Sunday, January 18, 2015

(Pictures of) things forbidden by Islam

Pluot likes to think it has a reason to pay attention to the serious things of this world, even though a wine, food, and cocktail blog maybe shouldn't. It seems frivolous and disrespectful to the dead to do so; but it seems ignorant and disrespectful to the dead not to do so.
  

The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were murdered because they drew unflattering pictures of Mohammed. (Although to say even that is to degrade their memory. They were murdered because their murderers were evil men who "made the personal decision to end their lives." Years ago when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, I remember a rabbi at a memorial service used exactly those words to describe the crime -- the Prime Minister was killed not "because of" his political acts but because one man made the personal decision that Yitzhak Rabin should not go on living. The responsibility is the killers', no one else's.) Molly Norris is still in hiding -- incredibly -- because she drew lots of little pictures of ordinary things , each one cartoonishly announcing "I'm the real Mohammed!" -- a cup and saucer, a spool of thread. No kidding.

Only there are so many things forbidden in Islam. To draw or post pictures of any or all of them is barely to begin to inventory Western civilization. Andrew McCarthy offers a partial list: Islam forbids:
  • musical instruments
  • "pictures of animate life" -- people, animals, plants; so, oddly enough I suppose you could draw a picture of a harp or a violin, but not have one or play one
  • singing, unless unaccompanied by instruments and based on Muslim texts encouraging obedience to Allah. Go here for a taste of the former Cat Stevens expressing his longing for "victory over the kuffar" in one of these "nasheeds."
  • drinking alcohol   
  • women leaving their homes without male permission and/or uncovered
And so on. Therefore the wine bottle label shown above, Orin Swift's Abstract (retail, about $30), is offensive to Islam on several points. We are looking at pictures of animate life, pictures of uncovered women, we are looking at alcohol. Just think what else, not on this label but in general, is not merely "offensive" to display, but not permitted in life.



A harpsichord, decorated with pictures of animate life.




A harp. Pink! And ...





...if musical instruments are forbidden, then so is Mozart. 





And so is she. Maria Callas. Woman, uncovered, outside the home without male permission. Singer. Triple, or is it quadruple? whammy.




Animate life, woman, uncovered, etc. 




You get the idea, above, as Bacchus offers you a glass of wine, and below, as you admire animate life. And there is a woman in the sun, rather well-covered actually.  But still.




Let's have more wine. Appropriately, almost all those pictured here today are rich, opulent, port-like reds. Good for winter sipping and winter meals, good for symbolizing our rich, opulent civilization. Don't take it for granted.

The Cuttings, from The Prisoner wine company. Retail, about $50.



Fog Head pinot noir. Not as port-like as the previous two wines, but a pinot noir also not, I daresay, made in the spare or earthy Burgundian style. And delicious, too. Retail, about $20.



Quinta do Noval Late Bottled Vintage port, 2005. Retail (if available) about $30. Port-like, because it's, well -- port. Note the tart, clean juiciness that sprawling, lush California jam-bombs tend not to have.



Now I have uploaded quite a few images that are not mine, so it is possible that in a few weeks or months, the interwebs' copyright patrol might find them and take them down, even though I have been careful to link to all their sources. So here are a few others, all my own. I call them Animate Life.
















(You can barely tell, but a heron keeps pace with a speedboat here. Or, as Ayatollah Khomeini once said, "there is no fun in Islam.")


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