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Virgins or White Raisins

  • as I mentioned in class, the Qur'an promises Muslims that they will, in heaven, have 72 virgins. Upon looking it up in Wikipedia, turned out the word is either "hur" (white) or "houri" (virgins) and, according to different interpretations, the Muslims can therefore also have been promised 72 white raisins.
  • Here is what Terry Pratchett does with it in Jingo. This is a part of a random conversation between the City Watch Commander Vimes (second most powerful person in the city-state of Ankh-Morpork; he is also my one favorite character and is too awesome but married, damn him) and his direct subordinate Carrot (third most powerful person in said city, although, bits of trivia here, he's actually the heir of the Ankh-Morporkian long forsaken throne):

'Wazir comes from Smale, you see,' said Carrot. 'And Mr Goriff comes from Elharib, and the two
countries only stopped fighting ten years ago. Religious differences.'

'Ran out of weapons?' said Vimes.

'Ran out of rocks, sir. They ran out of weapons last century.'

Vimes shook his head. 'That always chews me up,' he said. 'People killing one another just because their gods have squabbled-'

'Oh, they've got the same god, sir. Apparently it's over a word in their holy book, sir. The Elharibians say it translates as "god" and the Smalies say it's "man".'

'How can you mix them up?'

'Well, there's only one tiny dot difference in the script, you see. And some people reckon it's only a bit of fly dirt in any case.'

'Centuries of war because of a fly crapped in the wrong place?'

'It could have been worse,' said Carrot. 'If it had been slightly to the left the word would have been "liquorice".'

  • If you've never read Terry Pratchett, I VERY strongly recommend him. His writing is, in a (long) sentence, the best of human philosophy compacted into shamelessly good plots, characters and setting, with lots of hilariousness and perfect parody of everything you can think of on top.
  • In the meanwhile, if you think he's taking it too far there, let me give you an example of some serious feuds between Orthodox and Catholic Christians. Among the nature of Jesus's human nature and such, these also include:
    • whether musical instruments can be used in the mass to accompany voice
    • whether people should kneel and fast on Sundays
    • whether the clergy should wear beards
    • and, personal favorite, whether the bread should be leavened or not
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