Thursday, May 31, 2007

How Do You Fix a Problem Like... Sha-Ria?

Just in case anyone this side of the kook border had any doubts that multi-cultural tolerance and "reasonable accommodation" have reached ridiculous proportions, here's a story that's guaranteed to warm your hearts.

A regular reader of this esteemed blog, The Warbasse Warlord, happened into his friendly neighborhood supermarket last week to stock up on sale items. Wow! Boar's Head Deluxe Ham for $5.99 a pound. As that great American philosopher, Stymie, once said: "Isthmus be my lucky day!" And from there it only got better as special offer after special offer for the Memorial Day Weekend jumped out at him shouting: "Buy me! Buy me!

So after filling his cart with low-cost goodies, including a $3.99 watermelon, buy-one-get-two-free Snapple, and a pound of Boar's Head Dead Pig (sliced thin), off he went to the checkout.

That's when he made a giant leap, unknowingly, out of the serene republic of Brooklyn and into...

The Twilight Zone.

Suddenly, the bagboy began speaking to the cashier in a very agitated tone.

"What's the matter?" asked the Warlord.

"Do you have meat in any of your packages?" she asked.

"Yeah, we're coming up on a big barbecue weekend," he answered.

"Well... uhh... Hassan can't touch any meat that's not Halal," came the explanation.

Call me intolerant, but bagboy at a non-kosher supermarket was probably NOT the best career choice for this pluralist American in training.

My good friend and legal counsel, Oliver Wendall McMansion, had a similar situation a few years back. On a Monday he hired an associate; a seemingly well-adjusted young lady who had graduated from a respected law school. On Tuesday she informed her new boss that she could not work in the cubicle that had been assigned to her because she suffered from adult ADD and needed a private office to screen out the distractions. This particular suite of offices consisted of one private office (belonging to the boss) and a large open area divided with cubicles. According to the Americans With Disabilities Act Oliver W. could either give up his sanctum, build her a private office, or face an ADA lawsuit.

One day on the job and this new employee orders him to "accommodate" her disability or incur the wrath of legions of angry Washington bureaucrats.

Here in New York, where cabbies are not allowed to refuse service to people who look as if they just stepped out of a dumpster, there are constant stories about Muslim hacks who refuse to pick up young women who are dressed inappropriately. It almost makes me want to get behind the wheel to pick up the crumbs these guys leave.

So what's a multi-cultural society to do? Reasonable accommodation makes sense to a reasonable person. It's just that "reasonable" is another of those elastic terms that members of the American Left interpret in the most ludicrous ways to justify the most idiotic policy decisions.

And every time we think it can't get any dumber the headlines shriek out about a woman in Florida who wants to take her driver's license picture with just her eyes showing behind a Casper the Friendly Ghost veil or a federal judge says that a youth sports league has to allow a teenage girl to play soccer with a table cloth wrapped around her face.

While we're at it, why not provide a driver's license exemption for members of that legendary southern civic group.

It just gets goofier and goofier.

Does an employer have to provide flex time for a worker who's not a "morning person."

Do our courts need special procedures to accommodate killers who come from cultures where honor killing has a long and glorious tradition?

Should we make a reasonable accommodation for immigrants from regions in Africa where the phrase "Having our neighbors for dinner" has a completely different meaning than it does here?

And what about me? I'm lazy and undisciplined. Why should I have to compete against people who are focused, ambitious and persistent?

Where's the justice... where's the reasonable accommodation... for those unlucky masses who suffer from my disability?

Why should I lose out to those who are the winners in life's lottery?

Why indeed?

Sha-Ria... say it loud and there's music playing. Say it soft, and it's almost like preying.


Claude Scales said...

OK, faced with what your friend described, what I'd do is just say, "Can he set a bag up for me?" I'm pretty sure the answer would be yes, since he wouldn't have to touch anything non-halal. Then I'd pick up my delicious flesh of the swine and put it in the bag. No big deal. If several customers managed to do this, I'd venture to guess he'd stop trying to prove to himself and the world that most Americans are anti-Muslim fanatics.

I've been a frequent customer at some restaurants owned and run by Muslims that, because of religious scruples, don't serve alcohol. Nevertheless, they have no problem with my bringing a couple of bottles of beer to enjoy with my vindaloo, and the waiter will happily carry my second bottle to the fridge to keep cold until I want it. The only thing he won't do is open it: he hands me the churchkey.

Joseph Martini said...

Agreed on all counts, in fact, that's exactly what The Warlord did.

My question: When does reasonable accommodation become an unreasonable burden on an employer?

I've also been to many a restaurant on Atlantic Avenue. I just don't have any alcohol, although I've often brought a couple of bottles of Tsingtao into Hop Kee on Mott Street. However, if the waiter in a non-Muslim restaurant made a big deal about touching a bottle of Chianti, would the proprietor have to accommodate him?

When I go into an establishment run by people of a different culture, I adapt. I'll sit on the floor in a Korean restaurant and cook my own food on the grill. I'll have the Anticuchos de Corazon or the roast Guinea Pig at a Peruvian restaurant.

If I keep kosher, I don't go into an Italian restaurant and demand that they serve me kosher beef cooked in a pan that has never touched a slice of bacon.

"When in Rome..." as they say.

I have a very close Muslim friend who recently married a young Catholic gentleman. They had a Muslim ceremony in her parent's home and a Catholic ceremony in his church. Everybody's happy, except her brother who refused to attend either event. Who's loss is it?

How 'bout those Mets.

BTW: We'll be going to the Met Opera in the park. The Central Park performances are really special. Will you be going?