Terrorists Feeling — Not BEING — Powerful

John Oliver on terrorists in France

John Oliver on terrorists in France

ISIL is probably feeling pretty powerful right now.

But it’s an illusion.

After weeks of havoc directed at Paris, Russia, Lebanon … and more … what have they got?

Nothing that your average American mass murderer doesn’t accomplish every few months.

A bunch of dead people, anger, frustration … and headlines.

It’s horrific. It’s inhumane. It’s immensely sad.

And it accomplishes nothing.

There’s a big difference between feeling powerful and being powerful. The terrorist attacks probably make ISIL feel powerful. But what did they get?

French pastry, croque-en-bouche

French pastry, croque-en-bouche

Foot soldiers killing themselves to feed the egos of men higher up in the hierarchy — who eventually also end up dead.

That’s right, the suicide bombers are dead… the so-called “mastermind” is dead… Osama bin Laden is dead… Jihadi John is dead… It’s hard to be powerful when you’re dead.

Killing hundreds and grabbing headlines is what you do when you DON’T HAVE power.

Fear is only potent if people do what you want because they are afraid.

But is anyone now fearfully working to accomplish ISIL’s goals?

Terrorists only have the power we give them.

And no one has to give them any.

In the immortal words of John Oliver:

Nothing that these assholes are trying to do is going to work.

If you’re in a war of culture and lifestyle with France, good f*cking luck.

He continues:

France is going to endure. And I’ll tell you why: Because go ahead! Bring your bankrupt ideology — they’ll bring Jean-Paul Sartre, Edith Piaf, fine wine, Gauloises cigarettes, Camus, Camembert, madeleines, macaroons, Proust, and the f*cking croque-en-bouche.

You’ve just brought a philosophy of rigorous self-abnegation to a pastry fight, my friends. You are f*cked!

Video (click) here:

John Oliver on terrorism

John Oliver on terrorism

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 18, 2015, in politics/class inequality, psychology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. In order for us to not give them what they want and not attention, we’d have to callous and not showing the terrible thing that just happened and innocent people that have died. They aren’t powerful and they can’t take over countries, but we need to end this, it’s pissing me off. Yeah they can;t take over a country, but killing groups of innocent people is bad enough. Killing 100, 28, or so forth of people is one too many. All you need is a few attacks just by a few men and you can have a lot of people dead. We need to shut down this, and exterminate them like cockroaches and rats they are.

    • You have to give them some attention simply because we must report the news and because we should mourn the innocent.

      But when you give them wall-to-wall news coverage it just feeds them. Fear of them is the only thing that really gives them power, Because they were actually don’t do anything different from your average mass murderer. When they get a ton of attention it makes them feel high status and powerful — even though it is all empty. And encourages more of the same.

      And you can get rid of them as effectively without all the publicity. Actually, more effectively. Because people are more likely to join them when they get a lot of attention.

      But given TV ratings, and the 24 hour news cycle with a lot of space to fill, I don’t know how likely media will be to cooperate.

  2. The TV series Criminal Minds have several episodes that are related to terrorism. Yes those terrorists tend to harm innocent people due to the lack of power. They crave attention, which can give them a kind of sense of accomplishment. But they are just sick. In the end, unless born to be evil, I think it is the society to blame. As Perry Smith, a cruel killer, once said, “I didn’t have anything against them, and they never did anything wrong to me, the way other people have all my life. Maybe they’re just the ones who have to pay for it”. A person hurts others likely because he or she has been hurt. And the society, including the government and other people, is responsible for creating a better environment.

  3. The amount of attention that the media and other governments give to the terrorist attacks is definitely a factor that further encourages terrorists acts, and the fear that overcomes so many citizens in other countries gives even more power. Unfortunately media is everywhere, news on the government is everywhere, and these attacks will continue to be televised and so many people will continue to unknowingly give power to the terrorist. While our representation gives power to the terrorist, I feel that the governments actions against them are their individual tactics to convince civilians that they still hold a sense of power over the situation. It is very tiresome to constantly read headline after headline of what terrorist have done and how the government is fighting to end it all when in reality both are perpetuating each other.

    • Plus, presidential candidates can get more votes by raising fear, So that doesn’t help either.

      Of course, we need to fight them, But all of the attention just encourages them.

  4. Truly well stated, dear Georgia, but at the same time I believe that headlines and all the space they have occupied based on fear and paranoia is making ISIS feel as a menace, making they believe that they “are” powerful indeed… On the other hand I should recognize that the reactions scare me… And still I wonder if there is a more effective way to beat violence, while excluding it… I guess that under these circumstances, there isn’t!,
    Sending best wishes, Aquileana ⭐️💫

  5. That’s very well put, about the power we give them. It’s true, but you’ve distilled it very well. That’s exactly why we need to NOT become fearful.

  6. I love this post. It’s like flipping them off!

  7. I’ve read many things since terrorist attack last Friday in France. Some videos explained why France was attacked and why Russia, and etc. It comes from way way back, in which these countries crated small countries like Syria etc. I wish the video I saw was in English so you could check it. But the point is, these people are angry because the land that they where promised did not come true, The Big Arabia. So they are picking up on these countries as a revenge, and using the ignorant minds to join them in this war. But as you stated on your article… for what? if at the end they kill themselves. And I agree with it, I personally do not trust religion, because has made many horrible things through history. And you made a clear point on your article.

    • Yeah, it’s important to look at the underlying problems that create terrorism.

      The West isn’t perfect and could do better, like better-integrating immigrant populations and some of the things you mentioned.

      But sometimes terrorists scapegoat us, too.

      Societies that oppress women have poor economies. When the only education you offer kids is reading scripture, that hurts your economy, too. And actually, an over-dependence on oil also harms economies because they don’t bother to develop economically. Then as the population grows there is less to go around. All of this creates frustration and anger. And then their leaders blame “The West” to distract people from problems created by their own rulers.

      At the same time, you cannot be swayed by terrorism. It only encourages them. And terrorism almost never works as a strategy to gaining desired goals — because people know that doing what these a*holes want just encourages them.

  8. They really picked the wrong target by going after France. The french have such an iconic culture and their values are based on brotherhood. ISIL keep making themselves look like such assholes. Increasingly desperate assholes

  9. Those that abuse power don’t quite get that that shows a lack of actual power on their part.

  10. Well said. You can tell they are obsessed with power more than anything else, especially the way they behave in the videos we’ve seen. It’s not going to work well for them at all.

  11. Liberty, freedom, enfranchisement, sweetened by a bowl of croque-en-bouche will continue to appeal to minds and palates…

  12. Yeah. You gotta admit, It’s tough to compete with croque-en-bouche.

  13. I never had read an article about terror with such a clear vision. And the best; focused on their weakness …. They have nothing .. Very good … 🙂 🙂

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