Tuesday, October 24, 2006
THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO: MOUHAMMED SHAUKAT, SOLDIER OF FREEDOM
I'm not generally given to throwing words like "hero" around. Words like that have always struck me as a cheap way to manipulate the stupid. They are melodramatic and historonic, to boot. And not even melodramatic and historonic in a cute and funny way, like this blog is.
Furthermore, there are very few causes today that make heroes a necessity. I'm not sure that dying in the name of a stupid cause is heroism as much as it is being a gullible putz. And most causes in modern life are unrelentingly, almost violently, stupid. Verily, we live in a world without heroes, and that's probably as it should be.
Of course, there still are some great causes out there. You just have to look really hard for them. Just because most modern problems are celebrations of willful ignorance doesn't mean that all of them are. For example, I believe that the defense of free speech - the single most important right that prevents people like me from having our pretty, pretty feet beaten by swarthy men wth moustaches - is how the very few modern heroes are created.
Free speech is a tricky thing. This is because it neccessarily drives those who enjoy it most up a fucking wall. If you're surrounded by words, phrases, and ideas that make you sick to your fucking guts and the government will do no more than pat you on the tummy and tell you to lie down with a cold cloth over your eyes, you know you are in a free society. This makes Sweden pretty much the only free society left on Earth.
Yes, there are certain limitations on free speech. One cannot, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes opined, "falsely yell fire in a crowded theatre." Also, slander and libel have their price. But other than that, free speech is pretty much what it implies.
At least it should be. As we all know, it isn't. There are irrational limitations on free speech everywhere. The United States government has some truly irrational obscenity laws, and some pretty frightening ways of enforcing them. The Congress has been obsessed for 17 years in trying to pass a flag burning amendment to the Constitution because the Congress has apparently solved all of America's real problems. I'm a Canadian citizen, and my right to free speech is even more inhibited. Were I to turn this blog into a forum of Holocaust denial - even as satire - I could be sent to the federal pokey for two years. Free speech is about tolerance, and people aren't particularly tolerant these days.
You don't need to be a twisted pervert like me to appreciate pornography and other representations of mindless decadence. Yes, I have devoted all of my nearly four decades to the pursuit of hard liquor and loose women, with their soft, willing, fresh-smelling flesh. The things that make me stupid and horny are the things I love most. In my opinion, the intelligent and the chaste are the frustrated and potentially violent. Whenever given the opportunity, I will destroy useless brain cells and empty myself of my bother semen without warning. But I am, after all, a professional. Some men live to lead almost monastic lives devoted to Great ideas. I, on the other hand, live only for Tits and Whiskey. I do these things so you don't have to. No need to thank me.
I'm not suggesting that you have to love the sight of, say, the beautiful Raylene taking a copious blast of hot DNA to the face to be a True Soldier of Freedom, although you probably should. But you do need to tolerate it. Tolerance is what free speech is about. You needn't endorse something to tolerate it. I despise Holocaust denial with every ounce of my black little heart, but I think that the government's attempts to ban it is more dangerous still. That might sound complicated, but it really isn't.
My friend and spiritual mentor, the great Dr. Reverend, visited Eastern Europe some 12 years ago. Just five years prior, the Berlin Wall fell, and those on the wrong side of it finally found themselves free of thier totalitarian shackles. The good Doctor was struck, more than anything, by the massive proliferation of pornography there. Ever since, I have equated pornography not only with pleasant sensations in my loins, but with freedom itself. If you can't stomach a double penetration video, then you just weren't born to be free.
There are some people - a majority of them, perhaps - who stand by meekly as a tyranical government strips them of their freedom. And then there are heroes like Mouhammed Shaukat. Mr. Shaukat is currently doing battle against the evil forces of the City of Brotherly Love in the name of preserving your freedom.
The city of Philadelphia is moving to close down a newsstand near the Liberty Bell whose owner allegedly insists on selling pornography.
He also posted a sign threatening to rape anyone who objects.
City officials say Mouhammed Shaukat was warned to stop displaying pornography at his stand at Sixth and Chestnut streets because of the hundreds of tourists who pass by.
Maybe it's just me and my sick obesession with the English language, but I can't think of a better place to buy a fuck book than the Liberty Bell. Come to think of it, I don't think you can, either.
The City of Philadelphia doesn't see it that way. This is because they are either totalitarian monsters, or they they have a highly honed sense of irony. Something tells me that it is the former rather than the latter. Politicians generally - and low-level, city council, ward-heeling motherfuckers, in particular - are humorless pricks, and not given to seeing the contridiction inherent in banning things close to the Liberty Bell.
Mr. Shaukat does, and this makes him the Greatest Amerian Hero. Audie Murphy and William Katt can both eat me raw for thinking otherwise.
Officials say Shaukat refused and then posted a sign using the f-word and threatening to rape those who complained.
All right, using the "f-word" and threatening to rape folks might seem just a tad drastic. But these are drastic times, which obviously call for drastic measures. It should never have come to this, but Mouhammed Shaukat isn't afraid to stand and be counted among those who would defend your freedom. If nothing else, these things worked in creating Instant Catholics in Spain, didn't it?
Mr. Shaukat sees a city council that perverts the phrase "Liberty Bell" every bit as much as the North Koreans pervert the phrase "Democratic Republic," and he isn't afraid to call bullshit. And if a little forcible penetration happens, then a little forcible penetration happens. Only small children and the mentally addled believe that freedom comes without a price. Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to William S. Smith that "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."
However, the third president of the United States was silent about where that blood would come from or how it would be drawn. It may well be that Jefferson saw that America's first capital, Philadelphia, would be a new Theatre of War in the Cause of Freedom someday. We can't know this as a certainty, but perhaps Jefferson saw a spiritual heir in Mouhammed Shaukat. A torch has been passed. You can disagree with that all you want, but you'll just be telling me that you really don't understand Freedom at all.
Perhaps because of his limited English, Mr. Shaukat is a modest man. In appearing before the city council, he defended his sign thusly; "It's just a writing."
I disagree. It is so much more than "just a writing." In getting a cardboard sign and writing, " Fuck You! I Will Rape You If You Object," Mouhammed Shaukat has wriiten a new Declaration of Independence. Certainly, Mr. Shaukat's sign might be unequal to "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness, " but so is the English comprehension of most Americans. "I will rape you" is much easier to understand, and much more to the point.
Were he more fluent in America's mother tongue, Mouhammed Shaukat could have engaged the city council in a dramatic moment not seen since Jack Nicholson's sillioquy in A Few Good Men.
In that film, Nicholson said the following.
Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
I would go further and suggest that not only Tom Cruise, but Nicholson himself "can't handle the truth." At least not in the way that Mouhammed Shaukat can. Verily, I believe that Mr. Shuakat can deliver an even more impassioned, and honest, speech than did Colonel Jessop.
Here's how I would do it.
Son, we live in a world that has balls, and those balls have to be nutured by men with pornography. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Siad at the five and dime? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for the Liberty Bell, and you curse the pornographers. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That fuck books, while tragic, probably saves marriages. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves marriages. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that corner, you need me on that corner. We use words like porn, stroke magazine, fuck video. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a copy of Black Tail, and stand an adult theatre. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
I proabably could've made that speech better if I wasn't stupid. And drinking all day. But what are you gonna do? It is, as Donald Rumsfeld reminds us, what it is. And, by the way, who are you to argue with me, Jack Nicholson, Donald Rumsfeld and Mouhammed Shaukat?
Easy Listening Recommendation of the Day: Tits And Whiskey By: Mary Prankster From: Blue Skies Over Dundalk
Labels: I Fought The Law, Modern Heroes