We have been following the Miss World hell with great interest and disgust: sometimes the news is so awfully absurd that you have to either laugh or cry and laughing is less messy and intrusive (unless you blow milk out your nose or something). Mark Steyn has taken the humor route, although with the ass-kissing Islamic sensibilities have been receiving in many quarters, I not sure how far off he really is:
- ‘Run this by me again,” I said as we circled Lagos Airport. “We’re doing a new ‘culturally sensitive’ Miss World?”
“That’s right,” said Julia Morley. “I got the idea from all those stringy London feminists droning on about how we’re only promoting a narrow exploitative Western image of women. And to be honest, after a week in England listening to their bitching and whining, I’m glad to be back in Nigeria. The locals’ll go crazy for this.”
“I hope not,” I said. But I was pleasantly surprised as we taxied down the runway. “Look, Julia, a gun salute!”
“Duck, girls!” she yelled, as a SAM missile pierced the window, shot through the First Class curtain and took out the Economy toilet.
“Now don’t you worry, Mark,” she said once we were safely in the limo. “Your material’s hardly been changed at all. Just remember, when you and Tony Orlando do Thank Heaven For Little Girls, there’s a Sudanese warlord in a Row Three aisle seat who’s got a new 12-year-old wife you don’t want to be caught looking at.”
“Got it,” I said. The house band, made up entirely of Hausa band members, played the opening strains of Stevie Wonder’s classic love song and Julia pushed the revised culturally sensitive lyrics into my hand. It was then that the first nagging doubts began to gnaw at the back of my mind. But what the hell, I was in my tux and they were playing my song.
I bounced out on stage, grabbed the mike and punched the air:
“My Sharia Amour, good enough for some emir
My Sharia Amour, I’m the guy you like to fear”
The audience seemed wary and an alarming number appeared to be reaching into their robes. But I ploughed on:
“My Sharia Amour, pretty little girl in your chador
One of only four that I beat sore
How I wish that I had five.”
There was a momentary silence, just long enough for me to start backing upstage nervously. And then the crowd went wild! The guys in the balcony cheered deliriously and hurled their machetes across the orchestra pit, shredding my pants. An Afghan wedding party grabbed their semi-automatics and blew out the chandeliers, sending them hurtling to the aisle, where they killed a Japanese camera crew. Tough luck, fellers, but that’s what happens when you get between me and my audience.
I took my usual seat with the celebrity judges, in between Baywatch hunk David Hasselhoff and Princess Michael of Kent. Lorraine Kelly said: “And now, ladies and gentlemen, let’s give our panel a really big hand!” A really big hand landed on the table with a dull thud, courtesy of a Saudi prince in the Royal box….
By the way, Stevie Wonder – with whom Steyn takes such liberties – has an exceptional new double-CD career retrospective out, The Definitive Collection, ranging chronologically from “Fingertips” to “Part-Time Lover.” If you have been waiting for the document that confirms Stevie’s place in the soul/pop pantheon, and don’t forget the funk – this is it.