Saturday, March 15, 2008

Humor and Respect

What is humor? Humor is different things to different people. Americans may find something to be very funny, and Iraqis may find it not so funny. Sometimes some of us try to be humorous and end up offending many people - I think am guilty of this, even if I did not intend to offend. I have thought more about my comments on hijab, and why women wear it, and I decided that perhaps I crossed the line and disrespected overweight women. If I did, I apologize. Women - ALL women - should be allowed to wear whatever they want.

So how does one judge whether a cartoon or video is humorous? How far can we go in making fun of each other? In America and Europe we have great freedom - we are allowed to say whatever we want. We are allowed to make fun of each other. We can make fun of the President. We also make fun of foreign Presidents, like Ahmedinejad being gay in NYC. Many people like to push the limit on humor, and Borat has done a good job of that. I have not seen the movie, but it looks too silly, and some parts look disgusting. The actor - Sacha Baron Cohen, has done some great comedy. He became famous as Ali G, and I still think his best skit was Throw the Jew Down the Well, which I wrote about more than a year ago. The audience must have been deceived to think the singer was authentic and really did come from Kazakhstan. But Borat the movie looks bad.

How far can we go when making fun of each others' religions? Some people, especially Shia, might find this video to be offensive. I see humor and disrespect in the video at the same time. The maker of the video (with music) probably did not know who Mohammed Baqr al Hakim was.

My cousin Mohammed in the UK sent me this video, which is an example of an American soldier respecting the Iraqi Shia. The title of the video is "American soldier becomes Shi'i Muslim." Some people may also find it humorous.

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