Monday, February 27, 2012

Do turbans make men hot-headed?

I’m convinced international tensions will ease if from now on all the Korans and all the U.S. flags are constructed of flame-proof material.

The last week has proven that setting fire to symbolic items can prove to be very, well, inflammatory.

Here in America we’re so used to seeing our flag being desecrated that there is minimal outrage. In fact, rather than outrage, it seems to provoke curiosity.

Where do they get all these U.S. flags?

I’ve heard from a number of people who wondered if in these otherwise impoverished nations there are American flag shops on every street corner. Sort of like we have with Starbucks.

People in Karachi who need a quick fix can just hustle off into a little shop that sells nothing but American flags to incinerate. You could get small ones for a jiffy little jolt or get the venti latte equivalent that’s been soaked in kerosene in case some TV cameras are around and you need a really fast flame.

It’s very upsetting for many Americans.

Not so much for me because I understand you can burn the flag but not all that it stands for. We’re so much bigger than that -- at least we were until we started urinating on dead enemies and posting the pissings on YouTube.

There’s so much about the Islamic faith that bewilders. Violence seems like such an instinctual reaction to every challenge.

A cartoonist draws a satirical picture of Muhammed and it’s, “Off with his head!” A beguiling burqa-clad woman tempts her brother-in-law into raping her and it’s, “Off with her (not his) head!" And some boneheaded soldiers burn some Korans -- apparently by mistake (we hope) -- and it’s, “Off with their boneheads!”

They are everything the French -- cie la vie -- are not. The French are such a convenient punching bag here in America, but we could all do with a little more French, meaning lives spent in pursuit of good food, good wine and lots of sex.

They have a historic reputation for surrendering. Hell, we should all considering surrendering to them.

But what to do about a fanatical culture that elevates killing as the solution to so many of life’s challenges?

I’ve spent a lot of time considering how so many people practicing a religion so devoted to peace can become so hot-headed, and I think I’ve found an answer, one I’m a bit reluctant to share because I understand it’s going to come off as culturally insensitive and I don’t want any hot heads coming to slice off my head.

Why are so many Islamists so hot-headed?

It must be the turbans.

A typical turban can be as much as 10-feet long and is wrapped around the head in honor of the prophet Muhammad. It seems like a sensible garment if one were considering an afternoon of ice fishing amidst the wilds of Minnesota.

But in the arid Arab countries where Islam dominates? It makes little practical sense.

Muhammed would have been quite a prophet indeed if he could have foreseen that more than 1300 years after his death he’d still be setting fashion trends.

I think it’s better to emulate the way our deities lived than the way they dressed.

If Christians were to follow the Islamic example, then we’d see men riding the bus to work wearing crowns of thorns -- and if it happens, you can bet it’ll happen first with Rick Santorum.

It was entirely proper for President Obama to apologize for the singed holy books.

It doesn’t make us appear to be a weak nation. It makes us appear to be a considerate one.

It gives us diplomatic leverage to try and affect changes in a culture that seems so bent on earthly destruction.

We should use that leverage to have our soldiers politely ask influential Taliban leaders to consider exchanging their turbans for things like baseball caps.

See, I’m not one of those hot heads who says we should just go kill them all.

The world’s already awash in killings by scriptural experts who think nothing of shedding blood in this world in the belief it’ll earn them good standing in the next.

And, for humanity’s sake, “Off with their turbans!” is a much more nuanced battle-cry than “Off with their heads!”

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