In November 2001, the Los Angeles Times ran a short piece compiling uses of the phrase “…then the terrorists have won.” Hawkeye football earned a dubious mention after a letter to the Iowa City Press-Citizen claimed that long security lines at Kinnick Stadium were “letting the terrorists win.” The New York Times opined that the terrorists win if we “don’t send the marching band from Frank Scott Bunnell High School in Stratford, Conn., to the 2002 Rose Parade.” Disrupting Big Ten football was probably not the impetus behind the September 11 attacks, or behind the series of massacres and bombings in Paris Friday. So why kill all those people? Now that we have been at war with terror for 14 years, we should probably be able to say what the other side’s objectives are. “They hate our freedom” is not a goal we can stop terrorists from achieving. For the Islamists who keep killing civilians around the globe, what does winning look like?
Now that Donald Trump is a Republican candidate for president, he has to lie about how often he reads the Bible. Last week, he told interviewers from the Bloomberg program With All Due Respect that it was his favorite book. They asked him to cite a favorite verse. Instead of just saying “Jesus wept” and staring at the hosts until they fell silent, he ad libbed:
Trump: I wouldn’t want to get into it, because to me that’s very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible, it’s very personal, so I don’t want to get into verses…The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics.
Interviewer: Are you an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy?
Trump: Uh, probably equal. I think it’s just an incredible…the whole Bible is an incredible…I joke, very much so, they always hold up The Art of the Deal, I say “my second favorite book of all time.”
It tells us something about our present politics that the man who called Mexicans drug dealers and rapists during his announcement speech won’t just say he doesn’t read the Bible. Video and close reading after the jump.
It is suddenly, finally summer in Missoula, and after three consecutive days of 65+ temperatures I can’t remember there ever having been a winter.* Here we find yet another metaphor for the present age, when the internet—which, as the New York Times keeps reminding me, is changing everything—allows us to live in customized mental landscapes whose consistency elides everything else. From my perspective, this is awesome. I get to sit in my apartment, watching Frisky Dingo and reading about existentialism, weird punk bands and money policy, and rarely am I reminded of the existence of, say, Dave & Buster’s. Everyone once in a while, though, one catches a glimpse of another world, similar to one’s own yet horrifyingly different, and like a character in an HP Lovecraft story, one has no choice but to go insane. Fortunately, tomorrow is Saturday. In consideration of a weekend in which you hopefully won’t have to judge true from false or right from wrong, Combat! presents glimpses of worlds baffling in their grotesquerie. You may just find the view…unsettling.