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This Week's Mail Bag! The Definition of Terrorism, Buh-Bye Michele Bachmann and a Sexual Sophie's Choice!!!


Welcome to this weeks edition of The Daily Banter mailbag!! Today, Bob, Ben, Chez and Banter blogger Jessica Furst discuss the definition of terrorism, the departure of Michele Bachmann and a sexual Sophie's Choice between two notorious celebrities.


1. The Daily Banter seems to have concentrated a lot lately on the debate over whether the murder of that British soldier was "terrorism." Does it really matter? Also, when Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Sullivan fight, doesn't everyone technically lose?
-- Nomi

Jessica: So I've been cajoled into joining the mailbag, mainly because too much testosterone is always a bad thing as seen by every boy band ever created and then disbanded "for personal reasons.". To answer you Nomi, the Daily Banter isn't the only one to concentrate on such a question. To the family, no it probably doesn't matter if their son was murdered by terrorists or by crazy people. To the rest of us, we want to know why. They made it about fanaticism when they started shouting about their warped beliefs whilst covered in blood and holding on to a meat cleaver, which makes me think that yes, it was terrorism.

Chez: I suppose it doesn't much matter to the soldier -- he's dead either way. I tend to automatically see terrorism as something that's political or religious in nature and which kills civilians or non-combatants specifically with the intent of cowing the populace and effecting political change. Ergo, yeah, I think hacking a guy's head off in the name of Allah on a London street to start a holy war is terrorism while engaging in state-sanctioned warfare -- no matter how questionable or even despicable -- isn't. I'm sure that would make Greenwald harrumph smugly at my Western-centric hypocrisy, but I can't help but feel that if I take the opposite side of what a pompous ass like that thinks, I'm doing something right. And while he and Sullivan do come off like a couple of bickering old queens, I really do see Sullivan's point of view in the debate as being more grounded in the reality we live in -- as opposed to the one Glenn wishes we lived in. In Greenwald-land, there's no such thing as self-evidence and it becomes exhausting in short order. At this point, though, I genuinely can't tell if I just really fucking dislike him that much.

Ben: 'Terrorism' is a loaded word and it has been used by our government(s) to spread panic and fear in order to pursue particular political objectives (expansion of the security state and in George Bush's case, two illegal and pointless wars). If we call their attacks on us 'terrorism', then I think it levels the playing field if the same terminology is used for our attacks on them. If you use violence to create terror against a) a person or b) a country, it is terrorism. In my opinion anyway.

Bob: Yeah, I think it matters since terrorism carries with it political ramifications and, speaking for myself, I'm in the business of political commentary and observation. Ergo, any display of violence is evaluated from a socio-political point of view. For what it's worth, I have a broad definition of terrorism and the beheading definitely qualified. My definition is generally any act of attempted violence that's accompanied by a political message and which is intended to incite both public panic and a subsequent political reaction. And finally, that debate between Greenwald and Sullivan made my eyeballs bleed. I'm currently at a low-ebb when it comes to tolerating their stuff.

2. Now that Michele Bachmann's out of the picture who's going to be the new leader of the Crazy Caucus?
-- Alexander

Ben: Good question. I'm going for Texas madman Louie Gohmert. Here's a quote for the uninitiated: "I would hate to think that among five women, one of 'em is gonna die because we go to socialized care." Flat out crazy.

Bob: Gohmert. Definitely Gohmert. In fact, I'd like to define crazy politicians as "gohmerts" or use the name to describe a ridiculous blurtgasm -- ie. "pulling a gohmert."

Jessica: My only real suggestion is for everyone to get along and love one another and to sign up to Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle blog. In there you'll find all the tips you need to become like Gwyneth, which if I'm honest, is the only way forward for mankind. She's trying to help us all people, all you have to do is listen.

Chez: While no one will ever replace Bachmann's shameless, wild-eyed crazy, in the congressional Game of Loons, right now Gohmert's got the lead. Although Steve Stockman of Nutsteros and his gun lust could cause him to actually resort to violence to claim the Iron-headed Throne.

3. Better in bed: Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes?
-- Tanya

Chez: Lindsay. Definitely. She's got severe daddy issues and more experience at being a freak. Also, she's been without her usual steady diet of semen for, what, three weeks now since entering rehab? She's jonesing.

Bob: When I look at either of them, all I see are two filthy crazy people. I'm very heterosexual, but no -- neither. Scuzzy nutballs. I'd rather have sex with a bag of rocks. And allow me to be the first one here to question why Chez prefers women with "daddy issues."

Jessica: This is a real tough one. It depends if you like pre or post rehab. Lindsay may cry, feel emotional, require spooning and reassurance and may force you to go to a joint session with a therapist. Amanda may give you a disease that you don't really want, her wig could fall off mid-coitus and she may also cry and want reassurance, but that's probably because she's in withdrawal. You may also be asked to join her intervention by her dad. Tough call, Tanya.

Ben: Got to say, I don't find either of them to be attractive in the slightest. Better in bed? Well, both are batshit crazy (and that usually translates well in the bedroom...), but Bynes is on real high at the moment, and Lohan seems to be slightly less unhinged these days, so I'm going with Bynes.