Hallowed Be Thy Thong

The wingers and the bigots and the charlatans and the fools are no match for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the public face of a proposed $100 million Manhattan edifice that would include a swimming pool, gym, basketball court, 500-seat restaurant, culinary school, library, reading room, art studio, child care center, September 11 memorial, and also a mosque.

On Monday, Rauf caused all of their heads to explode, when, in response to their ceaseless ululating that the site was somehow “hallowed ground,” situated as it is two long blocks from the crater of the World Trade Center, he observed mildly that “it’s absolutely disingenuous, as many have said, that that block is hallowed ground,” seeing as how it contains two strip clubs and a betting parlor.

Well, yes, that it does. Women rhythmically remove their cloth-ing at The Pussycat Lounge and New York Dolls, while over at the parlor bettors lay their money down on horses. A customer of the latter scoffed to the Wall Street Journal at the would-be hallowing of the ground, noting that “the bums used to sit right in front of” the former Burlington Coat Factory that the community center will replace.

Chris, employed to strip at The Pussycat Lounge, says she volunteered for the Red Cross after the 9/11 attacks, to which she lost eight friends. But she has no problem with the community center, and no illusions that she dances on hallowed ground.

“It’s all good,” she said of the community center. “You have your synagogues and your churches. And you have a mosque.”

Unlike Chris, many people are not behaving well during this fiasco. Too many folks seem stubbornly determined to again make America the laughingstock of the world. The area around the proposed community center seems to have developed into an eternal freak show: the picture painted by this story is simply hideous. I am glad that I don’t have a television set, so that I don’t have to see this zoo—the images in my head are bad enough.

On the streets near ground zero, anger frothed over with ugly exchanges. An elderly woman was knocked down and was tended to by police, a Muslim man with a small child in a stroller was shouted at for several minutes by an anti-mosque protester, and an attention-seeking man ripped and burned pages of the Quran.

The anger wasn’t limited to the mosque issue. Anti-abortion activists set up shop on Church Street, where a candlelight vigil in support of the mosque was held the night before by organizers who didn’t want to hold an event on the anniversary, and set up graphic signs often shown at anti-abortion rallies.

And the pro-mosque rally outside City Hall, organized by the International Action Center, had an overwhelming anti-war texture, as some protesters wore orange jumpsuits with black hoods, and displayed pictures of the Iraqi prison Abu Ghraib.

Speakers stood on a makeshift stage next to loudspeakers, with one comparing the anti-mosque protesters to Adolf Hitler and saying, “America’s worse than Hitler!”

One man walked up and down the perimeter of the support rally wearing a sign that said “Toilet Paper” with a copy of the Quran hanging from it.

An hour earlier, a baseball cap-clad man who refused to give his name tore pages from a green leather-bound copy of the Quran on Church Street, where the anti-abortion protesters later set up, and screamed as a crush of cameras snapped his acts, “I’m Mapplethorping the Quran!”

At the anti-mosque rally, “Taps” was played, followed by the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and several people brought signs despite being asked not to. Others literally wrapped themselves in the American flag. “USA! USA!” shouts broke out several times.

Two men drifted through the crowd questioning the motives of the anti-mosque demonstrators, prompting one man to shout out an anti-gay slur while another yelled, “You’re in the wrong place!”

An hour into the event, a group of young pro-mosque demonstrators carrying signs rushed the front of the overflow crowd, and had to be removed by cops.

At another point, a small band of apparent college students got into a scuffle with anti-mosque demonstrators near Murray Street as they blew into a horn and talked in support of the project. They were jostled by the people around them, and were ultimately plucked from behind the barricades by cops.

All of these people need to be put in some sort of Home.

Someone named Nelly Braginsky felt compelled to fly in from Europe to demand that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg stop the project at once, and reveal to her his nighttime activities.

“Do you sleep well?” she snapped. “You don’t have a bad dream? Everybody can build everything, but [do not] put one on a cemetery.”

Ms. Braginsky apparently did not notice that “Thunder Lingerie” has already been “built on the cemetery.” That’s the truly lovely edifice pictured above, located a mere three blocks from the crater—a thoroughly disreputable-looking sleaze-wallow that seems to have been imported from the old Times Square.

I mean, this is what people like Newt Gingrich and Sean Klannity and Sarah Palin are seeking to preserve as “hallowed ground”?

It does occur to me that, depending upon style and presentation, it is possible that the erotic arts, as engaged in by people like the sensible Chris, may qualify as “hallowed,” since there is nothing more sacred or worthy of reverence than Eros, the impulse that brings life into this world, and sustains it there.

Not that any Warriors of Thanatos like Palin, Gingrich, or Klannity would ever accept or acknowledge that.

Or you could just be having a bit of a lark, like the boys below.


3 Responses to “Hallowed Be Thy Thong”

  1. 1 Adult Lingerie September 14, 2010 at 5:05 am

    A hallow can also be a sacred place or ancient building or particular day.

  2. 2 possum September 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Sounds like Chris has the right idea. “It’s all good.” If more people were that broad minded we’d all be in a better place today.

    • 3 bluenred September 14, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      Most of the people I’ve known who worked in the erotic arts have maintained a “live and let live” attitude. More, probably, should go into politics. ; )

      It’ll be a while before that happens in this country, though: this is still Puritan Nation.

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