When heads explode

We should be glad we still have the First Amendment right to yodel, because in Austria they have lost it. No, seriously:

It seems as though in Austria, the popular yodel is an insult to Muslims. An Austrian court has recently fined a citizen for yodeling while mowing his lawn, according to a report in The Kronen Zeitung newspaper. The citizen, 63-year-old Helmut G., was told by the court that his yodeling offended his next-door Muslim neighbors, who accused him of trying to mock and imitate the call of the Muezzin. In Muslim tradition, the Muezzin is the chosen person at a mosque who leads the call to prayer at Friday services and the five daily times for prayer from one of the mosque's minarets. The yodel is a song which is sung with an extended note which rapidly and repeatedly changes in pitch and makes a high-low-high-low sound. Developed in the Central Alps as a method of communication between alpine mountaineers or between alpine villages, the yodel later became part of the region's traditional lore and musical expression. The technique is used in many cultures throughout the world and Austria is one of the countries where it is most popular. Unfortunately for Helmut G., his neighbors were in the middle of a prayer when he started to yodel. The Kronen Zeitung reported that he was fined 800 Euros after judges ruled that he could have tried to offend his neighbors and ridicule their belief. Helmut G. clarified that "It was not my intention to imitate or insult them. I simply started to yodel a few tunes because I was in such a good mood."

In this country, he has just as much right to yodel as the Muezzin does to yell "Allahuakbar!" from the blasted minaret.

Why such extreme cultural sensitivities, anyway?

I mean, it's not as if the yodeling is literally turning their brains into icky goo!


Unfortunately, embedding the above has now been "disabled by request," but that has not stopped comments like this:

This scene actually played out in Austria recently! An Austrian has been fined for yodeling while mowing his lawn. ... The Muslims were right in the middle of a prayer when the Austrian started to yodel. "It was not my intention to imitate or insult them. I simply started to yodel a few tunes because I was in such a good mood" the man told the newspaper (Austrian times) today. Would you´╗┐ believe it? It's a "Real life Movie!" Some alien's heads do in fact explode when exposed to Yodeling!

Tell it to the judge.

MORE: For those who are into culturally repellent music, here's the original, ready to make heads explode!



Blast off!

posted by Eric on 12.15.10 at 11:34 PM


File this under example 8,395,175,203 of how the pursuit of perfection in human behavior (via an ever-expanding criminal code) leads to injustice. Sad, just sad.

Randy   ·  December 16, 2010 4:13 PM

Culturally repellent? Heh. I like country music. "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it". :P

But that may be why I actually enjoy listening to the call to prayer (IF the caller has a good voice). It reminds me of yodeling - which I also like. Not kidding there - I lived practically underneath a mosque in Thailand for about 6 months. (It was about 2 doors down from where I lived.)

The caller (who had a wonderful voice) woke me up every morning that whole time. Better than an alarm clock. And a lot more pleasant.

Kathy Kinsley   ·  December 16, 2010 5:34 PM

I like it too. In fact, I love Mideastern music. Unless it is done at an unreasonable hour or volume, I don't think it should be a crime to imitate the call of the Muezzin, whether seriously, in fun, or as a yodel.

Eric Scheie   ·  December 16, 2010 6:28 PM

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