Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Never Been Plucked

Those of you who keep up with the news on terrorism will have seen this:

Islamist Website Design Contest: Winner Fires Missiles at U.S. Army Base in Iraq

Yaakov Kirschen, an Israeli cartoonist who writes Dry Bones Blog, posted a cartoon in response, Terror on the Web, which depicts two excited 'youths' -- as the French might say -- looking at a computer screen:

Youth 1: "A contest for designing a website for an Iraqi terrorist organization?"

Youth 2: "Yes! The winner gets to fire three missles at American troops by pressing a button on his own computer."

Youth 1: "And what do the losers get?"

Youth 2: "Let's see . . . Losers get '72 Virgins.'"

At that, both youths look crestfallen.

The humor here lies in the fact that -- as Kirschen notes -- "These days '72 virgins' is synonymous with 'go kill yourself!'"

I guess that this is morbid humor, but I share it. So, I posted a comment:
Virgins?

Actually, the losers just get 72 dried-on-the-vine raisins.

Never been plucked!

Hence the misunderstanding.
The humor here -- if there is any -- lies in the wordplay on "plucked" and the knowledge of Christoph Luxenberg's book Die Syro-Aram√§ische Lesart des Koran. Ein Beitrag zur Entschl√ľsselung der Koransprache (review here), which argues that much of the Qur'an stems from Aramaic sources and that what has been long interpreted as houris, those putative virgins of a promiscuous paradise eagerly awaiting the Muslim martyr, are actually . . . uh, "white raisins."

Well . . . raisins are better than nothing, I guess.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home