The gods do not like your dick pics

June 12, 2015 Originally published on SFGate

This is a thing? This is some sort of trend, the taking of obnoxious, naked group shots atop ancient landmarks and sacred World Heritage sites, all for a kind of ignoble, social media posterity no one really wants?

It is if you think it is, apparently.

One thing we can all agree on: The gods, you might say, aren’t impressed.

Here is the UK’s everclassy Daily Mail, reporting that locals in Malaysia are a mite peeved that a bunch of European tourists – including some Canadians, Dutch and Germans – saw fit to break off from their tour group on the sacred Mount Kinabalu, in Sabah – AKA Southest Asia’s highest peak – strip naked and duly tell their tour guide to “go to hell” as they snapped a few pasty group shots, resulting in A) some very lame Facebook photos B) an earthquake.

That’s right: some locals claim the stunt offended the spirits so much that it triggered a 6.0 temblor a few days later, one sufficient to strand 100 visitors up at the same spot. Entirely plausible, when you think about it.

You stay classy, white people of the world

You stay classy, white people of the world

Hey, roll your eyes at the superstitious locals all you like, but there’s something to be said for respecting the sacred ground upon which you tread, honoring the traditions you are visiting, and maybe, just maybe, working to not spread your lowbrow, scuzzy intentions all over someone else’s divine practices.

Remember when those Mayan priests rushed in to sweep away the evil spirits that George W. Bush left behind after a visit to one of their sacred sites in Guatemala? Absolutely essential. I mean, wouldn’t you?

This story is not, I admit, on par with all those insane fundamentalist mullahs or even extremist nutballs like Pat Robertson or Mike “shower with the girls” Huckabee claiming that women (or gays, or sodomy, or dancing, or sex, or LSD) cause all our woes, famine, disease, cataclysms of various intensity and verve. That would be, you know, silly.

And to be clear, I’m in no way defending Malaysia’s (that is, strict Islam’s) often severe inhibitions about sex and the human body. This isn’t about Islamic law. The site in question is sacred to the local Dusun people as the resting place of their ancestors. Have a shred of respect.

Besides, as anyone with the slightest spiritual attunement can tell you, if the gods cringe at anything, it’s closed-minded bigots, sexists, homophobes who try, forever in vain, to shove the wildly fluxive, kaleidoscopic human soul into angry little boxes of shame and pain. If anything, the Earth is recoiling at our cruelty and crassness, not our expressions of love and spirit.

No, what we have here is an certain kind of offense, bred of numb privilege and entitlement, fanned by social media, shot through with a gaggle of more dumb white people doing dumb white people things, once again, as the gods merely sigh and shake their heads. Is it the gods’ fault that doing so causes the earth to tremble?

Hey, at least they weren’t Americans. For a change. Small consolation, really.

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Mark Morford

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