The Null Device
A look at the Iraqi death-metal scene, or in particular, the Iraqi death-metal band; a group of five young men who sing in fluent American (learned from TV shows) and have ambitions of moving overseas: (via NWD)
"Iraq, man, there's nothing here," Moudhafar says. "The scene is in other places. Life is in other places."
All their songs are in English. Heavy metal should be either in English or German, says rhythm guitarist Faisal Talal. "Arabic doesn't fit." Moudhafar interjects with sudden hauteur, "We don't want just anybody to listen to our music. It should be, like, an educated person."
(I'm not so sure about the you-can't-rock-in-Arabic thing; I've seen it done. And if they're not at least using Middle-Eastern scales in their music, they're missing out.)
Arab-American stand-up comedians are making some rather edgy jokes:
"I'm normal, people, just like you. I put my pants on one leg at a time, strap on a bomb, go to work," said Helen Maalik, a Syrian-born comic.
"There's only one thing I've got to say about racial profiling: It's awesome. Seriously. Look at me. I got my ass kicked all through high school. And now, people are actually scared of me,"
Dan Ahdoot's family is from Iran, though he was born in the United States. "No guys, that's a lie. I'm not Iranian. I was Iranian for 23 years up until Sept. 11th and now I'm Puerto Rican because that makes life a lot easier."
"We want to become more American than Americans. So, me and my family have been discussing it and we're actually thinking about turning in my father. Not because he did anything, but it would just make us look so f------ patriotic," Malak joked.
Bampot attempts to hijack Qantas flight with wooden stakes, an aerosol can and a lighter. The incident happened on a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Launceston shortly after takeoff. The hijacker was not believed to be connected to Islamofascist terrorist groups, but kept mumbling about "God's will" and "Armageddon", and apparently intended to crash the aircraft into a target. Perhaps he was a self-styled "vampire hunter" of some sort?
A fine old British tradition is falling foul of post-9/11 paranoia: as Greater America turns itself into the Soviet Union in the name of defending liberty, trainspotters are increasingly being harrassed by the authorities. The rationale is that terrorists could be disguising themselves as trainspotters, photographing infrastructure and taking notes on train movements to plan devastating attacks.
Others have alleged various forms of unpleasant treatment, including being frogmarched from the platform and yelled at over the public address system. One 15-year-old was seen having the film taken out of his camera.
"A couple of readers have described how Britain is beginning to look like the eastern Europe of old when taking a camera out of a bag was a dangerous thing to do. It is very sad that it has come to this. It is a total over-reaction by the authorities."
Mind you, not all railway companies are cracking down on trainspotters; some station operators are urging spotters to register their names at stations (and presumably fill in a form which says "I am a terrorist [ ] Yes [ ] No" or something), so as to avoid misunderstandings. Perhaps we can see a National Trainspotter ID Card system out of this, or even a Patriotic Trainspotters' Union, sworn to keep an eye out for suspicious activities as they sit on the platform with notebook and thermos of tea?
If you can read Spanish, hop on over to Graham's blog; he has a Mexican masked wrestler guest-blogging for him at the moment. It's quite amusing. ("El Diablo Tasmaniano"?!?)