Hey all, this same piece is posted at my blog, Good Reason News, but there you get a hilarious video as a bonus for visiting. As always, I'm happy to discuss, explain or correct anything. Thanks for reading.
Actor Jason Alexander, Seinfeld's 'George Costanza,' is pushing a program he created, called Imagine: 2018
, in which Israeli and Palestinian high school students are asked to write stories about their vision of a world 10 years after a hypothetical Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. I assume he means a functioning one. But in a recent article
he provided some interesting insight.
"Jewish humor is self-deprecating humor," said Alexander, who is Jewish. "Nothing makes a Jew laugh more than jokes about Jewishness. It's purely speculation, but my guess is that's probably not as true for the Arab world."
Alexander's not making any statements about Arabs, other than revealing his and most people's perceptions. And who can disagree? Hardline Islamic stances on music, dancing, and sports
give the religion such a joyless face.
So it may come as a surprise to him, as it did to me, that there seems to be a small uprising of Muslims trying to connect with the rest of the world through comedy
. Here's an even better piece from NPR
on some of the same comedians. Look, there was even an Ara-American Comedy Festival
in New York last month, featuring several Muslim performers.
I remember on 9/11 my dad and I having a talk about how could these cultures ever come together, and we both arrived at comedy and music. Yesterday I talked about 'Christian quiet
' as a measure of suppression. In Muslim culture suppression is achieved chiefly through isolation.
So this Muslim comedy movement is a huge step. It's an example of Muslims symbolically throwing off their own Burqas
, without anyone tearing them off. Their dipping their toes into the cool waters of secular society and simultaneously, bridging the gap.