World's Muslims Lighten Up

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Issue 3202

Football Star Rusty In Sloppy Preseason Drug Bust

OAKLAND, CA—Oakland Raiders' cornerback Demetrius Phillips looked unimpressive in his first drug arrest of the preseason Monday, surrendering to police after a three-minute car chase and engaging in possession of less than two grams of marijuana. Adding to the lackluster quality of the bust, police said that as Phillips was handcuffed and carried off, he failed to shout, "Get your hands off me—I'll fuck you up, motherfuckers," ending a three-arrest streak. "Demetrius really looked rusty out there today," said Raiders defensive-backs coach Denny Carlisle. "If this was the middle of the season, he would have had at least 10 grams of coke on him and a loaded revolver, easy. He's definitely got his work cut out for him before the season opener."

Marilu Henner Named U.S. Secretary Of Mid-Level Talent

WASHINGTON, DC—In an official White House ceremony Monday, President Clinton appointed actress Marilu Henner the first-ever U.S. Secretary of Mid-Level Talent. "Until now, the needs of America's approximately 2,500 mid-level celebrities have been sorely ignored in Washington," Clinton said. "But I am confident that Secretary Henner, with her large but not overly impressive acting resume and her not-that-huge fame, is well-suited to represent marginally talented Americans like Mariette Hartley, Rene Auberjonois, Eileen Brennan and Peabo Bryson." For Henner's first act in office, she plans to promote awareness of veteran character actor Robert Wuhl, a supporting actor in Batman and Bull Durham, and star of the HBO original series Arli$$, "a man who still," Henner told reporters Tuesday, "exists."

Thing Happens

SUMATRA, INDONESIA—According to an unconfirmed report, a thing happened Monday, though experts say it is still not clear exactly what the thing was. "All we know at this time," University of Prague professor of phenomenology Rupert Heiden said, "is that some kind of thing happened." Ordinary citizens, meanwhile, are struggling to put the thing into proper perspective. "You just don't expect a thing like this to happen," Stockton, CA, resident Pamela Worthington said. "Not with things the way they've been." In a statement released late Tuesday, President Clinton urged all Americans to remain calm and allow things to take their natural course. "These things happen," he said.

Incorrect Pain-Reliever Brand Choice Results In Missed Job Promotion

SAN FRANCISCO—In a tragic case of pain-reliever brand choice gone wrong, Gus Farber, an assistant sales-team project coordinator with the marketing firm of Integrated Management Solutions, missed a rare opportunity for job advancement Monday due to an error in headache-relief medication selection.

YES vs. NO

That in 1997 the manufacture of erotic novelty cakes is still the responsibility of the federal government is preposterous.
It is high time that erotic-cake production be privatized, both to improve their quality through free-market competition and to spur economic growth.

Lilith Fair Fever

Lilith Fair, the all-female tour started by singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan, is the hit of the summer concert season. Why are so many responding to it?

Ask A Faulknerian Idiot Man-Child

Benny Upton is a nationally syndicated advice columnist whose weekly column, Ask A Faulknerian Idiot Man-Child, appears in over 250 newspapers nationwide.

Ghost Of Carl Sagan Warns Against Dangers Of Superstition

ITHACA, NY—Appearing as a hovering, wraith-like vision above the Cornell University Physics Building where he taught for years, the ghost of recently deceased astronomer/author Carl Sagan warned former colleagues Monday against a belief in superstition. "Exercise skepticism!" Sagan said, clanking a large metal chain. "Whenever possible, there must be independent confirmation of all facts pertaining to any so-called 'magical' or 'mystical' event or phenomenon!" Added Sagan: "One should always encourage vigorous debate on the nature of rational inquiry and empirical evidence. A thinking person must always utilize the scientific method, or wear the chains of superstition throughout eternity!" Cornell physics department head Arthur Ludyvik said that he would heed Sagan's warning and buy a special anti-superstition crystal amulet and incense cone.

Bring It On

Girl, if you have any question in your mind as to whether I can satisfy you, bring your body to me now.

I Have Another New Nurse Again

Throughout my long and eventful life I have always steadfastly opposed change. Imagine my helplessness, then, when my longtime nurse, wretch that she is, rode off with Black Scarlet, rogue bandit of the open road and my sworn arch-enemy, who, damn it all, remains at large.
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World's Muslims Lighten Up

JERUSALEM—In the most significant Islamic ideological pronouncement since a 732 AD pledge to drive the Hebrews into the sea, the world's approximately 975,000,000 Muslims announced plans Monday to "lighten up a bit."

After centuries of strict fundamentalism, PLO leader Yasir Arafat and his fellow Muslims are finally taking things a little less seriously.

"For the past dozen centuries or so, perhaps we took things a little too seriously," Arab League president Ibn Raouf-Abdel said. "Yes, abstaining from strong drink and hiding women's faces from view and castrating blasphemers are all great. But isn't there more to life? What about flying a kite? Or swinging on a swing? Or cakes at birthday parties?"

The change of heart came as the result of an incident during a Sacred Sword of Righteousness rally Monday in Damascus, Syria. According to witnesses, as SSR leader Waleed bin Aziz mounted the steps leading to the stage, he tripped over his robe, causing him to lose his balance and fall face-first into an audience member's bowl of yogurt. At first, those in attendance held their breath and stifled their laughter for fear of execution. But then, bin Aziz stood up and, after a long pause, threw up his hands and erupted in laughter, breaking the tension and freeing up the crowd to do the same.

"You know," said Abdullah Sadiiq, who was at the rally, "we haven't all shared a good laugh like that for, oh, it must have been at least a good 1,500 years. And you know what? It felt great."

Within hours, word of the humorous episode had spread throughout the Arab world, inspiring hundreds of millions of people to adopt a more lighthearted, easygoing attitude.

Among the strict beliefs now being reconsidered as a result of the incident is the centuries-old Islamic dress code for women.

"Yes, woman was born to be servant to man," Beirut University professor Mahmoud bin-Gemayel said. "Absolutely. But do they have to wear those hot, uncomfortable black outfits with the face veils all the time? There must be some other way they could show men their subservience."

Changes were also evident in Kabul, Afghanistan, where extremist Taliban leaders have overhauled their strict penal code. For centuries, traditional law decreed that those caught stealing would have their hands cut off in the public square. In the future, however, thieves will merely be stripped nude, whipped, covered in dung and chased by dogs through the streets for several hours before being jailed.

"It never made much sense to cut off their hands, anyway," Taliban member Khalif al Tabbouk said. "After all, they can hardly be expected to earn a living through honest labor after their crime if they don't have any hands, right?"

Sultan Reza bin Yutil of Oman, said to be one of the world's richest men, showed his support for the new "lighten-up" approach by forcibly embracing a visitor, then turning to a group of his servants and clapping his hands, shouting, "Prepare a feast!"

"Everyone likes a nice feast," bin Aziz said.

Perhaps no one was more pleased by the lighten-up policy than author Salman Rushdie, whose death was called for by Islamic leaders in 1988 following the alleged blasphemy of his controversial book The Satanic Verses. Rushdie's death sentence was formally rescinded Monday by a coalition of Islamic leaders, who told him, "It was an honest mistake, just try not to do it again." To make it up to Rushdie, 16 Arab nations chipped in and bought him a pasta maker.

"Ideally, yes, we would still like to avenge history with the blood of our enemies," PLO leader Yasir Arafat said Tuesday during an appearance on Late Show With David Letterman. "But there has got to be a nicer, more reasonable way to do it."

Added Arafat: "By the way, have you read about what's been going on in China, Dave? They're executing suspected drug traffickers and banning student demonstrations. It's crazy over there."

Spokespersons for the world's fundamentalist Christians said that under no circumstances would they lighten up.