Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Music Man and The Burqa

Heed the warning before it's too late!
Watch for the telltale signs of corruption!

The first Broadway musical I ever saw, way back in 1958 on my eighth birthday, was The Music Man. It took me another 12 years to comprehend that the show lampooned American closed-mindedness about sex, leisure, the Puritan work ethic, alcohol use, and a plain old verve for life.

One fine night, they leave the pool hall,
Headin' for the dance at the Arm'ry!
Libertine men and scarlet women!
And rag-time, shameless music
That'll grab your son and your daughter…

We rightly find the burqa disturbing, and I think the French – heavens forbid in this francophobic country of ours – are on the right track in curtailing its use. The burqa is degrading to women, all women, of any faith or ethnic background, a slap in their collective face casting them as somehow being responsible for “sin.”

It is also an insult to men, positioning them as eternal adolescents who somehow can’t control their surging hormones when they see an uncovered woman outside the home.

As Robert Preston sang as Professor Harold Hill in “Trouble,”

The first big step on the road
To the depths of degradation…
I say, first, medicinal wine from a teaspoon,
Then beer from a bottle!

This is the reactionary impulse embodied in the burqa. One little glimpse, one little glance, a hint, a nuance… and the dam will break and a pent up reservoir of lust will be loosed upon the world. France, and Gaul before it, among other places, has gotten along quite nicely without women covering their faces for a few thousand years.

While Western values are not the only path to social and cultural improvement, in our fitful, too-slow way we proceed. And more importantly, we hope to proceed.

Finally, the Koran makes no reference to the wearing of a burqa. This is some dreamed up vision of society – not unlike that imposed by St. Paul beyond the four gospels upon Christianity – in which women are cast in roles as temptresses, harlots, and adulterers, with men their witless, childish victims ensnared in an endless teenage boyhood.

The burqa has no place in the Western World. It has no place in the Islamic World either, but that is a larger discussion.

We've surely got trouble!
Right here in River City!
Remember the Maine, Plymouth Rock
and the Golden Rule!

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