Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No gerbil jokes here

So Richard Gere thought he could swoop into India -- under the guise of AIDS awareness -- and sexually assault one of Bollywood's biggest stars in front of a large crowd of people. Hindu nationalists were having none of it and, yesterday, Gere was burned in effigy in cities all over India.

I can only hope my life will follow the kind of path that will one day lead to me being burned in effigy. If it is a result of public grab-ass with another nation's treasure, so be it.

The effigy burn, you see, is the direct opposite of the putting-his-poster-on-the-wall. But the strength of the statement the effigy burn makes, in comparison to the poster, outweighs all its negative connotations and makes it the far superior tribute.

Think how easy it is to put a poster on your wall. But to burn an effigy, first -- since there is no effigy store -- you have to make the effigy, and make it detailed enough for others to know who the effigy represents. Then you have to commit arson in a public square. And finally you have to execute some sort of coordinated chant and dance with your fellow effigy burners.

This is no small task and, all the while, the effigy burner is basically admitting that the effigy burnee is so much better than him that the burner has no chance, despite all of his outrage and zeal, of getting his hands on the offending party in real, non-effigy life.

Richard Gere's patented brand of humanitarianism and smarmy good looks has yet to garner him acting's highest honor: The Academy Award. But that signature combo has just netted him one of life's highest honors: The burning effigy.

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