How Jerry Seinfeld can Help Defeat the Islamic State

In your best Jerry Seinfeld voice ask yourself, “…so uh, what’s the deal with the Islamic State”? Now, take Jerry off of your shoulder and put him down on the table and give him some cereal for a moment.

That’s a pretty heavy question, but as heavy as the question is the answer is rather simple–they don’t like us–and by us I mean the West. But really, how can you not like us, we have  Hollywood, great chefs, exciting music, so really, what is their “deal”?

In a recent episode of “Democracy Now”, Abdel Bari Atwan, who was the guest on the show, ran through 7 words outlining how the Islamic State came to be. His packaging of the this was rather brilliant and provided a nice digestible way of putting the Islamic State and the Middle East into perspective, the seven words he used are:

  1. Humiliation – people are humiliated by military intervention and by their own governments which are dictatorships
  2. Frustration – There are a large number (over 100 million) of young and unemployed people looking for direction and a future
  3. Marginalization – The marginalized Sunni Sect created an incubator for Islamic State in Iraq
  4. Military Intervention – causes failed states, which are filled later by the Islamic State
  5. Lack of good governments – Corruption and lack of human rights
  6. Under Estimation – ISIS was underestimated as it was gaining power
  7. Social Media – The Islamic State is using social media platforms to gain followers and broadcast messages to a much larger audience in the past

Now back to Jerry, who just finished eating his Fruit Loops.  Jerry – think of the Islamic State as a glob of mercury. The more you bomb it, the more it breaks up, but never really goes away. And it expands in heat, which in this case, think of heat as war. The deal is this, Jerry, it’s eons of frustration that bombing will only make worse. And the refugee situation? Jerry – the more we turn away the more we feed the cycle outlined above. So it’s imperative we accept refugees. The right-wing pundits and presidential candidates are way off-base on this one.

So Jerry – now that you have some perspective on “What’s the deal”, and it’s clear that the solution isn’t a military one – Jerry – you can help. You represent Hollywood in this blog post, and Hollywood is our biggest export. More than anything this is a war of ideology. Hollywood (which encapsulates “the dream” better than anything else can), education, political sanctions, access to food- all of these things can do a much better job of combating the Islamic State than continuous bombings ever will.

It’s time to re-think this strategy and let the George Costanza fly.

Click below for the interview referenced in this post.

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Cricket Salad and a PBR

It took a while, but eating raw fish is now very mainstream.  Sushi was first introduced sometime in the 80’s.  A bit icky at first, but thanks to a neat westernization of the art form in California, avocado’s served as a stepping stone towards the cold fleshiness of raw fish. The point is, over time, we can grow to accept eating foods that seem uncomfortable.  Eating sushi was a metropolitan badge of cool during the go-go 80’s when board rooms where filled with fat cats doing coke, and every beer commercial featured a party girl in a bikini and a red sports car. Sushi is the polar opposite of all of that.  It’s clean, beautiful, and the delicate rice vinegar used to season the rice is a far cry from spicy buffalo sauce. Sushi stuck around, while the 80’s did not.  It’s now in our supermarkets and a feature of many a good sit-in restaurant. OK – then what is this about?—well, crickets.

The UN recently said that eating bugs will help us fight world hunger.  I heard a story recently on NPR where the UN went as far as hosting a bug tasting that featured cricket sashimi and other yummy appetizers.  I’m not too mad about not receiving an invite to that event.  I’m more curious about who the brave chef will be that will put stink bugs on their menu and help westernize the cricket.

Entomophagy is the study of eating insects.  The UN reports that over 2 million people eat insects around the world and is very high in protein

But this is a bit different from sushi.  Where sushi is artistic in presentation, stink bugs probably aren’t. And from what I’ve read thus far, bugs don’t taste very good either.  Making the cricket mainstream will have to do a lot with perception hijacking our senses. And nothing does that better than whatever it is that we perceive to be cool.  Some brave person will have to make the cricket delectably cool.

Cool comes in waves and usually begins in dirty places.  And just like sushi was the opposite of all things 80’s, crickets are the opposite of all things today.  It just doesn’t seem to fit within the Googley white-space of our perfectly auto-tuned society.  This movement won’t come from the UN telling us that bugs are a fantastic source of protein.  It won’t come from some celebrity chef trying to be shocking on some half-baked cooking show.  This will most likely come from the Pabst Blue Ribbon crowd asking for a cricket salad in a dirty hipster gastro-pub.

If your curious about preparing some bugs your own and being a harbinger of cool, here are two blogs that will give you some yummy crawler recipes and ideas.

I can see it already, cricket sashimi, cricket flambe, cricket ice cream, cricket a la mode, cricket sundae, cricket fricassee, cricket risotto,  cricket pancakes, cricket o’s cereal….you get the idea.  Now we just have to start getting used to it.