*In 1920, a Dada demonstration took place in Cologne, Germany. A little girl dressed as if she were taking her first communion, opened the event by reciting obscene poems.
*Also in 1920, Dadaist painter Francis Picabia (1879-1953) wrote: “Jesus-Christ jockey! Yes, he became the curiosity of the crowds, he made the race, everyone bet on him, result for the betters: nothing.” (Francis Picabia, Jésus-Christ Rastaquouère, Editions Allia, Paris, 1996, p. 23.)
*To the ever-lasting chagrin of the Catholic Church, in 1928, surrealist Max Ernst (1891-1976) painted “The Virgin Spanking The Enfant Jesus Before Three Witnesses: André Breton, Paul Eluard and The Artist.” (See "The Source of Terrorism," pp. 172-3.)
What is al-Awlaki up to? What do his excretions of facetious, teenager humor mean? Well, i
iddle class rebellion cultivates and harvests a self-image rooted in the opinions of other people.
“To live and die before a mirror”: that … was the dandy’s slogan. It is indeed a coherent slogan. The dandy is, by occupation, always in opposition. He can only exist by defiance … The dandy rallies his forces and creates a unity for himself by the very violence of his refusal. Profligate, like all people without a rule of life, he is coherent as an actor. But an actor implies a public; the dandy can only play a part by setting himself up in opposition. He can only be sure of his own existence by finding it in the expression of others’ faces. Other people are his mirror. A mirror that quickly becomes clouded, it is true, since human capacity for attention is limited. It must be ceaselessly stimulated, spurred on by provocation. The dandy, therefore, is always compelled to astonish. Singularity is his vocation, excess his way to perfection. Perpetually incomplete, always on the fringe of things, he compels others to create him, while denying their values. He plays at life because he is unable to live it. (Albert Camus, The Rebel, Vintage Books, New York, 1956, pp. 51-2.)
Al-Awlaki will "not go gentle into that good night." He will not stop provoking because he cannot cease to astonish. Kill Americans: the instant he stops being excessive, he will disappear in the eyes of his enemies. No mirror = no appearance = no reality. Held together by the sheer violence of his defiance, he is compelled to make philosophy with gun in hand.
Hugh, I'm sorry but I do not wish to go further. We're on the edge of some very powerful, innovative indicators of terrorism. (See this blog, Nov. 7 and 9 posts.)