A BBC report suggests:
Stand-up comedy is drawing appreciative audiences in Saudi Arabia, where cinemas and many forms of public entertainment are still banned and men and women prohibited from socialising in public.Article/film clip
Some people are managing to put shows on at secret locations, away from the religious police.
When I was a kid, there used to be an expression that went, "don't stick beans up your nose." It was a joke based on the mother who had to leave home to run an errand, but before she went, she left her children with several instructions for acceptable behavior, one of which was, "and don't stick beans up your nose." The kids, who had never entertained the idea of sticking beans up their noses ... well, you get the drift.
All you have to do to make something alluring is to say, "don't do that!" The advice may be very good, but the question and scent remains ... what would that be like? Don't think of a purple cow!
As a result, there are 'underground' comedy clubs in Saudi Arabia -- places the religious police (I do have a hard time getting my head around that one) will not exercise their restrictive viewpoint.
All of this made me wonder idly if there were any correlation between the youth of a spiritual endeavor and its propensity for rigid strictures. Christianity, Judaism and Islam are relative new-comers. Hinduism and Buddhism are pretty old. The moment the thought is out of my mind's mouth, I can think of exceptions. Each religion will have its strict and playful streams, but I am over-generalizing here ... and wondering:
The younger the player, the more inclined towards spit-shined rigidities?
More interesting and important than the social possibilities of this speculation are the internal potentials. I wonder if, when we find ourselves in some hardened position as regards spiritual practice, we cannot rightly infer that we are exercising an immature approach ... not naughty or bad, just immature and worth examination. To the extent that anyone exercises and interest in spiritual endeavor, don't we all build some pretty sturdy police stations, write some pretty fiery rule books, and drive the comedy acts 'underground?'
I suppose we could chalk all this righteousness all up to "youthful indiscretions" except for the fact that the Peter Pan syndrome is afoot and there are those who are well and truly determined not to grow up: If they're going to be miserable -- brimming with virtues to inflict on others -- you can be sure they will try to make you miserable too.
I'm probably making too much out of all of this. Everyone is young at one time or another and everyone grows up (with luck) at some point. There is no talking someone out of stupidity, so the best any of us can do is to try to talk ourselves out of it.
As American humorist Will Rogers put it:
There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
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