Talking out of your hat.

Posted: May 3, 2015 in Religion, Stuff
Tags: , , ,

I’ve long held to the conviction that if your belief – and by belief I mean belief in anything – involved the wearing of headgear of any sort then I could dismiss said belief fairly rapidly. For example: someone could make a claim as in ‘I believe in such and such’, and I would respond with: ‘Does it necessitate the wearing of a hat?’ An answer to the affirmative would allow me to instantly dismiss said claim and get on with the more important things in life such as removing scratch-card residue from beneath my fingernails.

jewish Orthodox hatThe General Rule of Hat

This has held me in good stead for a number of years. Oft times people would walk up to me in pubs and ask: ‘Can I interest you in the Theory of Evolution through Natural Selection?’, and I would say: ‘Do I have to wear a hat?’, and they would say, ‘Sorry?’, and I, satisfied with the successful application of The General Rule of Hat,  would respond, ‘Oh, nothing… please, do continue.

Of course you must understand that this is just a General Rule of Hat. It’s not absolute. There are exceptions:

For example, occasionally I find myself fairly deep into a debate, discussion or conversation before coming to the realisation that a hat is about to make an tinfoil-Hatappearance. This usually happens at bus-stops and involves a large sheet of aluminium foil.

Fortunately society generally accepts that these people have a problem involving mental health and help is readily available.

Other times people are aware you employ a hat-filter and will deliberately hide the hat until a later time and then produce it in a ‘Tadaah!’ moment. Hat-wearers debating morality tend to adopt this tactic. One agrees on the immorality of, say for example, murder, rape, theft and slavery; you then bother to go into a long and detailed explanation of how one arrives at this moral position, when suddenly, ‘Tadaah!’ – a hat is produced and morality and immorality turn out to be at the discretionary whim of an invisible Magic Hat-Maker who lives in the Great Milliners in the Sky.

Voltaire perhaps should have said that in general good people will do good things and bad people will do bad things, but to make a good person do bad things, well, that takes a hat.

Currently No Help Available

More disingenuous folk will try to foster the illusion that no hat is required in their belief at all – even though after a short while in their company it becomes apparent, or at least implicit, that their place of abode holds a large wardrobe simply bursting with hats. bishops hatProponents of Intelligent Design and Irreducible Complexity, and the various forms of the Cosmological argument, are particularly adept at trying to employ this ‘Look, No Hats!’ stratagem – almost to the point of self-delusion: ‘Hat? What Hat? I see no Hat?

Hat-denial, it must be said, can be quite humorous to see – similar to watching someone play ‘whack-a-mole’, but with hats. Rational observers generally accept that these people have a problem involving mental hygiene. There is currently no help available for these people.

Still, those few exceptions aside, I hold great confidence in The General Rule of Hat. So much so that over time I’d expanded my thesis to include an inverse relationship between the size or grandeur of the hat worn and the amount of sense that would spew from the mouth positioned directly beneath it. The bigger the hat, the lesser the sense. Recently though, I’ve started to reassess this relativity aspect of The General Rule of Hat:

It began with the usual mid-spring reportage surrounding the activities of the Iranian religious police. As the sun starts to shine and temperatures soar, Iranian women, after being wrapped up all winter, begin to shed a few layers. This apparently gets the blood gushing through Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s old veins and, in order to avoid committing a very catholic sin, he grabs his hat and immediately starts talking out of it. This invariably results in a crackdown by the religious police involving such things as revealing or tight clothing; western hairstyles; hair colour; make-up and the like. It happens every year around this time and it’s about as newsworthy as David Cameron’s policies on ending child poverty.

People of The Hat

I myself barely register it anymore – just another part of the background white-noise of religiosity.

Besides, it’s hardly surprising to hear gobbledygook spouting from representatives of any of the three Abrahamic faiths – or People of The Hat, as I collectively refer to them. Yahweh, Yahwehwho started off this damn hat thing, has been responsible for a veritable tea-party of mad-hatters pouring forth nonsense such as stoning disobedient children to death, having the cheeky ones killed by bears, and throwing gay men off tall buildings when a decent mountain can’t be found. It’s normal run-of-the-mill sort of stuff. Abhorrent of course, but hardly, after two thousand years, shocking. This year, though, my interest was briefly piqued by the revelation that Iranian men have now come under the gaze of the grand Ayatollah for the incredibly un-Islamic practise of eyebrow weaving.

Apparently Iranian men, just like blokes here in the west, are becoming more adept at personal grooming, hair care, intimate hygiene and washing behind the ears. Now, being a somewhat largely unreconstructed western male who barely moved beyond the wash, rinse, repeat instructions on the Head & Shoulders bottle, I had absolutely no idea what eyebrow weaving was?


Intrigued, I decided to research the story only to find that eyebrow weaving or threading, rather than some extreme sexual fetish, is a simple procedure for plucking and shaping the eyebrows – and eyebrows in Islam, would you believe, are taken very seriously indeed. So much so that to err in the eyebrow department can severely damage your health – and your afterlife. Get it wrong and you’ll burn in the proverbial fire. No, really, honestly. And the most shocking aspect of all of this? The one thing that had me gasping and short of breath? You guessed it: Hat size! Yes, hat size. Each and every Islamic ‘Scholar’ I consulted/listened to/viewed, wore a hat in accordance with The General Rule of Hat as one might expect – but what became quickly apparent was that their hat size never faltered from the miniscule. For the most part they wore a simple white skull-cap. Hardly Ayatollahesque at all, yet the nonsense that exploded so casually and yet so profusely from their mouths was worthy of the very grandest of hats.

I’d hate to bore you with the seemingly limitless extent to which certain People of the Hat can go on, and on, skullcap hatand on about body hair – so allow me to attempt a brief summation of the salient points:

Islamic men (it’s implicit they’re men) should grow the beard, trim the moustache, shave the pubes, and pluck the armpit hair (ouch!), whilst women of the faith (it’s explicit they’re women) may remove hair from the upper lip, thighs, calves and arms, but on no account should they ever, ever, ever pluck the eyebrows – never – I simply can’t stress this enough. Weaving, threading, plucking – whatever you want to call it, however you want to phrase it, this Allah/Yahweh character doesn’t like it, see’s this as a Major Sin – and will hurt you for doing it.

Yes, it would seem that this Allah/Yahweh geezer really does have a big downer on Islamic women who pluck their eyebrows. As to why? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps he was knocked-back by some lass with great eyebrows in a previous creation? Either way, we definitely know he doesn’t like it because a big mate of Mohammed – a bloke called ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood’ – said he was out with Mo’ one night and they were chatting on about life, the universe, and everything, as one does, when Mo’ said he’d been chatting with Gabriel (that’s the Archangel Gabriel, yeah?) and Gabriel had said that he’d been chatting earlier still with Allah, and Allah had mentioned in passing that he didn’t like eyebrow plucking at all. Not one little bit. Can’t stand it. Hates it, in fact.

A moment on the lips, a lifetime in the Hadith

I can just imagine Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood’s jaw dropping at this momentous revelation:

Really, Mo’? He actually said that?

Yeah, really went off on one, apparently. And that’s not all…

Hold on, Mo’… let me get a pen”.

He then wrote down what Mohammed had said that Gabriel had said that Allah had said:

Allah has cursed the woman who does tattoos and the one who has them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows and the one who has it done, and the one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of Allah.”  [al-Bukhaari, 5931; Muslim, 2125]

And now, all these years later, with Iranian metrosexual men queuing up to use the latest in eyebrow weaving technology, it really does throw a cat amongst the pigeons as to what Allah may actually like or dislike. Does this now apply to men as well as women when we can see that it’s obvious that Allah is pissed-off with a tattooed lass with sharp teeth and cute brows? And doesn’t it seem somewhat bizarre that removing eyebrow hair would alter the creation of Allah whilst a bloke shaving off his pubes would not? Can you see the trouble a seemingly harmless piece of gossip can cause? A moment on the lips, a lifetime in the Hadith. Who knew that Mohammed was such a jangler? The Ayatollah Al Khomeini really does have his work cut out for both him and his hat.

So, what to make of all this? Can we unpack it and make sense out of it at all? The simple answer is ‘No‘. My take on this is that it’s pointless looking for sense in nonsense. The really important thing to take away from all of this – apart from the lesson regarding the dangers of idle chat & tittle-tattle – is that, unfortunately, the size of the hat bears no relation to the quality of stupid beneath it.

This element of the theory has been shown to fail under the weight of the available evidence. It was a falsifiable aspect and has thus been shown to be false. I therefore unequivocally withdraw the relativity aspect of The General Rule of Hat.

Hold on… unless of course the small skullcap is merely symbolic of their inner-hat – which could be fucking immense?

You can throw your own hat into the ring below, if you so wish.

Anvil Springstien.
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