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For this giveaway, we're pleased to offer the winner a choice of one of three formulations: 10 Years Younger, for drier more mature skin; Moisture Lock, which hydrates the skin; or No More Shine, for oily foreheads and unwanted summer shine.
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Entry deadline: midnight Pacific Time, June 17. Contest open only to U.S. residents of the 50 states and District of Columbia.
Earlier this week Apple released an update to the font rendering part of OS-X 10.6 because there had been a problem with rendering some Open-Type fonts. Adobe’s Minion-Pro has become my favorite text font for music notation, and I had been baffled when Minion Pro had stopped working in Sibelius, the music notation software that I use.
As soon as I saw the notice of the update, I became excited, thinking that this might solve the problem, and “hooray!” it did. At breakfast I began excitedly telling my wife about all this, telling her how beautiful the font is, and how it was designed by the same designer who had designed Arno Pro, and that the designer was named Robert Slimbach. I knew I had gone too far when I recalled the font designer’s name off the top of my head, and, sure enough, my wife gave me an OMG-I’m-married-to-a-geek look.
I had been using Times New Roman in the meantime, but it is hard to explain how much more beautiful I thought the opera score I was working on looked with the text in Minion Pro. Minion has become one of the most popular book fonts since its release in 1990. It is simply beautiful, if not glamorous—assuming you are into fonts.
And it looks especially nice on the 30-inch backlit LED Apple Cinema Display screen I recently purchased because I was so jealous whenever I saw my wife using hers. It was the only choice that she had when she bought a new Mac Pro, but as soon as I saw it I knew that sooner or later I had to have one too. Ultimately there was no justification for my buying a new display, but I did, and now everytime I bring up a music score, and I look at this beautiful screen (now displaying Minion Pro as the text font in all its glory), it makes me happy. And, I want to compose. In this case a glamorous screen and a glamorous font help motivate me to work.
Glamour can sell religious devotion or military glory as surely as it can pitch lipstick or island vacations. All promise a way to transcend our everyday circumstances, to experience more and become better than ordinary life allows. All invite us to imagine escape and transformation.
Glamour appeals to our desires, whatever they may be, and Jihadi glamour offers something for everyone: from historical importance to union with God, not to mention riches and beautiful women. Consider this excerpt on the glories of martyrdom from the Egyptian cleric Hazem Sallah Abu Isma'il (transcribed and translated by MEMRI, my ellipses, video here):
The martyrs are the ones who have changed the course of history. They are the ones who have changed the course of human life. The course of human life proceeds this way, until a martyrdom-seeker collides with it, changing and diverting it. Whenever a martyrdom-seeker collides into it, he restores the course of humanity to the path planned by Allah....
The [martyr] does not lose anything. He does not die. All of a sudden he ascends to the angels and lives next to Allah. He pleads on behalf of 70 of his family members....The Crown of Honor is placed on his head. The gem in this crown is more precious than the whole world. He is married off to 70 black-eyed virgins. If one of these virgins were to descend to this world, her light would extinguish the light of the sun and the moon. That's how beautiful she is.
It's a compelling vision. Of course, traditional martyrs--Muslim or Christian--don't deliberately blow up innocents (though religious wars are hard on civilians).
Watching the excellent new movie Traitor, I was struck by another aspect of terrorist glamour: how much it resembles, at least in fictional portrayals, the glamour of heist movies. (Don Cheadle is an explosives expert in both Traitor and the Ocean's 11 movies.) In both, you have a secret and intricate plan in which every team member is important and the goal is to outwit authorities and commit a crime. It's not hard to imagine how appealing that might be to a bored and impressionable person.
As Rushdie suggests, of course, glamour always leaves something out, in this case the literally gory details of the act (and I wouldn't bet on eternal life or crowns and virgins). And in most of its incarnations, glamour proves perishable. Either aspirations change, entropy and boredom set in, or the audience learns too much, destroying the mystery and grace on which glamour's beautiful illusion depends. The question for this September 11 is, How do we puncture the glamour of Jihadi terrorism? The first step is recognizing that such glamour exists.