So, here's the thing about that Daniel Tosh “rape joke” controversy from a few weeks ago: Yes, it was a stupid, terrible joke. Not so much because of the topic itself—you can make funny jokes about rape—but because of the crassness and uninteresting way he presented it. It was an act of desperation by a desperate comedian, and for that, he was thusly ridiculed. But also, a thing to keep in mind, is that in all of those Tumblr screeds and annoying Facebook rants no one called for Tosh's head on a stake. At least, not literally.
Not so with a case in Somalia last week, where a comedian was given the lifelong hook for telling jokes that some people felt was inappropriate. As you'd imagine, that subject was religious.
Abdi Jeylani Malaq was a 43-year-old comedian known throughout the region as someone who'd use his comedic mind to take on the ridiculous people behind al Qaeda, especially the folks associated with them who are hanging around Mogadishu. And, as happens when religious beliefs are introduced into an equation, things started to get extreme when people didn't agree with his material: One night, after working at the radio station where he produced and performed, two gunmen met him in the street and shot him dead. Not being able to take a joke is really the worst sin of all.
Onto the roundup!
- All of us missed it, but back in the 80s James Dobson and his Focus on the Family group figured out how to “win” the war on pornography. If someone's looking for a birthday present for me—I'm a Virgo!—you could do worse than splurging for a VHS copy of the entire thing. http://www.amazon.com/Winnable-War-Fight-Against-Pornography/dp/B001DR1OW2
- A federal judge ruled the “most extreme abortion ban” law in Arizona constitutional, meaning there's a big fear that “mothers of babies with fatal birth defects will be forced to carry their pregnancies to term, give birth, and then watch their babies die.” Fun times!
- Mitt Romney decided to stick his nose in the whole Israel/Palestine situation by basically saying, “Good job on making money, Israel! Those stupid Palestinians can't earn like you Jews!” Which, you know, didn't go over so well in Palestine.
- Don't worry, Texas Rangers fans. Josh Hamilton figured out why he's in such a slump: He was being naughty. “There's disobedience and there's obedience to God. I've been being disobedient.” Twenty bucks he was being disobedient by doing that whole spilling-his-seed-on-the-ground thing.
- This week in Chick-fil-A: A pastor in Texas said it's not over-the-top to think homosexuals can quickly morph into pedophiles; Wonkette tracked down a treasury of assholes; a writer wrote a thing about how this boycott is really everyone being angry at the Jesus; the company itself is being sued for gender discrimination after allegedly firing an employee so she could be a “stay-home mother.”
- On Sunday in Yemen, a drone-strike by the U.S. took out five militants, and then a suicide bomber killed 45 people who were attending a funeral.
- Also on Sunday, to remind us we're not immune to religious-based warfare on this side of the ocean, a gunman in Wisconsin barged into a Sikh temple and murdered six people.
- In France, a couple of pigs' heads were hung outside of a mosque. Crack symbolism experts believe this has to do with Muslims religiously not being allowed to partake in the delicacy of pork.
- A couple of car bombs went off in Baghdad—one outside a restaurant, the other outside of a courthouse—putting an end to the lives of 19 people.
- Oh, about goddamn time: the Westboro Baptist Church's about to be banned from protesting military funerals with their “God Hates Fags” nonsense. Sure, there's all sorts of First Amendment implications to consider with this news, but there's also dick implications, as in this law only affects dicks.
- Iran just won't give up on trying to learn how to make those nukes, most likely to blow up Israel and start World War III, so the U.S. tried to avert that projection by announcing another set of sanctions against the country, this time taking on the country's banks and their oil production. That'll certainly work!
- After 10 years in the books, Israel's Tal Law—which allowed ultra-Orthodox Jews an exemption from serving in the country's military—finally expired. They all now have 30 days to prep themselves for one big military draft.
- Mike Kelly, Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, spoke about the requirement that private insurance couriers must provide birth control coverage as part of so-called Obamacare. And, of course he just had to compare it to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, because why the hell not?
- A new constitution was passed in Somalia, and boy is it a mixed bag. On the one hand, it protects the right to an abortion if it saves the mother's life. On the other, it clearly states the only religion that can be propagated in the country is Islam, and all laws must be “approved” by Sharia Law. Also, right before the constitution was passed two suicide bombers tried to blow themselves up—“tried” because they were shot dead before they activated the bombs—outside of the meeting.
- During a protest on July 22nd in Israel concerning their economic hardships, a 45-year-old wheelchair-bound military veteran poured gasoline on himself and set himself on fire. He finally died from his injuries last week.
- In Afghanistan, five al Qaedas were killed in a gun battle, and 24 Taliban insurgents were axed in nebulous gun-happy “operations.”
- A bomb went off in the Kenya capital of Nairobi, killing one. Most think this is the work of Islamish al-Shabab.
- Say hello to our first hipster religious leader: Please welcome Iran Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to Instagram! Follow him, and have fun “liking” the eventual slew of anti-Semitic photos with old-timey filters.
- Oh, just for the hell of it, here's a photo of Brigham Morris Young—son of Mormon super-leader Brigham Young, and great-great-great-grandson of 49ers quarterback Steve Young—in drag. Brigham Young, himself, had himself a whooping 55 wives, it should be noted.
- And our Person of the Week: Commenter “Colin,” who delivered one hell of a gem over at the CNN Belief Blog this week. In response to mostly ridiculous column by Pastor Rob Brendle from the Denver United Church, about where “God was” during the Aurora massacre, “Colin” wrote one hell of a screed about where He was, in the voice of God himself. For instance: “Take five minutes to make two lists; one of those ailments I will miraculously cure and the other of those I will not. You will quickly find it coincides perfectly with those conditions medical science (or the human body itself) can defeat and those we cannot. Why do you think that is? It is almost as my miracles are created out of medical ambiguity isn’t it?” The whole thing's worth a read.
Previously - A Hero in Someone's Mind