Friday, September 10, 2004

We had this discussion yesterday in our chat room that got me thinking (I've edited liberally and changed some names to protect the innocent) person_x: the big question I've been asking xxx the past few weeks is: person_x: What is a terrorist? person_x: everyone seems willing to use it but no one can tell me what it actually means person_x: especially in the context of current public discourse That initial question quickly devolved into joking of course entropyhed: a terrorist is some one who comes into your house steals the uneaten flan and urinates in your beer person_y: "instigating factor isn't so much a 'behavior' as a spread"... person_x: they can ahve the beer...the flan though is grounds for war ;) evolvedskeptic: I'd say death penalty is too light for E's terrorists entropyhed: draw and quarter? evolvedskeptic: some form of torture mayb person_y: We could flay them slowly.... evolvedskeptic: pour ranch dressing up their noses, shove is some steak fries and leave 'em in a fire ant pit entropyhed: we could remove the top layer of skin from their feet and force them to walk across slat flats : person_x: eep! A check of the OED by our resident expert produced these definitions: evolvedskeptic: volume XVII, page 821 - OED evolvedskeptic: terrorist entropyhed: one who engages in terrorism? entropyhed: hehe person_y: Heheh. evolvedskeptic: 1. As a political term: a. Applied to the Jacobins and their agents and partisans in the French Revolution, esp. to those connected with the Revolutionary tribunals during the 'Reign of Terror' evolvedskeptic: (oh, the irony) entropyhed: at least that isn't obscure person_y: Gotta love the mob....not. evolvedskeptic: b. Any one who attempts to further his views by a system of coercive intimidation. person_y: Oh oh! That sounds like D's "small t terrorism". entropyhed: i haven't seen anything about flan, so I'm obliged to dismiss the OED as a hack job chaos_mine: hmm, so what your trying to say is that someone who terrorizes someone is a terrorist :) chaos_mine: or is it that a terrorist terrorizes evolvedskeptic: I'm still chuckling that an actual, capital 'T' Terrorist is a Frenchman :) chaos_mine: hehe, very appropriate though person_y: Man, that was a brutal time... person_x: those jacobites... person_x: you bring up an interesting point though person_x: if the OED points the finger at the french... person_x: who do the french think fits the definition? entropyhed: americans? evolvedskeptic: 1818 Herve Beauties of Paris II. 296 (Jod.) He assisted La Fayette in endeavouring to defend the king from the Terrorists. person_y: I don't think there are many "Jacobins" left... After the nobility was...shortened... And after they turned in on themselves a bit, I think the blood lust was sated somewhat. evolvedskeptic: 2. Dyslogistically: One who entertains, professes, or tries to awaken or spread a feeling of terror or alarm; an alarmist, a scaremonger. evolvedskeptic: 1805 W. Taylor in Monthly Mag. XIX. 570 Some book of the religious terroritsts, which intended to infuse the alarm of foul perdition. Later� entropyhed: 101073217709889664 evolvedskeptic: big number entropyhed: :) entropyhed: the first 7 digits speciiy the at&t network evolvedskeptic: or the FBI center? evolvedskeptic: :p entropyhed: is there a difference? evolvedskeptic: not any more entropyhed: oh no! I'M a terrorist! evolvedskeptic: oh, oh! entropyhed: ack! evolvedskeptic: [points finger] evolvedskeptic: oui entropyhed: [runs away] evolvedskeptic: oh! evolvedskeptic: I'm a Terrorist person_x: voila!~ person_x: je suis un petit rasoin evolvedskeptic: plus sa change, plus ce le mem chose person_x: me oui! person_x: ::starts looking confused evolvedskeptic: [tosses some water on her] person_x: J'ai besoin d'une attention m�dicale. person_x: Prenez-vous des beignets ? person_x: Je suis trop fatigu� pour le Fran�ais. person_x: and wih that...exit...stage right And what�s my point in all of this? The question lingered with me a bit and I stumbled across this series of 4 books that I think would go a long ways to explaining the terror, terrorist, terrorism zeitgeist. If I can find room in the budget I think I may pick them up. The Psychology of Terrorism

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