Canada is a young country (I’m talking about Canada the current political entity dating back to the European conquest, I know that people have lived here for something like fifteen thousand years or more or less), and owing to its being the child of the preeminent power of its age, and cousin of the preeminent power of our age, we have ourselves a wee bit of an inferiority complex. This manifests itself in many forms, including a desperate desire to have History, and to preserve and revere that history. Go to any podunk town in Ontario organized enough to have printed a tri-fold tourist brochure, and you’ll be invited to promenade through their Historic Downtown. Nevermind the fact that nothing of historical significance ever occurred there, nor that the architecture is both not interesting and falling apart. It’s old. It’s ipso facto historical.
You get double points if your old thing can in some way be linked to some old person of note. Did this very place play an important role in the Upper Canada Rebellion? Why no sir, but several participants did have a picnic here. Very good, ready the plaques.
This tendency, at its worst, makes us think that anything from and/or bound up with the past is somehow special, in a way that supersedes even ourselves. You can’t tear down that burger shack! It’s historic! It’s from, like, nineteen fifty seven! Did you ever eat there? Oh god no it’s terrible, but let’s keep it forever. I’m not criticizing you, don’t worry, I’m just as guilty as anyone of this. When they got rid of the Sprite sign in North Gower it hurt me on a personal and emotional level.
This background underlies our collective horror this week upon learning that the city of Mecca tore down the house of Muhammed’s wife in order to build a public toilet. How could they?! In thinking on it, though, this town probably needs a lot more bathrooms than it does even more reverence for things that happened in the past.
And, fun fact time, even if they did bulldoze the house of Khadija, the good news is that Muhammed had a few other wives, who presumably had houses, to choose from. Muhammed actually married twelve different ladies. Now sure Islam puts the cap at four wives, but it was cool because god gave his prophet a specific exemption to go a-marrying. Buy a slave and take a fancy? Marry her! Like a slave that you’ve captured via war, but don’t feel like getting married? God has you covered, bro. It was said that Muhammed would tour around each day and “visit” them all. That’s a long day.
Islamic sources argue that their prophet racked up all these babes out of a selfless concern for their well-being, since he took on widows and divorcees almost exclusively (except for the 9-year old, and maybe if your wars kill their husbands you aren’t a 100% totally benevolent nice guy, but hey).
Now it wasn’t all fun and games. Allah finally put a stop to it when Muhammed was 60, revealing that he couldn’t marry anyone else, or trade his existing wives for others. Yeah baby, I know I said we’d get hitched, but, uh, god says I can’t, so you know, sorry. Also god says I have to watch football this Sunday; I’ll be so sorry to miss out on that trip to Home Outfitters. You pick the colour you like for the throw pillows, not too fluffy. God.
In doing some flippant research I found a great defence of polygamy, which works well for any wacky religion. You see, if 10% of men are gay, then it just makes sense that there will inevitably be women who can’t find a husband. And if there are women who can’t find a husband they must marry men who are already married, or else they will have no honour and die alone.
So what have we learned? Polygamy is an altruistic evolutionary response on the part of real men to the selfish behaviour of men who stubbornly choose to be gay.