A Black Comedy in Three Acts
1.1 A Bad Case of Dogmatic Distress
It’s a slow night. At one end of the bar Gerry and Bob are listening to Archie, the bartender, tell a joke. Just above, and to the side of where they are sitting, is a large television monitor (the sound is off).
It’s Johnny’s first visit to Maxies since he was shot outside the television station where he works. Cane in hand, he limps up to the bar. Archie interrupts his joke to greet him and shake hands.
Archie: Johnny, how are you? How have you been? It’s been a while. Sit down. I’ll get you a beer. Coors light, right?
Johnny: Not tonight. Make it a scotch; no ice, no water. Dalwhinnie if you've got it. And if you don’t mind, I’ll just stand.
Archie: Does it still hurt?
Johnny: What do you think!
[Just then, the news comes on and there is Johnny walking out of the hospital. Archie picks up the remote behind the bar and turns the sound on.]
Hijab-Wearing Newsreader: Johnny MacDonald, the well known host of One-on-One with Johnny MacDonald was released from hospital this morning. As we reported last week, it was while walking home, after hosting a series of controversial interviews about the breakup of Canada that he was shot by a distraught viewer who, the police say, was suffering from a severe case of Dogmatic Distress Syndrome or DDS.
The immediately identifiable cause of his distress was a discussion of religion’s impact on the breakup of Canada. The exact cause of the distress we cannot disclose as it would violate the shooter's privacy rights.
The producers of One-on-One with Johnny MacDonald have already profusely apologized to Macdonald's assailant for any suffering the opinions expressed by the thoughtless host of One-on-One may have caused.
The police, while praising Johnny MacDonald's aggressor for relieving his distress without actually killing Mr. MacDonald, would like to remind viewers that the law now provides harsh penalties for those who would deliberately or even inadvertently cause a believer to experience a traumatic religious episode.
If it’s not too much trouble, if you are experiencing dogmatic distress because of something somebody said or wrote about your religion, please call the police and let the law deal with the cause of so much pain and discomfort.
[Archie turns the sound off]
Archie: So, will you be going to prison?
Johnny: No. Ayatollah Domeini reminded the police of Allah’s compassionate and merciful nature, and asked them to be lenient. I will only have to pay a large fine, and make another public apology expressing regret for any dogmatic distress anything I said during The Interviews may have caused.
Archie: So, exactly what was it that pissed off the guy who shot you?
Johnny: At one point during my talk with Domeini I said that my first impression of Islam was that it was the creation of a child-like mind. That Islam had a child-like quality about it; a child’s certainty in having absolute knowledge of the world around him; a child’s intolerance of others who won’t play the game by his rules.
Archie: And the Ayatollah agreed with that?
Johnny: Yes. He said Allah values children, their innocence, their uncorrupted, simple, unsophisticated view of the world.
Archie: So what was this guy’s problem?
Johnny: He felt that I insulted the Prophet with my reference to a child-like mind.
Archie: That’s it! And he almost killed you for that! You were not making fun of his beliefs; you were not insulting his invisible friend!
Johnny: No I wasn't, but he thought I was making fun of the almighty's self-proclaimed last and greatest spokesperson, and that is just as bad, if not worse.
Archie: I could almost understand it when they passed that law, you know the law that said only religious experts could offer an opinion on what Allah meant to say after some MP got the ball rolling with a motion saying we were all racists and Muslim haters for challenging Islam's right to Lord it over everybody; but the cops praising a guy, instead of arresting him, for almost killing you ... How did we come to this?
Johnny: Years ago a newspaper in Europe published mostly innocent cartons of the Prophet Muhammad. Some believers said BOO and freedom of speech got a lot less free. In Canada, the new restrictions on freedom of speech gave rise to religious vigilantism as a means of enforcing compliance with the new limits on freedom of speech. This came on the heels of that damned motion you referred to and which is also responsible, as far as I'm concerned, for the not-very-funny joke that is DDS, a medical condition you catch from nonbelievers. Give me a break.
Archie: But this guy was not a religious vigilante, was he?
Johnny: I don't know, but the cops can't take the chance that Islamic fanatics who would like nothing better than to be martyred by cops will not seek revenge if they don't threat their like-minded friend right; and they know he has the DDS defence to fall back on if they arrest him, so why risk your life for nothing.
Archie: No wonder the cops fell over themselves to praise the guy who shot you.
Johnny: Just like the rest of us, they are afraid. Just like the media which masked its fear of offending the followers of the Religion of Truth by having hijab and niqab wearing women, of the now ubiquitous faith-in-your-face newscast, deliver the news if Islam is even remotely part of the story.
Archie: Religion of Truth. Who says?
Johnny: The guy who shot me and he has God's Word on it. His god anyway.
48:28 It is He Who sent forth His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may exalt it above every other religion. Allah suffices as Witness.
Archie: Who am I to argue with a god, or that guy. So what's left to talk about now that words have joined sticks and stones as stuff that will physically harm you, that won't get you in trouble with the law or the faith full?
Johnny: Weather, sports ...
Archie: So, Johnny, nice weather were having. Did you catch the game last night?