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Monday, May 26, 2008

GOD AND THE ALTER COCKERS

I remain amazed that religious zealots continue to believe that morality can be legislated, as proven yet again when General Rezar Zarei, the chief of the infamous “Chastity Police” in the capital of the religious “New Think” kingdom of Iran, was arrested last year in a brothel with six, count ‘em, six, prostitutes. And why does prostitution never get credit for helping to create full employment? Yes, it’s degrading and demeaning work, but so is being a janitor. I have been a janitor, and trust me, when people are being polite, you are invisible. When they do notice you, they usually treat you as if you are what you have to clean up. So don’t tell me that a woman selling her body is demeaning herself, not in a capitalist economy. If anybody is demeaned in prostitution it’s the customer. Paying a prostitute is like paying somebody to chew your food. Never mix religion and sex. Once you get those two confused you are on a slip-n-slid directly to hell.
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General Zarei was chosen by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to prosecute sin in Mohammed’s city on the hill. Under General Zarei’s tutelage (and endless lectures on television) single men and women learned that dancing together could result in a whipping, married couples learned that holding hands in public could result in a whipping, and women learned that showing their hair in public could result in a whipping, wearing make-up could result in a whipping, wearing colorful clothes might result in a whipping, or in any way shape or form pissing off the “Chastity Police” could result in a whipping, and maybe death by stoning, and not being stoned in a fun way. So when this sanctimonious hypocrite lined up six prostitutes in a brothel and ordered them to strip naked and then pray, he could not plead ignorance of the law: just a gross violation of the “yuck” factor. And this year when the General committed suicide in prison I joined everybody else on earth in saying, “Good riddance to bad rubbish”. *
And for the devotedly devout in Iran it was supposed to be that simple. Alive the General was a reminder that religious zealots might be men of God but mostly they are just men. Dead, he was out of sight and out of mind and quickly forgotten, which is the traditional mindset of theocracies from King David to the demigod from Crawford. Thus it becomes clear again why the Bush administration is so obsessed with the threat posed by Iran, a nation of 70 million people, with an annual gross domestic product of just $852 billion, mostly oil pumped from an aging infrastructure (the U.S GDP is $13 trillion, or more than 13 times bigger). Looking at the Ayatollahs is like looking in a mirror for Shrub, and as the old Mills Brothers song says, “You always hurt the one you love, the one you shouldn’t hurt at all….So if I broke your heart last night, It’s because I love you most of all.” Its clear logical thinking like that which got O.J. Simpson arrested for a double homicide, and got America into an argument with the tar baby that is Iraq.
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There have long been rumors that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Tehran “Chastity Police” are funded in part by a protection racket in Teheran’s red light district. They justify this by pretending that it keeps them independent from the “moderate” politicians who would seek to restrain them. But it also means that it is impossible to clean out the sin of prostitution in the city without a wholesale counter-revolution to remove the very people who are supposed to be guarding the morals of the city. And it also means that the Iranians are having just as much luck channeling violent young men and pain-in-the-ass alter cockers into productive pursuits as the rest of the whole damn world at any moment in time over the last 10,000 years. I call this “The Centurion Problem”, after the Roman soldiers who so beautifully exemplified it. Violent young men with no respect for their own or anybody else’s mortality make great soldiers because all you have to do is give them neat toys and point them at an enemy. With an army of such men, commanded by grumpy old soldiers, you can build an empire, which will last until they notice that it’s a lot easier to pillage and rape at home, than to march all the way to someplace far away before you can start burning, pillaging and raping.
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So it is not an accident then that what the Crawford Prophet has in common with the Muslim extremists is a blind faith in an irrational God. The very concept of God is irrational, which does not mean there is no Allah or Christ or Yahweh or Dharma, just that he/she/them/it cannot be rational because faith is not rational. Nor is it rational to go to all the trouble of lining up six prostitutes, getting them naked and then ordering them to prostrate themselves in prayer, not without at least praying with them, for Christ’s sake! But the real trouble is not having faith. The real failure of Shrub and the Chastity is that they are the blind presuming to lead the blind.
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