Monday, October 1, 2007

Hamas Bans Violence! Oh. Violins

Hamas has done it. They've pushed me over the edge. It's official: they've banned violins, piano, & flutes -- only drums are allowed. Why? You guessed it. Only drums are mentioned in the Koran (I'll stick to the anglicized word, thank you.). And drums are most appropriate to an institutionalized religion so dependent on warring against its foe.

Girard, in Violence and the Sacred points to anthropological data of rival communities whose "program of entertainment included a series of 'chest pounding duels,' ostensibly of friendly intent and traditional to the occasion. At the moment when the imminent defeat of one team threatened to turn the contest into a bloody battle, 'the women and children began to cry, knowing that the situation was getting serious, and they grouped into the farthest corners of their houses near the exits" [140].

But have you ever heard of a "violin-scraping match"? a "piano-thrubbing smackdown"? or a "fearsome flute-flummoxing"? (Okay, okay - "Dueling Banjos doesn't count; neither does Donald and Daffy's piano-duel in "Roger Rabbit") No? But the drum, if chest-thumping gets a bit old, fits perfectly! You even have a club in your hand.

The violin, piano, and flute, on the other hand, are the West's highest expressions of musical instruments. They work in concert (sorry) under the baton of a conductor, and each can evoke perhaps the most splendid works of individual mastery and beauty known in the history of the human race.

Keep the drum. We'll keep the Strads, Steinways, and Pearls. But in a pinch, we'll get out the bag-pipes. Then you're really in trouble. Ever seen Braveheart?

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