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BEING THERE: Moosh & Twist @ The TLA

February 28th, 2015

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Photo by DYLAN LONG

Hometown heroes DeQuincy Coleman McRae (Moosh, right) and Oliver Feighan (Twist, left) have gone from local rappers/Friends Select alums to globe-trotting recording artists who collaborate with the likes of Hoodie Allen. Friday night at the TLA kicked off with South-Philly up-and-comer Major Van Winkle and the Philly-bred live hip-hop act Ground Up, who recently sold out the Union Transfer with their vibrant-yet-dirty bars & heavy hitting drums. At half past 10, OCD: Moosh & Twist took the stage and unleashed their heavy and intricate bars, mixing in oldies — “Hold It Down,” “Take Me Back” and “All Alright” — with various new and as of yet unreleased anthems. This being at least the fifth time OCD has played the TLA, they’ve clearly learned how to work the room for maximum impact and Friday night they put on a ridiculously hype show. – DYLAN LONG

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RIP: Leonard Nimoy, Socratic Logician, Dead @ 83

February 27th, 2015

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Artwork by JADAMFOX

NEW YORK TIMES: Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83. His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper.”

Mr. Nimoy, who was teaching Method acting at his own studio when he was cast in the original “Star Trek” television series in the mid-1960s, relished playing outsiders, and he developed what he later admitted was a mystical identification with Spock, the lone alien on the starship’s bridge. Yet he also acknowledged ambivalence about being tethered to the character, expressing it most plainly in the titles of two autobiographies: “I Am Not Spock,” published in 1977, and “I Am Spock,” published in 1995. In the first, he wrote, “In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.”

“Star Trek,” which had its premiere on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, made Mr. Nimoy a star. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the franchise, called him “the conscience of ‘Star Trek’ ” — an often earnest, sometimes campy show that employed the distant future (as well as some primitive special effects by today’s standards) to take on social issues of the 1960s. His stardom would endure. Though the series was canceled after three seasons because of low ratings, a cultlike following — the conference-holding, costume-wearing Trekkies, or Trekkers (the designation Mr. Nimoy preferred) — coalesced soon after “Star Trek” went into syndication. MORE

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BEING THERE: Ariel Pink @ Union Transfer

February 26th, 2015

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Photo by MARY LYNN DOMGINUEZ

Tuesday night at Union Transfer, concertgoers in tacky plastic sunglasses and obnoxiously puffy fur coats awaited sunny pop salvation from their favorite wacky-rock idol. Though temperatures were below freezing outside, there was a hellish rise in temperature, glitter and lipstick graffiti when Ariel Pink and his ragtag five-piece band of sinners took the stage. You never quite know what you are going to get at an Ariel Pink concert. Typical sour antics at Ariel Pink concerts include: moody mid-show breakdowns, lost heads, and merciless 300-year sentences to the deepest, darkest dungeons doled out to naysayers of his music. But much to the relief of all on hand, Ariel wanted to play nice Tuesday night, signaling as much by reaching out to shake the hands of fans that idolize him, like a gentle giant in purple platform shoes. Specks of glitter flecked his face and reflected the stage lights, along with his long platinum-blonde hair, which was tied up in Troll Doll fashion. And he was smiling. Why was he smiling? Who died? His already strong aura of absurdity intensified. With that, Ariel Pink delivered a mammoth 18-song set chock full of playful psychedelic pop tunes that were just as crazy-cool as his get-up, serenading the audience with odes to the joys of Jell-O on white bread, strip clubs and black ballerinas as the audience bounced around like a bowl of spilled jellybeans on a trampoline. Fittingly, he closed the show with “Picture Me Gone,” and bidding us adieu he announced to the crowd that the next stop on his tour was the Mayo Clinic, where, as per usual, he will no doubt comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. – MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

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ON ASSIGNMENT: In The Lonesome Crowded West

February 20th, 2015

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Photo by PAT GRAHAM

Heading out to Portlandia to talk to this guy for these guys. Then up to Seattle to talk to these guys for these guys. It’s a lot of guys. And a LOT of running around the Pac Northwest. As such, the pace of our updates schedule will slow for the time being. I’ll be back in the office March 1. Behave.

RELATED: More than any other band, Modest Mouse represented the ascendency of indie rock at the turn of the millennium. True dyed-in-the-wool independent musicians, after years of touring and recording, in 2004, these indie darlings released the platinum-selling Good News for People Who Love Bad News, changingModest Mouse CVR the face of popular rock music and opening the door for a new wave of like-minded peers. Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock and photographer Pat Graham were housemates in 1992, in Washington, DC. In 1997 Modest Mouse embarked on their first U.S. tour, and Isaac asked Pat to come out and help with managing and driving, and most importantly to photograph the tour. What followed over the next 12 years were a continuing friendship and many tours across the USA, Europe, and Japan. Modest Mouse is Graham’s firsthand, intimate, visual history of a good friend and the band that he created. His photographs of Isaac Brock and Modest Mouse are a rare and privileged view. Onstage and 10,000 miles off of it, Graham’s remarkable photos record the broken down vans, overflowing merch tables, adoring fans, blown amps, couches turned into beds for weary tourmates, performance injuries, more filthy than average motel rooms, run-of-the-mill truck-stops, zen moments and breathtaking landscapes, and scores of other sights of almost a decade on the road, along with both compelling and candid portraits of the band members and their friends. Witness to all the highs and the lows of the road, Modest Mouse is a treasure for anyone interested in a backstage view and a deeper understanding of the glory, grit, and grime of rock and roll. MORE

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THE SONICS: Bad Betty

February 20th, 2015

The Sonics, Tacoma, WA garage-rock legends, will release their first studio album since 1967 on March 31st and will back it up with a proper tour. They play the TLA on April 12th (complete listing of tour dates after the jump). Recorded in “earth-shaking mono” by noted producer Jim Diamond of Ghetto Recorders at Soundhouse Studios in Seattle, “This Is The Sonics” reunites original members Jerry Roslie on keyboards and vocals, Larry Parypa on guitar and vocals and Rob Lind on sax, harmonica and vocals. They are backed by a powerhouse rhythm section, bassist Freddie Dennis (the Kingsmen, the Liverpool Five) and drummer Dusty Watson (Dick Dale, Agent Orange).

“This Is The Sonics” follows the legendary “Here Are the Sonics” (1965) and “Boom” (1966) LPs which rocketed the Tacoma garage rock band into music history with a gritty, sped-up, brutal rock & roll attack that sounded like nothing that had come sonicsbefore. The Sonics single-handedly defined the genre of garage rock with their debut single “The Witch” (1964) at a time when upbeat, positive ditties were still the standard rock fare. Instead, Roslie howled a primitive cri de coeur that took teenage desperation into far darker waters in the vein of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, with ominous, drug-soaked, even Satanic themes, anticipating punk, heavy metal and grunge in its sonic force.
Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Funny About Police, Love & Understanding?

February 19th, 2015

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Illustration by ALEX FINE

JEFF DEENEY FOR THE MARSHALL PROJECT: As a social worker, I’ve always been conflicted about the fact that I work in a law enforcement setting. My desk is situated among probation officers (POs), typically in baby blue polo style shirts with “PROBATION” written across the back. Officers from the court system’s warrant squad come and go, dressed in black commando gear, pants tucked into their boots so they don’t trip when they run (they’re basically always running after people.) I see guns in the office, all the time. It’s a controlled environment; people are searched on their way in, communicate with administrative staff through Plexiglas before getting buzzed into a tiny locked room where they’re separated from their POs by a desktop barrier. Under the desk is a panic button a PO can hit if he Marshalling-the-Media-v4needs to call the warrant squad to come grip a dude up and take him into custody. There’s an ad hoc lab on the floor I work on, where every day gallons of urine are collected and sent out for drug testing.

It’s not only not a place conducive to therapeutic interaction, it’s a gloomy, misery-inducing dump absolutely nobody enjoys coming to, POs or probationers. The building is old, falling apart, filled with bugs and mice. The equipment POs work on is almost comically outdated (POs got new computers recently – bringing them up to date from 2004, when the last batch of office PCs had been bought). Just riding the failing elevators is a dice roll, because they frequently stick between floors, or the doors won’t open.

There’s a plan for the office to eventually move into a new, upgraded space, but not because anyone feels the department deserves better digs. In recent years our corner has undergone significant redevelopment, with a rework of the convention center across the street and a luxury hotel with a French name moving into the building next door. One gets the sense that the relocation is less about improving the probation venue than relocating the long line of often heavily tattooed black men that stretches down the block every morning, so tourists won’t have to walk by them on the way to breakfast.

The physical condition of the probation office is critical to understanding what thousands of drug users and sellers experience once they’ve entered the criminal justice system. Marshalling-the-Media-v4It’s a space that amplifies hostility. Probationers continually complain about what they feel are probation officers who are abusive, disrespectful, racist or petty power trippers out to wreck your life just to show you they can. Conversely, POs feel underpaid, underappreciated and under constant assault by criminals who would just as soon stab them in the back if they thought they could get away with it. So POs are frequently rigid and stand-offish as they seek to impose control, and probationers are often the same as they seek to resist it. Authority and the anti-authoritarian become locked in a bitter embrace that, based on what I’ve seen over the years, is mutually destructive. MORE

RELATED: The Marshall Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization founded on two simple ideas:

1) There is a pressing national need for high-quality journalism about the American criminal justice system. The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. Spiraling costs, inhumane prison conditions, controversial drug laws, and concerns about systemic racial bias have contributed to a growing bipartisan consensus that our criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform.

The recent disruption in traditional media means that fewer institutions have the resources to take on complex issues such as criminal justice. The Marshall Project stands out against this landscape by investing in journalism on all aspects of our justice system. Our work will be shaped by accuracy, fairness, independence, and impartiality, with an emphasis on stories that have been underreported or misunderstood. We will partner with a broad array of media organizations to magnify our message, and our innovative website will serve as a dynamic hub for the most significant news and comment from the world of criminal justice.Marshalling-the-Media-v4

2) With the growing awareness of the system’s failings, now is an opportune moment to amplify the national conversation about criminal justice. We believe that storytelling can be a powerful agent of social change. Our mission is to raise public awareness around issues of criminal justice and the possibility for reform. But while we are nonpartisan, we are not neutral. Our hope is that by bringing transparency to the systemic problems that plague our courts and prisons, we can help stimulate a national conversation about how best to reform our system of crime and punishment. MORE

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NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

February 19th, 2015

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FRESH AIR

listen

When David Remnick took the job as editor of The New Yorker in 1998, he learned quickly to make firm decisions about contentious stories. Just a few months into the position, Remnick called Si Newhouse, the magazine’s owner, to tell him about a piece he was running that was accusing “all kinds of high-level chicanery.” “I knew that there was this thing at the Washington Post called ‘the no surprises rule,’ which was that [editor] Ben [Bradlee] knew that he should call [publisher] Katharine Graham when there was something really major so she wasn’t surprised when she picked up the paper the next morning,” Remnick tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. So Remnick says he called Newhouse and told him the story had been a-newyorker“lawyered and checked” and that he felt confident about it. Newhouse replied, in almost a whisper: “That sounds very interesting, I look forward to reading it.” “The message there, to me, was clear: This is your job. You’re in charge of this, that’s why I made you the editor,” Remnick says. “Unspoken was: Don’t screw it up or then you won’t be the editor. I never called him again.” This week, The New Yorker magazine is celebrating its 90th anniversary with a special edition. The magazine is running nine covers by its most celebrated artists (which you can see in the slideshow above). Under his tenure, Remnick has guided the magazine — known for its long-form investigative pieces, reviews, cartoons, humor pieces and fiction — through national crises, including Sept. 11 and the war in Iraq. And, as major shifts in media have resulted in the demise of other publications, Remnick has moved The New Yorker into the digital sphere. Remnick started his career at the Washington Post, where he became Moscow correspondent. His book Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire won a Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. He joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 1992. Since he became editor in 1998, The New Yorker has won 37 National Magazine Awards. MORE

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NY TIMES: How One Stupid Tweet F*cked My Life

February 18th, 2015

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NEW YORK TIMES: As she made the long journey from New York to South Africa, to visit family during the holidays in 2013, Justine Sacco, 30 years old and the senior director of corporate communications at IAC, began tweeting acerbic little jokes about the indignities of travel. There was one about a fellow passenger on the flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport:

“ ‘Weird German Dude: You’re in First Class. It’s 2014. Get some deodorant.’ — Inner monologue as I inhale BO. Thank God for pharmaceuticals.”

Then, during her layover at Heathrow:

“Chilly — cucumber sandwiches — bad teeth. Back in London!”

And on Dec. 20, before the final leg of her trip to Cape Town:

“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

She chuckled to herself as she pressed send on this last one, then wandered around Heathrow’s international terminal for half an hour, sporadically checking her phone. No one replied, which didn’t surprise her. She had only 170 Twitter followers.

Sacco boarded the plane. It was an 11-hour flight, so she slept. When the plane landed in Cape Town and was taxiing on the runway, she turned on her phone. Right away, she got a text from someone she hadn’t spoken to since high school: “I’m so sorry to see what’s happening.” Sacco looked at it, baffled.

Then another text: “You need to call me immediately.” It was from her best friend, Hannah. Then her phone exploded with more texts and alerts. And then it rang. It was Hannah. “You’re the No. 1 worldwide trend on Twitter right now,” she said. MORE

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ARIEL PINK: Picture Me Gone

February 18th, 2015

Deeply weird and Kubrick-ian. Directed by Grant Singer. Why are we not surprised that he’s got a screenshot from The Shining on his Twitter page. As for the song, it is easily the best thing the Magnetic Fields have ever done.

RELATED: Last Tuesday, Ariel Pink, the Los Angeles musician known for pop songs that are catchy and inscrutable in equal measure, jumped into an S.U.V. outside his Williamsburg hotel and plugged in his iPhone as he headed to Staten Island for a gig. He directed his attention to Twitter, where he had become a sudden target of vitriol. An Australian Web site had just published an interview in which Pink said that Madonna’s label had asked him to write songs for her new album, which Pink thought was smart, given the “downward slide” of her career. This assessment did not sit well with Madonna—the Queen of Pop “has no interest in working with mermaids,” her manager said—or her fans. “Keep yourself in your irrelevant world, u’re nobody,” one tweeted. “All right, MySpace has chimed in,” Pink said, reading a tweet from the social network’s official account. “ ‘Ariel Pink is indie rock’s most hated man right now.’ Yes!” Pink, who is thirty-six and has shoulder-length blond hair, has been an indie darling for the better part of a decade: Pitchfork, the Millennials’ Rolling Stone, named “Round and Round” the best song of 2010, and Entertainment Weekly declared a recent concert, during which Pink crowd-surfed with a beer, to be the singer’s “coronation as some sort of hipster king.” “I’ve been the next big thing for, like, ten years now,” Pink said. He wore an unbuttoned plaid shirt over a plunging V-neck, with splotches of red nail polish on both thumbs. “I feel really old.” MORE

ARIEL PINK  & JACK NAME PLAY UNION TRANSFER  ON TUESDAY FEBRUARY 24TH

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EXCERPT: The Gospel According To Father John

February 17th, 2015

Father John Misty

Photo by EMMA TILLMAN

EDITOR’s NOTE: To mark the release of Father John Misty’s I Love You Honey Bear we are reprinting my 2013 FJM MAGNET cover story and, for the first time, a link to download a PDF of the complete story

MAGNET: Father John Misty lives in a red-clay adobe pueblo on top of a low mountain in Echo Park. Good luck trying to find it without GPS and a helicopter. Down below the cloud line, the hazy glittering grid of Greater Los Angeles recedes into the infinite. From the vantage point of this fairly Olympian perch, Los Angeles looks like flecks of diamond embedded in a filthy sidewalk. Like most wise men atop mountains, Father John Misty’s possessions are few: his beard, his acoustic guitar, his vinyl copy of On The Beach and a mason jar filled to the brim with psyilocybin mushroom caps. There is no internet access, cellular service is intermittent at best, and in Father John Misty’s world there is no such thing as TV—just Richard Brautigan novels. There is a black 1972 Cadillac Hearse parked out front that he literally bought for a song. His sole companion, besides his thoughts and psychoactive fungi, is Emma, his gorgeous twentysomething gal pal, currently a grad student at UCLA film school, and last seen in the “Nancy From Now On” video in a black bustier and garter belt, slapping Tillman around and forcibly shaving off his beard, Delilah-like, in a room at the Chateau Marmont. She makes a helluva kale smoothie.

FJM-MAGNET-COVER-ARTFather John Misty is the nom de soft rock of one Joshua Tillman, a.k.a. J. Tillman, ex-drummer for Fleet Foxes and author of eight largely ignored and invariably joyless solo albums of pious folk rectitude. These were the songs of innocence, the whispery bedroom folk he made on the sly between globe-trotting tours wherein the Fleet Foxes charmed the pants off the world, but could barely stand the sight of each other. Those albums remain a well-kept secret. And then one day in 2010, he blew up his life. Killed off J. Tillman, quit the Fleet Foxes, let his raging id off the short leash it had been kept on since his tormented childhood spent trapped in a fundamentalist Christian house of pain. Instead of muting his wicked sense of humor and bottomless appetite for the absurd, he turned it up to 11. He changed his stage name to Father John Misty. Threw his guitar and a family-size sack of magic mushrooms into the van, and set the controls for the heart of Babylon.

Look out Hollywood, here I come.

Fear Fun (Sub Pop), Father John Misty’s debut, came out a year ago, and after 12 months of trippin’-balls touring, four cinematic high-concept videos (in his latest, he dances to “Fun Times In Babylon” amid the ruins of a 747 crashed into a suburban subdivision, a set piece left over from Steven Spielberg’s War Of The Worlds), inclusion on innumerable year-end best-of lists and a lot of swooning word of mouth on social media, the album has become the sleeper hit of the year. This despite a very public gloves-off Twitter war with Pitchfork. But more than any of those things, the reason Fear Fun has legs is because it’s front-loaded with earworms dressed up in stoned-in-the-Canyon harmonies, scuffed-denim twang, and acid-witted Nilsson-ian soft-rock pastiches. And, most importantly, The Voice. Dude sings like an angel wrapped in velvet and smothered in honey. His voice is characterized by something extremely rare in modern music: the unstrained quality of mercy. To quote the Bard, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven. Or, as Tillman puts it, he can sing like a motherfucker.

It is shortly after 10 a.m. on yet another glorious, sun-kissed day in Babylon when I show up at Tillman’s compound high atop Misty Mountain. His publicist assured me via text when I deplaned that he was awake and eagerly awaiting my arrival, but he seems surprised and unprepared when I get to his front door. For one thing, he is completely naked. “Sorry,” he says sheepishly after pulling on some pants. “I’m sure you’ve seen worse.” I tell him it will make for a colorful opening scene for the story. MORE

PDF: THE COMPLETE FATHER JOHN MISTY MAGNET COVER STORY [PDF]

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BECKYONCE: Single Loser (Put A Beck On It)

February 17th, 2015

This is pretty great.

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RIP: Lesley Gore, Proto-Feminist Queen Of Teen ’63

February 17th, 2015

NEW YORK TIMES: Lesley Gore, who was a teenager in the 1960s when she recorded hit songs about heartbreak and resilience that went on to become feminist touchstones, died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 68. Lois Sasson, her partner of 33 years, said Ms. Gore died of lung cancer at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. With songs like “It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry” and the indelibly defiant 1964 single “You Don’t Own Me” — all recorded before she was 18 — Ms. Gore made herself the voice of teenage girls aggrieved by fickle boyfriends, moving quickly from tearful self-pity to fierce self-assertion. “You Don’t Own Me,” written by John Madara and David White, originally reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has been repeatedly rerecorded and revived by performers including Dusty Springfield, Joan Jett and the cast of the 1996 movie “The First Wives Club.” “When I heard it for the first time, I thought it had an important humanist quality,” Ms. Gore told The Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 2010. “As I got older, feminism became more a part of my life and more a part of our whole awareness, and I could see why people would use it as a feminist anthem. I don’t care what age you are — whether you’re 16 or 116 — there’s nothing more wonderful than standing on the stage and shaking your finger and singing, ‘Don’t tell me what to do.’ ” MORE

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THE ATLANTIC: ISIS Is Not ‘Un-Islamic’

February 16th, 2015

Anti ISIL Poster

 

THE ATLANTIC: Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic. It is, of course, reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment. But Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.” Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an “interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition.”

Every academic I asked about the Islamic State’s ideology sent me to Haykel. Of partial Lebanese descent, Haykel grew up in Lebanon and the United States, and when he talks through his Mephistophelian goatee, there is a hint of an unplaceable foreign accent. According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they do it all the time.” He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else.”

All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time. In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.” The Koran specifies crucifixion as one of the only punishments permitted for enemies of Islam. MORE

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Check out Ticket Liquidator's Live Toast blog, it's one of the coolest company blogs out there. Not just your usual candy-coated array of dead-end zzzzzzzzz inducing rubbish, Live Toast brings you all the funniest and wackiest original content that you won't see anywhere else on the web. Plus, Ticket Liquidator's team will bring you lots of other articles on concerts, sports and music, including news on ticket prices, plus articles about cool music from firsthand perspectives. All in all Ticket Liquidator is evolving, into a new kind of ticket company. And leaving the rest behind...