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Mohammed: Bad News Bear


My fortnightly column, A Quiet Riot, runs again in this week’s Mail & Guardian, on sale from today (Friday, 7 December 2007).

Here are the first 156 words:

Does anybody know if Hindu fanatics have ever started a protest over Yogi Bear?

It might surprise you that I’m on the side of the Sudanese nutters who thought it was a big deal to name a teddy bear Mohammed. It’s not the greatest name for a teddy. If teddies weren’t so busy being adorable, they’d be up in fluffy arms too.

Which isn’t to say that bears don’t get angry. Ever try eating their porridge or sitting in their chairs? I accept, however, that I probably crossed the line by sleeping in Daddy Bear’s bed, given that Mommy Bear was in it at the time.

I suppose bear-kind would’ve been as upset as the Sudanese stone-throwers if somebody had named a human baby after one of the great bear prophets. So, when considering human baby names, best steer clear of Paddington, Pooh and Baloo.

Still, one could do worse. Personally, I intend to.

(The rest in this week’s edition of the Mail & Guardian.)

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