Late Night Horror Stories: Terrorist or Head Case?

lone wolf terrorism anderson

(Nick Anderson via GoComics.com)

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Canadian Jeet Heer, in the New Yorker, on “The Line Between Terrorism and Mental Illness“:

… According to Dr. Thomas Hegghammer, the director of terrorism research at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, Zehaf-Bibeau fits a profile of “converts with a history of delinquency among the Westerners in ISIL. He’s a little older than average; otherwise, there is nothing unusual about his profile.” Conversion to Islam itself isn’t a cause of violence, as we well know—Dave Bathurst, for instance, is an apparently peaceful citizen, disturbed by his late friend’s act of mayhem. What seems to be the problem, rather, is the fusion of radical jihadist ideology with other personal problems, whether they be alienation, anomie, or various shades of mental illness. In a world where “clash of civilizations” rhetoric is pervasive, it is possible that radical Islam offers the same appeal to some unstable individuals that anarchism had for Leon Czolgosz, who killed President William McKinley in 1901, and that Marxism had for Lee Harvey Oswald. If you are alienated from the existing social order, the possibility of joining, even as a “lone wolf” killer, any larger social movement that promises to overturn that society may be attractive. For a person radicalized in this manner, the fantasy of political violence is a chance to gain agency, make history, and be part of something larger.

“Islamic-extremist online recruiters are very good at pulling in people who are mentally vulnerable,” Heather Hurlburt, of the Washington-based think tank New America, said. She suggests that an effective response to the problem will draw at least as much on the insights of mental health as on the intrusions of the security state…

The War Nerd, from his teaching position in Kuwait City, is more direct:

So, two soldiers are now dead, Canada’s uncommonly flustered, and all because the RCMP didn’t do the obvious, and let these guys go where they wanted to go. If the RCMP had taken DNA samples, front and side photos, and seen them off at the airport with a “Mazel tov!”, Canada would be a lot better off. It took both Rouleau and Zehaf-Babeau weeks, between being refused a passport and their final act, to work up the courage to kill at home. Most wannabe jihadis feel a certain grudging sentimentality for the country where they grew up, which makes them more willing to kill for God far, far away from home than to kill people who look like the kids they grew up with. These two only killed at home when the Syrian option was shut down for them.

So what was the downside of letting them go? The most likely outcome was that both would have been cannon fodder, dead in their first month. The Middle East, the non-tourist version, is a big shock to most Westerners, and amateur soldiers who don’t speak Arabic and are used to flush toilets will spend their first months just dealing with the gastro-intestinal adjustments. During that time, these pampered amateurs make big fat targets. And that’s all Martin and Michael wanted, “Istishad,” martyrdom. Though I doubt they knew the proper term; like many new jihadis, they were much more excited about the killing and dying than actually learning the religion. They would have found their deaths fast, vaporized in an air strike or hit by shrapnel. The death rates for foreign jihadis in Syria are horrific, and only the practically unlimited pool of replacements keeps foreign-dominated militias in operation…

Coming or going, these guys are not going to do it the subtle way so they’ll be easy to spot. They’re not the brightest guys in the world. Most of them buy tickets direct for Istanbul, after posting jihadi stuff on Facebook for months. You’d think the idea of flying to a neutral destination, say Frankfurt, then making your way south and east toward the war zone, would occur to these guys, but these are mostly very young men, and young men aren’t very smart. So they keep repeating the pattern: Facebook rants, then the ticket direct to Istanbul. Hell, I bet half of them buy a one-way ticket, just to make their intention totally clear…

Even when they’re alive and fighting in Syria, these guys are a huge asset to Western Intelligence, because they make an effective camouflage for the real double agents already in place there. You can safely assume that a big fraction of the men fighting with Islamic State are double agents reporting to one or more of the major Western intelligence agencies, covertly photographing and DNA-typing their comrades for future reference…

In fact, Islamic State is such a perfect organ for draining the surplus reactionary-male rage from a certain demographic of the secular West that you can’t help wondering, sometimes, if it’s a Western invention. I doubt that; just because IS has turned out to be useful to Western security services doesn’t mean they created it. But it has become extremely useful, a sort of global kidney, drawing in and filtering out a pool of potentially troublesome young males. And all done far away, in the bowels of Syria. But only if places like Canada have enough cold-blooded sense to let this piece of luck keep doing its job…

58 replies
  1. 1

    It reminds me of the LAX shooter from the early 2000s. On the one hand, it was officially judged a terrorist act because he was an Egyptian Muslim who tried to kill Israelis at the El Al counter. On the other hand, he was a guy whose wife had just left him and taken the kids back to Egypt, and it was his birthday. So, yeah, his primary motivation was probably not religious devotion — more like culturally acceptable suicide by cop

  2. 2
    Suzanne says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): Most of these incidents, as well as a lot of the mass shootings in the US, seem to be the result of a person with mental health problems finding violent rhetoric and imagery of some sort. One would think that, in light of this, we would voluntarily tone it down a bit. However. That would make SENSE.

    Side note: I never cease to be amazed by the amount of violence that is considered pg-13. I went to see that shitty movie “Taken” with some friends who are religious and don’t watch R-rated films. There was a sound effect in that movie as a character gets run over by a car that made me gasp aloud, it was so freaking gross. But: PG-13.

  3. 3

    Every time one of these things happens the gun lobby (a.k.a. GOP) is like “This isn’t about guns! It’s about mental illness! Or Islam!” and when we’re like “Well maybe can we address mental illness in some sort of systemic way? Or reach out to Muslims?” it’s like NO! Those would be tyranny/”submitting to jihad”.

    I know it’s just moving the goalposts and all that shit but fuck that pisses me off.

  4. 4
    srv says:

    War Nerd didn’t predict the rise of ISIL from Fresno, so I’m going to go with Billy Kristol.

  5. 5
    MattR says:

    @Suzanne: Apparently the unrated DVD version of that movie is even worse. I completely agree the movie rating system is pretty messed up and they seem to getting more lax with violence and gore and more strict with rauchiness. My parents had the opposite belief. They never let me see any violent action films as a kid, but they had no problem renting Porky’s for me.

    Heading to Phoenix in mid December for about 48 hours. Will be spending most of my time visiting my 91 year old great aunt and two of her children, but was wondering if you had any suggestions or recommendations – either somewhere to eat or someplace to check out if I have a few hours to kill.

  6. 6
    Chris says:

    @Suzanne:

    I can’t say I’m too shocked: the rating was invented for Temple of Doom, with the guy who pulled people’s hearts out of their bodies.

    Religious people with film rules: don’t you love ’em? The fundie crowd I knew in college was fine with watching as much blood and gore as you could want (Saving Private Ryan, The Passion) but would never watch a James Bond movie. (Ew, SEX!)

  7. 7
    sharl says:

    Jeet Heer’s article is welcome. While Glenn Greenwald’s somewhat earlier post suggested that the Canadian attacks might have been blowback from Canada’s participation in western coalition military action in the Mideast, I think Heer is closer to the truth, although the motivations of the killers may include a toxic mixture of factors.

    Following publication, Heer tweeted:

    Should I be disappointed if my piece on political violence in @NewYorker doesn’t provoke a 10,000 word Glenn Greenwald response?

    Those two did subsequently have an exchange, but it was courteous and mostly fact-based – if you want to make the effort, you can pull at least some of that dialog from this twitter exchange; a task made somewhat complex by the number of discussions going on almost simultaneously (or so it seemed).

  8. 8
    Joey Maloney says:

    @sharl:

    Should I be disappointed if my piece on political violence in @NewYorker doesn’t provoke a 10,000 word Glenn Greenwald response?

    From prophet to punchline in less than 5 years.

  9. 9
    John Revolta says:

    @Joey Maloney: Well put.

    Sad, innit? I used to read the guy, and think pretty highly of his stuff. For awhile.

  10. 10

    […] from Canada Just to follow up on my previous post, Annie Laurie provides links to discuss the Terrorist or Head Case? question.She notes this article from The New Yorker The Line Between Terrorism and Mental Illness […]

  11. 11
    Liquid says:

    To this day, circa 10/26ish/’14, there is no better/oft repeated miscue than “balloob-juice.com”

  12. 12
    sharl says:

    OT, but there is other big news up in Canadaland, though not life-and-death stuff. A very popular CBC talk show host, Jian Ghomeshi, was abruptly let go by that network. While CBC didn’t provide a specific reason in their announcement, just about everyone seems to be saying it is related to allegations by multiple women of sexual harassment and assault. In response, Ghomeshi is planning on filing a $50 million lawsuit – Canadian dollars I assume, but a big-ass amount of money whether US$ or Can$ – against CBC. He claims everything he is alleged to have done was consensual.

    Apparently this thing has been simmering at a low level ever since a blog post last year from a woman who described harassment (but no assault, thank goodness) by “a popular national radio host”, whom she wouldn’t identify. But the name was quickly churned up in comments to that post, based on her description and the experiences of other women who came forward in discussion forums.

    This guy is very big in Canada, at least east of the Rockies, and I was kinda getting into his show myself – it’s rebroadcast by a bunch of US public radio stations (or was, until now).

    Who knew (outside of xojane readers, at least)? Anyhoo, that’s yer pre-dawn entertainment/show-biz news…

  13. 13
    NotMax says:

    @MattR

    but they had no problem renting Porky’s for me.

    Now that’s child abuse.

    ;)

  14. 14
    karen marie says:

    @MattR: I recommend bringing your own snacks. Arizona is a food wasteland compared to New England. What Mexican food there is is mediocre at best, except in small glimpses. Food City has freshly made roasted salsa that is very nice, and Ranch Market is worth a visit. It is a giant Mexican grocery with a bakery, a butcher, restaurant/takeout area, etc. There is also, oddly, an unrelated Asian grocery named Ranch Market that is also quite large and worth a visit. They didn’t have the wonderful large selection of inexpensive china dishware carried by a large Asian market I used to go to in Boston. I miss that store. In Arizona for three years, there is not a restaurant that I consider worth going out of the way for and most not worth a second visit. Except In ‘n Out Burger. If you haven’t eaten there, it is a treat. Defintely have a shake.

    Have I mentioned recently how much I hate Arizona? A state whose residents wouldn’t recognize good food if it bit them in the ass.

  15. 15
    Shakezula says:

    Who is this ass hat?

    You can safely assume that a big fraction of the men fighting with Islamic State are double agents reporting to one or more of the major Western intelligence agencies, covertly photographing and DNA-typing their comrades for future reference…

    Sure Sparky. Just like in the movies. And then when they get word that their location is about to get fried (through their super sekkrit communication devices), they’re all like “We’re just going to town to buy some milk,” and split.

    In fact, Islamic State is such a perfect organ for draining the surplus reactionary-male rage from a certain demographic of the secular West that you can’t help wondering, sometimes, if it’s a Western invention.

    Sure, if you’re a massive dumbass who has read too many books by Brad Thorson or whoever. Yeah, let’s create an organization that murders bunches of people. Provided they do it to brown people, who cares?

    And a final word about mental illness. Ugg. Must we always start yelling about mental illness when this happens? The vast majority of mentally ill people only harm themselves. I’m guessing the rate of killers who have diabetes is higher. It is time people started looking for something else.

  16. 16
    Nellie in NZ says:

    Phoenix? Desert Botanical Gardens is beautiful.

  17. 17
    raven says:

    @MattR: The El Bravo on 7th is incredible.

  18. 18
    Penus says:

    @karen marie: The most famous food in the state is a hot dog with mayo on it. ‘Nuff said.

  19. 19
    raven says:

    @Penus: “What Mexican food there is is mediocre at best,”

    That is just plain dumb.

  20. 20
    Aimai says:

    @Shakezula: i like the war nerd but there is no way any substantial number of isis guys are double agents for the west like –fbi guys in the klan under hoover? How charming! or, if they are, they are just as complicit in mass murder.

  21. 21
    debbie says:

    II’s too simplistic to blame gun violence on mental illness because it enables most people to say that doesn’t apply to them and move on with their usual lives. The real issue is rage, something that everyone is capable of.

  22. 22
    NorthLeft12 says:

    I don’t agree with just letting these guys go. Like it or not, these are Canadian citizens who the Canadian government would have given a passport to [if they travelled abroad]. If my government had knowingly given a passport to a suspected terrorist and the guy went off and committed a violent act I would be very embarrassed, not to mention feeling partly responsible for the damage he [let’s face it they are all guys] would have done.

    To just assume the guy is going to get killed or traumatized [scared straight] from this path is being pretty optimistic. They are our [Canada’s] responsibility to deal with and not to be foisted off on another country.

  23. 23
    dave says:

    @Shakezula: Yeah that last part, significant double agents is not very likely infiltrating a battle-field with a very high chance of death isn’t the same as infiltrating a Klan house for instance, the first part may be horrible but is very plausible. It was something that happened in Iraq I explicitly know this from 2006-07. And yes mostly starry-eyed teens came to die very rapidly which is awful. And they tended to fall victim to the more predatory hardened members of their own movement, such as holding them for ransom being paid and then killing them regardless, in addition to dying in battle. It’s a pretty horrible worldview mind you one that treats deaths in the middle east as not real but I can also understand how a government or security organization might not be as upset about it happening as we think they should be.

  24. 24
    Sherparick says:

    This is a bit to snarky and Greenwaldian for my taste. Listen, any society, no matter how relatively healthy, is going to have misfits who will be looking for a cause to transform their lives and make themselves great. Some misfits join the anti-abortion movement, and commit terrorism in support of that, others join Islam (or what they think is Islam) and start to commit terror for their new cause. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....08349.html Frankly, I have never found a better description of mass movements and thoughts about those attracted to their cause then Eric Hoffer’s masterpiece, “The True Believer.” As for the misfits, I am afraid they will always be there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.....t_story%29

  25. 25
    satby says:

    @Sherparick: I’ve been referring people to Hoffer’s True Believer for years now. It can be a bit of a slog for younger readers who have to learn some of the 1959 political terms, but it accurately describes the malady perfectly.

  26. 26
    Chris says:

    @Shakezula:

    Yeah, “mental illness” seems like too easy a way to dismiss the people who sign up in ISIS. Even “misfit” I’m not sure of.

    As far as I can tell, those guys believe in an ideology and are willing to go overseas to fight, kill and possibly die for it. It’s exactly what the international brigades were doing in Spain in the 1930s – if a good worldview can motivate people to do that, a bad one can too. It doesn’t need to be reduced to deep seated personal issues or mental problems.

  27. 27
    sharl says:

    @Sherparick & satby: Eric Hoffer looks like a worthwhile read. Thanks for the recommendation and links.

  28. 28
    Betty Cracker says:

    @NorthLeft12: I agree, but it certainly does pose a conundrum, huh? Removing the passports and leaving these guys at large endangers Canadians, obviously, but until they do something illegal, the cops can’t lock them up.

    Of course, that same sort of risk is present in other potential criminality scenarios, not just wannabe jihadis. I’m sure potential troublemakers with supposedly religious motives are just a small fraction of the total number of dangerous people who haven’t acted yet.

    I guess it’s the price we must pay for due process. What worries me is that if enough of these folks go off the rails, our fellow citizens in the US and Canada may decide due process isn’t worth it. I don’t know about Canada, but in the US, I can easily see that happening.

  29. 29
    Matt McIrvin says:

    The War Nerd does seem to know a lot, but there’s always something about his style that makes me suspect him of being a bit of a bullshitter. I guess it’s the smugness, the air of great certainty as if everything he were saying ought to be completely obvious to anyone as smart as he is.

  30. 30
    Suzanne says:

    @MattR: To eat: Pizzeria Bianco, Barrio Cafe, Carolina’s, LON’s at the Hermosa.

    To do: hike Camelback, go to Taliesin West or Desert Botanical Garden.

  31. 31
    Adam L Silverman says:

    The War Nerd, aka Gary Brecher, is the nom de plume for a professor of English: John Dolan, PhD. He spent several years teaching at the American University of Iraq in Suleimaniyah, which is in northern Iraq.
    His interview with Scott Horton, a professor of law and highly skilled litigator about being the War Nerd is here:
    http://antiwar.com/radio/2010/11/02/gary-brecher/
    Dr. Dolan’s own account of his experiences in Iraq can be found here:
    http://www.alternet.org/story/.....ty_of_iraq…_until_the_neocons_fired_me

    For full disclosure: I know Professor Horton, though not very well, and he and I have corresponded occasionally. I think very highly of his commentary, which can be found at Harpers.

  32. 32
    CaseyL says:

    War Nerd isn’t wrong – but I wonder how many popular revolutionary movements, including our own back in the 18th Century, could stand up to that kind of analysis.

    I’m pretty damn sure that not all the American Revolutionaries were solely motivated by a desire to be free of English rule. There had to be many who suffered anomie, depression, etc., with or without the implicit suicidal tendencies. Plus the sprinkling of sociopaths excited at the prospect of killing lots of people.

    The French Revolution? The Russian? It’s long been axiomatic that most revolutions devolve into terrorism and atrocity. Maybe that’s the reason: they attract people who don’t need much encouragement to let loose the darker angels of their nature.

  33. 33
    AnonPhenom says:

    “Islamic-extremist online recruiters are very good at pulling in people who are mentally vulnerable,”

    Not unique to recruiters of the Islamic-extremist variety or just extremists of any variety. Think back to the visits your high school recieved annually and which of your classmates wound up in uniform after graduation. YMMV.

  34. 34
    max says:

    @Chris: As far as I can tell, those guys believe in an ideology and are willing to go overseas to fight, kill and possibly die for it. It’s exactly what the international brigades were doing in Spain in the 1930s – if a good worldview can motivate people to do that, a bad one can too. It doesn’t need to be reduced to deep seated personal issues or mental problems.

    He could’ve joined the equivalent of a Canadian tea party, or a cult, or something else. He saw ISIS as his chance, somehow. That reeks of true conviction and desperation. After all, lots of guys think they’re going to make it big in football or basketball and that’s not going to work either.

    @karen marie: Have I mentioned recently how much I hate Arizona? A state whose residents wouldn’t recognize good food if it bit them in the ass.

    You should try Virginia, if you want to understand truly bad food.

    max
    [‘At least you can get chimichangas.’]

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    @CaseyL:

    Yeah, exactly. Do a lot of people signing up for ISIS have personal issues? No doubt – but is it really that much more of a factor than for people who signed on for the international brigades, or any other cause? Are a lot of people signing up for ISIS naive and clueless as to what awaits them – yes. Again, how many people who sign the contract to head off to war actually have any idea what they’re getting themselves into? I agree that their choice of worldview is horrific, but I don’t see anything exceptional about the mechanics of the “ma, I’m off to war” process.

  36. 36
    Chris says:

    @max:

    That’s why I compared it with the international brigades rather than the tea party movement or Scientology. More extreme, yes, true conviction, yes, but were Orwell and the rest really going there because they were “desperate” or otherwise dysfunctional?

  37. 37
    Dave says:

    For Buffalo NY hot dogs and brats, Ted’s in Tempe (Broadway & McClintock). For kitsch and the biggest damned pipe organ you’ve ever seen or heard, not for the pizza, Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa (Southern & Stapely).

    Desert Botanical Gardens and the Phoenix Zoo are worth a shot, and a little excursion to Canyon Lake is worth the drive if twisty roads don’t bother you.

    Be careful in the East Valley this time of year, the Snowbirds are in town, and their (lack of) driving skills make death by traffic accident much more likely than by Ebola or jihadis.

  38. 38
    Captain C says:

    @MattR: If you have a chance, the Musical Instrument Museum in northern Phoenix is incredibly good. In addition to the exhibits, they have a play room in which you can play on various instruments, and good ones (lots of good drums, some gamelans and gongs, a few harps and guitars, a theramin, and some more). The Heard museum in central Phoenix is also quite good.

    As for food, Mango’s in downtown Mesa has good Mexican food. Ajo Al’s is also pretty good Mexican; they have several locations. Thai Rama (central Phoenix and Tempe) has good Thai food, and if you absolutely need a big, sloppy burger and a college-y atmosphere, try the Chuckbox in Tempe (I think it still exists).

  39. 39
    Suzanne says:

    @Captain C: Chuckbox most certainly still exists. Holy delicious. Best Mexican is Carolina’s or Barrio Cafe, though. Thai Elephant blows Thsi Rama away.

    The Musical Instrument Museum is amazing, though, you are right. I just saw Mike Doughty play there last week.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chris:

    Do a lot of people signing up for ISIS have personal issues? No doubt – but is it really that much more of a factor than for people who signed on for the international brigades, or any other cause?

    Actually, I do think that personal issues are probably more of a cause for the people wanting to join ISIS than for the people who wanted to join the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, primarily because wanting to join ISIS seems to be preceded by a religious conversion. You didn’t necessarily have to be a dedicated Communist Party member to want to fight fascism, but it does seem that you have to be a Muslim to want to join ISIS.

    It may be a bit of a chicken and egg problem — are these people “converting” to Islam in order to join ISIS, or is the conversion coming first? — but to me, that’s the difference. As we were all saying in the thread about Ross Douthat, it’s an axiom in Catholicism that there’s no one more fanatical than a convert.

  41. 41
    Suzanne says:

    @Dave: The best pizza is Pizzeria Bianco (they make their own cheeses daily). Cibo is a close second. I don’t even really like pizza, and I can eat a whole Bianco pie by myself.

    I also really like Fez and Los Dos Molinos and Windsor.

    I have found plenty of deliciousness here. You just have to look.

  42. 42
    Suzanne says:

    @Suzanne: Also Gallo Blanco at the Clarendon Hotel.

    I like food.

  43. 43
    Shakezula says:

    @Aimai: This is my first encounter. I assume they don’t normally produce weird combinations of NIMBYism, false-flag conspiracy shouting and a plot out of Brad Thor’s latest paean to anti-Islamic torture porn. There’s a strong hint of dead burnt bodies and veins in their teeth as well.

    Yuck.

    p.s. Apologies to Brad Thorson for confusing him with the dribbling scribbler.

  44. 44
    Glidwrith says:

    This fellow’s premise smells somewhat to me. He is based in Kuwait City and had been in Iraq, according to the bit posted here. Isn’t that area and many of the countries in the area (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE) rather well known for funding jihadis and terrorists? Those countries have dirt poor populations with absolutely NOTHING to offer the younger generation. Wouldn’t that be a great way to siphon off your unhappy young men? Get the ones that might try for something better killed off in some other country where they can’t possibly succeed?

    I think what he is suggesting is downright monstrous.

    I do think what many of these lone wolves have in common is a lack of stability in their lives and the perception that they don’t have a future (real or perceived). I think they are symptomatic of the unraveling of our society where a minimum wage is a guarantee of poverty. We have a lot of people that were middle class (or at least believed they were) that have been shoved down into the dirt. They know damned well they are better than what the Richie riches are saying they are worth. WE know we are better though they keep saying we are lazy, arrogant, irresponsible and should just use those non-existent bootstraps to pull ourselves up.

    I will say it again: they are symptomatic of the general population that knows they are worth more, propagandized up the wazoo about who is to blame and those lone wolves have simply reached the end of their ability to cope and will take anything that looks like an improvement, even if it is self-destructive and irrational./end of rant

  45. 45
    Shakezula says:

    @Chris: I’d say misfit is almost as bad.Mistfit is really hard to define and if you poke around in most people’s lives you can find a period when you can apply some vague definition of misfit to them. And you do get people weirding out on people who are “odd,” especially if they like to be alone. (Eee! A loner!)

    But people who natter about mental illness or other disorders in relation to violence against other people usually have zero idea what they’re talking about, rarely suggest anything that would improve health care and in fact do nothing but make sure the stigma surrounding specific illnesses remains firmly in place.

  46. 46
    Paul in KY says:

    @Shakezula: I heard it’s very hard to infiltrate into those organizations as the new guys get buggered a lot & a ‘true soldier of ISIL’ just has to take it.

  47. 47
    Paul in KY says:

    @CaseyL: I think being a ‘war hero’ and scoring with the preferred wimmens always ranks high.

  48. 48
    Paul in KY says:

    @Suzanne: ‘Chuckbox’ sounds like a receptacle for vomit. Wouldn’t stop me from eating there, if the food was good.

  49. 49
    MattR says:

    A belated thanks to all those who offered Phoenix suggestions. I am guessing my cousins will have things lined up, but good to have some options if I have some time to myself.

  50. 50
    Suzanne says:

    @Paul in KY: The food is worth it. I’ve made that same joke more than once, but it’s friggin’ delicious.

  51. 51
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @sharl: Wha?????

    I do listen to a lot of Q or Cue or … I don’t know how it’s spelled. But they play it late at night in my area on the public radio station and I work late at night. I hated it at first but really got into it after a while. Ugh.

  52. 52
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @karen marie: Too bad. The politics in the South can be pretty vile at times (also the police, additionally (and the weather, also, too)) but at least the food is good.

  53. 53
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Shakezula: There’s a tranche of people with emergent mental illness who are very vulnerable to incitements to paranoia and violence. We ought to be able to talk about this, and also the fact that society does nothing at all to help these people (I’m convinced depression also plays a role) but the NRA goons scream everyone down so we never do.

    A lot of murder/suicides are also committed by men who are depressed. I guess depressed women don’t tend to be as self-centered and entitled as men, who have been fed notions their whole lives that their role in life is to be the man, hold up the whole family, their lives are nothing without you. Depression affects millions of Americans and may be exacerbated by our balls-to-the-wall, crush the poor lifestyle and social structure, but we can’t talk about that either. The “losers” should just pick themselves up by their bootstraps and “quit whining”.

    So, I don’t really think we talk about this kind of stuff enough.

  54. 54
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @AnonPhenom: Or culty church groups.

  55. 55
    Paul in KY says:

    @Suzanne: Somehow, I figured I wasn’t the 1st person to make that connection ;-) Hope to eat there someday.

  56. 56
    Peter says:

    @sharl: I hope this shakes out properly (I read Ghomeshi’s post, but I read another post about the allegations against him and they seem pretty credible) but selfishly I’m glad Q is going off the air. I hate the show deeply, and it always seems to be playing on CBC when I’m driving.

  57. 57
    Cpl Cam says:

    @Shakezula: War nerd is a lot like a modern day Hunter S. Thompson. He’s a somewhat unreliable narrator because every gut instinct he has automatically becomes his reality but he has a unique perspective and is always worth the read.

  58. 58
    Spinoza Is My Co-pilot says:

    @karen marie:

    Man, are you ever completely full of shit. There’s tons of good and even great food to be had in Arizona, especially in the Phoenix metro area. Barrio Café/Barrio Queen, Vincent’s on Camelback, the Fry Bread House on Indian School, Chettinad Chennai, Richardson’s, Pizzeria Bianco, Chanpen Thai, the House of Tricks, Los Reyes de la Torta, Chelsea’s Kitchen, the Roaring Fork, Binkley’s in Cave Creek, and scores and scores of other places.

    It’s obvious it’s not the millions of residents of AZ who wouldn’t recognize good food if it bit them in the ass. The numerous teeth marks that have been appearing in your gluteal region over the past three years or so should have given you a clue.

    The politics in AZ suck, it’s true, but the weather and food here – among many other things – are fantastic.

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