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Name that fruit

The Reading University Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society yesterday received an “official warning” from the Student Union, which will be on record until the end of spring term provided they “watch their behavior” – which presumably means they name no more fruits “Mohammed,” neither pears nor grapes nor papayas.

Oh yeah?

Mohammed

Aisha

Ayatollah Khomeini

Comments

  1. says

    I beg to differ!
    ( – Shakes with righteous indignation – )
    The good Ayatollah has never sprouted such colorful flowers! The colors are forbidden!!!!eleventy1!!!

  2. otrame says

    I object to naming prickly pear that awful name. A poor innocent plant that has saved so many lives by being there when nothing else edible was. Shame on you.

  3. Trebuchet says

    I still maintain that naming a pineapple “Jesus” would get you banned at many USA universities. And naming one “Mohammed” would get you banned at others. It’s not just a UK thing.

  4. Rob says

    I object to naming prickly pear that awful name.

    I dunno otrame, nobody could ever describe Ayatollah Khomeini as cuddly and if the other choice was sand he might have been the more edible of the two.

  5. Rob says

    Incidentally, what happened to the days when Universities were places of rambunctious and spirited debate about ideas and ideologies? Back 30 years ago (mumbles to self) I recall some fairly heated debates around the student union and certainly some groups got it in the neck for holding or expressing certain views. The difference was that the Students Union never actually censured or warned groups for their ideas.

    I suspect if someone had tried to start a hate group, that would have been different, but this sort of thing… nah.

    Don’t get me wrong I’m all for being respectful of people, but ideas are up for debate. Sometimes a rose needs to be called a rose and sometimes a spade needs to be called a fuckin’ shovel.

    Excuse any mangling of literary sensibilities.

    I expect that the Muslim group(s) at Reading would be outraged by a piece of fruit named Mohammed. But the SU censoring a rationalist group for mocking irrational beliefs at a University – the wrongs start piling up waist deep. The SU needs to be presented with a pineapple and a gentle suggestion as to where to put it.

  6. Sastra says

    Naming fruit after sacred Islamic deities, prophets, and holy men can get tiring after a while. Pineapple. So? What else? It’s all been done. We’ve done fruit the last nine weeks.

    We’ve done the passion fruit. We done oranges, apples, grapefruit (whole and segments), pomegranates, greengages, grapes, lemons, plums, mangoes in syrup, cherries (red AND black), bananas …

    Wait, no. We haven’t done bananas!

    Banana = Allah.

    The Muslim’s Worst Nightmare.

  7. frankb says

    This is so rideculous. Mohammed is a common name among Muslims. There is even a famous American Boxer by that name. Jesus (hay-zeus) is common among hispanics. There is a doctor at the hospital where I work that is named Mohammed. I bet that apple was named after him.

  8. iknklast says

    “Incidentally, what happened to the days when Universities were places of rambunctious and spirited debate about ideas and ideologies? Back 30 years ago (mumbles to self) I recall some fairly heated debates around the student union and certainly some groups got it in the neck for holding or expressing certain views. The difference was that the Students Union never actually censured or warned groups for their ideas”

    What happened? Universities became businesses, students became customers – and stakeholders – and education became a product. Now ideas are simply non-existent, because they don’t fit in the whole corporate structure. If they aren’t ‘relevant’ to the ‘student’s chosen career path’, they aren’t important. So when someone starts to discuss ideas, and those ideas are outside the corporate mainstream, or are objected to by a consumer/stakeholder (nee: student), they are no longer to be tolerated because they are bad for business.

    For instance: I teach environmental science in a red state, and the administration prefers I not point out the environmental impacts of anything the students hold dear: cars, agriculture, eating meat, wearing clothes, buying more shit than you can stuff in an oversized house plus garage, shooting everything that moves, driving ATVs over fragile ecosystems, or enforcing environmental regulations. Not to mention overpopulation. If I followed corporate tendencies and didn’t offfend the stakeholders, my class would consist of hello, students, everyone just got an A. (I’m not very good at conforming to corporate expectations – yes, we actually hear that phrase – on a college campus, of all places).

    Ideas? Free speech? Free speech is know demarcated into its own limited zone, and you are expected not to say anything that will offend students or administration. Makes conversation rather boring, IMHO. If you are never offended, you will never be educated, because you will never have your assumptions challenged. Even by a pineapple.

  9. Rob says

    iknklast, that has a very depressing ring of truth to it. I was afraid that was the case. I now feel very depressed and am about to start drinking. Actually it’s friday evening here so to be fair I was going to start drinking anyway.

  10. Timon for Tea says

    Incidentally, what happened to the days when Universities were places of rambunctious and spirited debate about ideas and ideologies? Back 30 years ago (mumbles to self)

    What happened is that universities were pressured to put a stop to ‘high spirited’ student activities that tended to demean, denigrate, or threaten minority groups of students. It might be hilarious to some members of the rugby club to leave packets of bacon outside the Jewish Soc’s rooms every week, for example, while others would think it was intended to intimidate or ridicule Jews (even though there is nothing necessarily wrong with bacon, and you or I might find it pleasant to receive a free gift of it). So the authorities said no and freedom of speech had to struggle on as best it could. Some people think this hasn’t gone far enough. Many women’s groups, for example, think that there are not firm enough restrictions on what some students say and do on university premises, using university facilities. I often agree with them.

  11. thebookofdave says

    Fruit’s been done. Muhammad should be one of these next time.

    It’s more appropriate, and would make a lovely gift to the Student Union.

  12. Emily Isalwaysright says

    Timon, I sincerely doubt that an Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society’s actions would have been crude and offensive for the sake of offending.

    Half the reason we NEED such societies is to educate people on the difference.

  13. Brigadista says

    If you are never offended, you will never be educated, because you will never have your assumptions challenged.

    Sadly true, iknklast, and to stray slightly off topic for a minute, evident in other areas. Broadcasters are now editing “difficult” vocabulary out of their programmes because listeners may not understand them. The acceptance of non-advancement. A society that has ground to a halt.

    Will Self offers his thoughts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17777556

  14. sawells says

    @17: and if the Jewish Soc demanded that all bacon be removed from the university, they would have gone too far. Likewise, when an Islamic society demands the removal of fruit named “Mohammed” from other people’s stalls, they have gone too far.

  15. Timon for Tea says

    Timon, I sincerely doubt that an Atheist, Secularist and Humanist society’s actions would have been crude and offensive for the sake of offending.

    If they didn’t want to offend or belittle anyone, why did they do it? I mean, do they usually name pieces of fruit and display them at Fresher’s Fairs? Did they just pull the name ‘Mohammad’ out of the hat?

    And I wonder how many of the Muslims who were at that fair came from under-represented, low income immigrant families compared to the members of the secular society. What’s your guess? Should we just ignore that kind of power disparity? I always find the spectacle of powerful people mocking and/or intimidating weak ones ugly. Why not have a rule that nobody at Fresher’s Fairs are allowed to use their stall to mock, belittle, or attack anyone else at the fair … oh, hang on …

  16. Johnny J says

    I think it’s totally appropriate to name a prickly pear cactus Ayatollah Khomeini. After all, he was a real prick.

  17. sawells says

    @24: please note that it is only in the fevered imaginations of the Ismalic society that the pineapple is a reference to the Prophet Mohammed. The goal of the ASH society was to point out that Islamic groups, under cover of precisely the ludicrously exaggerated sensitivity to religious claims that you are displaying, are claiming the right to prevent anything at all being called “Mohammed”, even if it’s a piece of fruit. Point made.

  18. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Surely the apple should be called Adam? I’ve always thought of Mo – and the nutty religion he inspired – as more of a Venus Flytrap.

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