/ 21 September 2007

Dyeing for the cause

There are days when even the World’s Most Wanted Man looks in the mirror and just feels like the world’s most unwanted man. He stares at his grey beard, sighs wearily at a FedEx-ed package of cave-floor carpet samples Mullah Omar wants him to pick between, and thinks: is there some sharia law loophole that means I could hang out with Scarlett Johansson for a few days, as long we just laugh at funny little Japanese people together and don’t get it on?

His heart says yes; logistical problems say no. But what is the point of all the senseless mass murder and crappy pieces to camera if he has no one to share them with? Osama bin Laden’s belated midlife crisis has been revealed to the world in his latest video, the subplot of which was something about joining his “caravan of martyrs” but its overriding message was: “I’ve been manscaped. Who wants to go to a karaoke bar?”

Studying that newly-dyed beard, two shades up on the Pantone chart from Paul McCartney’s hair, you can only draw one conclusion: an age-inappropriate woman inspired it. He’s probably toying with quitting his job as al-Qaida’s CEO. Maybe even learning to surf, you know?

Alas, the global jihadist movement has the ideological manoeuvrability of a supertanker, and so it is that a new book finds Osama’s junior colleagues behind the curve. In Schmoozing with Terrorists, published this week, journalist Aaron Klein conducts interviews with several jihadists, during which he asks their opinions on various celebrities.

To summarise: holy warriors seem to have got pretty exercised about that kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears at the 2003 MTV video music awards. The one that Madonna declared she had explained to her daughter thusly: “I am the mommy pop star and she is the baby pop star. And I am kissing her to pass my energy on to her.” (Great job, old girl! Unfortunately, Britney’s downward spiral from there on in suggests you are in fact a succubus.)

Anyway, Abu Abdullah, a senior member of Hamas’s military wing, has a strategy for handling the ladies. “At the beginning,” he tells Klein, “we will try to convince Madonna and Britney Spears to follow Allah’s way.” Um … dude, did you see this year’s MTV awards? Britney can’t even follow the backing track’s way. The complex strands of the Qur’an might be a stretch at this difficult stage in her journey.

But Abdel-Al, a like-minded leader of the Popular Resistance Committees, concurs: “If these two prostitutes keep doing what they are doing, we of course will punish them. I will have the honour, I repeat, I will have the honour to be the first one to cut off the heads of Madonna and Britney Spears.” Can you technically be anything other than the first person to cut off someone’s head? Whatever. He goes on to say that women such as Madonna “must be 80 times hit with a belt”.

I think I already saw that in Madonna’s Express Yourself video.

Clearly, though, the positive news is that militants are becoming absurdly obsessed with celebrities, the opium of the West, and, like the rest of us, they will soon be so consumed by Lindsay’s rehab visits and Paris’s upskirt shots, that they will forget all about their day jobs.

In the meantime, does the book show that they respect any of our fine entertainment industry personalities? Well, there is the one . . . they love Mel Gibson. Yes, the jihadists have a lot of time for Mel. And I have to tell you that it isn’t because they really liked his work in Mad Max. — Â