Saturday, October 18, 2008

And the nether the twain shall meet . .

Here's your cultural education moment of the day or week.

There's a new videogame coming out that has the technorati all atwitter in anticipation (and the sky is blue!); apparently Spore wasn't all that in terms of user interface and world-creation, but LittleBigPlanet is.

Western culture tends to have 2 modes for adding religious context into popular media: sledgehammer and subtle. Both are sometimes used well, but the far overwhelming majority of well-done applications are subtle.

LittleBigPlanet's background music team inadvertently included a Western-style inclusion of 2 Qur'an passages into the videogame, liceninsing a recording by artist Tapha Niang & Toumani Diabate's Symmetrical Orchestra. From the archived forum post:
1- In the 18th second: "كل نفس ذائقة الموت" ("kollo nafsin tha'iqatol mawt", literally: 'Every soul shall have the taste of death').

2- Almost immediately after, in the 27th second: "كل من عليها فان" ("kollo man alaiha fan", literally: 'All that is on earth will perish').

. . We Muslims consider the mixing of music and words from our Holy Quran deeply offending.
Last time I checked, my memorial service preparations had Turn, Turn, Turn still included in the script. And no, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan never sang from the Qur'an - just with Eddie Vetter. Whom could be a demigod, but that's another post.

The real potential Western problem is the quotation content. The American 30% is out there, and in this age of Fear Terrorism, "Every soul shall have the taste of death" & "All that is on earth will perish", will automatically construed as something other than the obvious acceptance of our inevitable mortality, no matter the means we come to that end. An acceptance that fundamentalist Christians obsess over in the their dogma on death and resurrection with or without Christ. Heck, even my wife preaches frequently from the pulpit on our necessity for the acceptance of death.

But just imagine FOX and CNN catching and then propagating this story with their armies of commentators-as-news-journalists, not to mention their guest issue arsonists.

Maybe Muslims have a good idea, huh?

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