, halts, strokes banana, peels it, drops skin at his feet, puts end of banana in his mouth and remains motionless, staring vacuously before him. Finally he bites off the end, turns aside and begins pacing to and fro at edge of stage, in the light, i.e. not more than four or five paces either way, meditatively eating banana. He treads on skin, slips, nearly falls, recovers himself, stoops and peers at skin and finally pushes it, still stooping, with his foot over the edge of the stage into pit. He resumes his pacing, finishes banana, returns to table, sits down, remains a moment motionless, heaves a great sigh, takes keys from his pockets, raises them to his eyes, chooses key, gets up and moves to front of table, unlocks second drawer, takes out a second large banana, peers at it, locks drawer, puts back his keys in his pocket, turns, advances to the edge of stage, halts, strokes banana, peels it, tosses skin into pit, puts an end of banana in his mouth and remains motionless, staring vacuously before him. Finally he has an idea, puts banana in his waistcoat pocket, the end emerging, and goes with all the speed he can muster backstage into darkness. Ten seconds. Loud pop of cork. Fifteen seconds. He comes back into light carrying an old ledger and sits down at table. He lays ledger on table, wipes his mouth, wipes his hands on the front of his waistcoat, brings them smartly together and rubs them....

Good to be back in my den in my old rags. Have just eaten I regret to say three bananas and only with difficulty restrained a fourth. Fatal things for a man with my condition.

52 comments:

Daniel Fielding said...

This story, if it isnt a joke, goes back to the standard joke in Muslim countries/societies, about the people who become Imams/Clerics. In those societies, Imams/Clerics are usually drawn from amongst the ranks of men who tend to lack imagination, intelligence and good sense. Hence, the idiotic statements and fatwas being issued. Sad. Very sad for the many good Muslims all over the world. Sad that they are stuck with guys who seem more worried about women getting aroused by zuccinis and carrots and such.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Althouse: I don't believe it, and I've passed up on writing about this story because I think propagating rumors about a religion is a very bad practice.

I can't help but think this post has something to do with Romney being a Mormon.

Ann Althouse said...

"I can't help but think this post has something to do with Romney being a Mormon.

Let paranoia be the thinking style of the day.

Anonymous said...

It's worth keeping in mind that a pretty broad range of people are entitled to issue fatwas. It's not the Islamic version of a Papal Encyclical. It's not the official position of the faith, just the claim of some cleric.

There are lots of clerics, some more respected and influential than others. And issuing a weird fatwa is a great way to get some publicity.

dbp said...

Maybe people who are so sex-crazed that carrots (for the women) and an uncovered face (for the men) actually need a really strict religion. Otherwise they might be rutting in the streets and scaring children and livestock.

Psychedelic George said...

Actually, if you read the text of the fatwa in Arabic, as I have, it specifically says that the slicing or touching thereof of such vegetables, fruits, bulbs, or tubers may not occur on government property or involve the actions of a government actor.

Otherwise, it's okay.

Ann Althouse said...

"Maybe people who are so sex-crazed that carrots (for the women) and an uncovered face (for the men) actually need a really strict religion. Otherwise they might be rutting in the streets and scaring children and livestock."

It's one strategy for keeping people reproducing within the family structure. If you look at the Darwinian value of the belief, I think it's a good one. The idea would be -- and, again, I have no idea if this cleric exists or is typical of anything at all -- that everything is really sexy, we're very stimulated by all kinds of things, but we must hold it back, it's really important to wait and not express your sexuality yet, even though it's always there, ready to burst forth. Then when you're finally in the bedroom, husband and wife, okay, now you're free. Result: pregnancy!

Browndog said...

What is so amusing about a cult using religion to control every facet of female behavior to the musings of men?

I'm of the opinion that if Althouse is going to post about fatwaa's, she should at least educate herself-

It's not a joke, and hardly amusing.

From a recent Saudi fatwaa that will force women to cover their eyes if they are found to be "seductive", to the Gaza fatwaa banning unmarried women from laughing in public-

For fuck's sake-

These are not jokes, and nobody's laughing.

Meade said...

Fat-wah
You've given me a fat-wah
And I'm thinking of you
And all the things that we used to do
Fat-wah, fat-wah

Jason (the commenter) said...

Althouse: Let paranoia be the thinking style of the day.

I was wondering if it was the theme.

Ann Althouse said...

"These are not jokes, and nobody's laughing."

Have you checked the entire world for laughing?

You know, a "no laughing" rule would be just the kind of bullshit rule some imaginary cleric would propound.

Ironically.

dbp said...

"Then when you're finally in the bedroom, husband and wife, okay, now you're free. Result: pregnancy!"

Back in the 1980's I was a philosophy student and the concept of "memes" was still fairly new. It occurred to me back then that in the natural selection for ideas, actual truth is only one factor of many, that determine a meme's fitness. People who reproduce a lot, will have their ideas as well as their genetic material flourishing into the future.

Ron said...

Have we ever located the Buffalo Wing in the Carrot-Onion Ring Cosmology?

Is fried Calamari the upscale foodie version of the Onion Ring, and would you bring it home to mother?

Rutabagas and Parsnips get no love in this schema, but, come on, just saying their names is intrinsically funny!

Fat-wahs are fine, the current prohibition is the Carb-wah.

Daniel Fielding said...

Ann- Ayatollah Khomeni issued a fatwa saying that laughter or smiling was un-Islamic. Also banned was all manner of levity, because, it was considered to be disrespectful to God

KenK said...

@dpb
So that meme would be "demographics is destiny"? Let the braying jackasses go think the clerics. In the end our numbers will overwhelm them. And who will laugh then?

Meade said...

Ron, lol!

jimspice said...

But I thought the banana was evidence of God's love for man.

Hagar said...

A little while back there was as story in the MSM that an Israeli rabbi had put out a "fatwa" that male IDF soldiers should commit suicide rather tahn allow themselves to be compelled to listen to female soldiers singing, or something like that.

There was not much if any reaction to the story, and I have not seen if anyone bothered to check if there was any truth to it or not.

Ron said...

S'up Meade! Where's my bacon?

A shout out to DylanHouse from Community's Christmas show....
around 1:20

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3Ue_Dj2GXk

Stephen A. Meigs said...

I am given to wondering whether so-called Islamic extremism really has much to do with religion. The main problem I have with Christianity is that it is not hard-assed enough. Christ's teachings to not resist evil are an especial detriment to abused people everywhere, discouraging them from fighting impending abuse and from leaving their abusers. As the Jewish Talmud says,

All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel

In the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate.

(I'd more say it's selfishnes and evil rather than cruelty that deserves to be resisted particularly, but people use words differently, so whatever. Notice the phrase "in the end"--very apt, very apt.)

Anyway, a people living for many generations under the sway of a particular religion can be expected to especially evolve defenses against the main errors and excesses of that religion. Maybe the old religions are getting so dated they are mostly rightly losing influence most everywhere. If so, and if on balance Islam is a more hard-ass religion than Christianity, maybe the Islamic countries are especially vulnerable to getting screwed-up, because Islam, like Judaism, was something that offered protection, and which protected Muslims from much needing strong anti-sodomy defenses to evolve. Anyway, I wonder whether the violence in Islamic countries is mainly a symptom of the countries being more screwed-up than western countries, and whether moderate Islam (moderate in evangelizing but fundamentalist in distaste for sodomizing) might be an especially effective cure, compared with what Christianity would be in a western historically Christian country.

People wonder why the South is so religious. Well, I think it is because (a legacy of a place that sanctioned slavery and fought a war to keep it) there are a (moderately) higher percentage of messed-up people here. People tend to support religion because they don't want to be screwed-up, and when it comes to defining what "screwed-up" involves, people tend to want the traditional customary religious definition peculiar to their place (people are more conformist about what constitutes screwed-up behavior than about anything else, probably). Anyway, as I observed when I was at UNC, religion can be very hypocritical here. I.e., there are many in the South who have more or less total contempt for religion and its basic morals who nevertheless make a big show of going to church every Sunday. I'm not talking about people with mixed emotions about whether something is sinful addiction or innocent fun, leading to a kind of erratic war against matters innocent or otherwise, but people who just go to church to fool people into thinking they are religious. I can imagine that sort of hypocrisy might be more prevalent in Muslim countries than here, what since religion more seems to be influential there (perhaps because people more sense a need for it there).

The literary passage about bananas seemed quite contrary to reality. I do wonder whether bananas are kind of addictive, but if so they are addictive in a very subtle way. I.e., bananas are very easy to resist if one thinks to do so--they are mostly less appealing than other fruit, but they are the easiest thing to eat by accident, without thinking of it. Probably their having lost their seeds has messed the fruit up chemically. I tend to like fruit whose seeds I can swallow. Grape seeds, apple seeds, cherry pits--I swallow them all because I figure that's where the healthy bit is; don't chew them!-- supposedly you can get cyanide poisining from some of them if you do, as one might expect sincee trees don't need their seeds to be chewed but to be passed out in manure.

ricpic said...

Respect! Respect must be paid at all times to the blood curdling atavistic murderous cult of Mohammed.

RAI said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
purplepenquin said...

Ain't just Islam. Catholic convents used to have their cucumbers & carrots delivered already sliced up, on order to not lead the nuns into temptation...

dbp said...

@KenK: He who laughs last, laughs best.

The islamists may succeed in stomping humor out, so while they may last, at least they won't laugh.

edutcher said...

This sort of thing may be the beginning of a Moslem Reformation. When you start to embarrass the kids, they'll eventually make their feelings known.

Ann Althouse said...

I can't help but think this post has something to do with Romney being a Mormon.

Mormons are big into sex. One of our product managers was Mormon and had nine kids.

Heart_Collector said...

Mormons are big into sex. One of our product managers was Mormon and had nine kids.

I think its more about not using contraception to deny life because some consider it to be murder and going aganst the word of god as opposed to being "big into sex".

Ann Althouse said...

"Rutabagas and Parsnips get no love in this schema, but, come on, just saying their names is intrinsically funny!"

Especially if you say ruta-ba-ay-ay-ga.

Meade said...

@Ron, you're welcome. You're welcome for ev-er-y thing!

edutcher said...

Heart_Collector said...

Mormons are big into sex. One of our product managers was Mormon and had nine kids.

I think its more about not using contraception to deny life because some consider it to be murder and going aganst the word of god as opposed to being "big into sex".


No, they're big into it. Having kids, a lot of them, is a big part of what they are. And they were reluctant to give up polygamy.

Besides, when you can bind yourself celestially to Cleopatra and Helen of Troy, you've got something more than theology at work.

cubanbob said...

The sad fact is that even something as transparently ridiculous as this fatwa is plausible given the reported outrages of a number of Muslims.

traditionalguy said...

What will the under endowed Muslim men do when their livestock/women are exposed to cucumbers, especially those Miracle Grow assisted cucumbers that do 4 hours with no shrinkage?

Gary Rosen said...

"I think propagating rumors about a religion is a very bad practice."

And yet you let C-fudd post here. Go figure.

William said...

As every Catholic knows, a certain amount of inhibition provides the libido with healthy exercise and makes it stronger. The good nuns and priests taught me that the world was charged with eros. Such a world was far more entertaining than the present one which is charged with greed and gluttony. My neighborhood in NY has nothing but bakeries and banks. Calories and money. They deaden the senses. We need less bakeries and more convents and brothels ...... Wouldn't it be more fun to live in a world where women were driven to a state of slobbering lust by the mere sight of a cucumber or, especially, a carrot. ((I'm red haired.)

Synova said...

There was a story about a similar rule in one of the Al Qaeda controlled cities in Iraq. There was a list posted and women weren't allowed to eat any of the naughty foods nor sit in chairs. Why the chairs, I have no idea.

"It's worth keeping in mind that a pretty broad range of people are entitled to issue fatwas."

This.

There have been a number of very silly fatwas and no real reason to think they aren't real. To what extent any other Muslims pay attention to them when they aren't issued by armed militants willing to kill anyone who doesn't behave properly, is a different question.

Synova said...

"As every Catholic knows, a certain amount of inhibition provides the libido with healthy exercise and makes it stronger."

The sight of a Victorian ankle was erotic.

What is erotic anymore?

Gary Rosen said...

"The sight of a Victorian ankle was erotic.

What is erotic anymore?"

Multiple labial piercings? Just trying to help out here.

Ron said...

Especially if you say ruta-ba-ay-ay-ga.

First I thought was about Lady RutaBaGaGa, but I see we're staying to Trad. Veg Yodeling... Hank Williams, sr...wasn't "it cooking somethin' up for me' about Rutabagas? Our minds go as we age...

The Commies gave Polio to Doris Day,
But Santa and The Beatles chased McCarthy away!

sorepaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph L said...

as I observed when I was at UNC, religion can be very hypocritical here
Chapel Hill is to the South what Madison is to the rest of Wisconsin. Plus it has a lot of Yankees and other ferriners.

It's one strategy for keeping people reproducing within the family structure
They seem to be good at that already. We're the sex-obsessed people that aren't reproducing enough to keep our societies alive or pay our retirement benefits.

Ralph L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sfw said...

As almost anyone who can recite the entire Koran can become an Iman, there are fatwas (religious rulings) constantly being generated. I'm sure that the fatwa referred to here is true. Have a look at this site for example http://www.askimam.org/ there are many more like it on the internet. Islam is the most prescriptive and proscriptive religion around. I have asked several moslems whether the site above is genuine. They tell me that it appears to be and that it would be a good way to get a ruling on a situation. Check out whether you can sing, how much gold you can wear and what side you should sleep on. Don't go fishing it's haram.

Ralph L said...

Are they worried the foods will arouse women or replace men?

jamboree said...

I'm guessing someone's honorable wife caught someone's honorable daughter doing freaky things with said phallic vegetables and grossed out.

And we all know that grossing out is the sign that there ought to be a law - or an edict - or something to prevent it from ever, ever happening again.

Jason said...

Molly Bloom, call your office!

sorepaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

should cut the items into small pieces

The reason for this is so as not to make the male's penis look smaller than it already is.

Bill said...

Ann Althouse: And, by the way, I say that cleric — if he really exists — is bragging: Even a vague reminder of the shape — and size! — of our turgid man-parts sends our women swooning with desire.

Bragging -- or insecure? "I've seen zucchinis. Your man-part doesn't exactly measure up, does it?"

Gigi said...

Read Azar Nafisi's “Reading Lolita in Tehran”

David said...

Sometimes wondered in the night if a last effort mightn't—(Pause.) Ah finish your booze now and get to your bed. Go on with this drivel in the morning. Or leave it at that. Leave it at that.

David said...

"especially those Miracle Grow assisted cucumbers that do 4 hours with no shrinkage?"

If your cucumber has not shrunk after 4 hours, call your doctor immediately!

Saint Croix said...

Memes about religion penetrate deeply. Use protection.

You crack me up.

Saint Croix said...

Secular memes are more like diddling, I guess.