He that troubleth his own house, shall inherit the wind. - Proverbs 11:29
Russell played his Hidden Immunity Idol needlessly at last week's Tribal Council, and now has a huge target painted on his back, with no defense. What is the last refuge of the desperate and forlorn? Religion.
Remember back in episode 1, when Russell poured out his tribemates' water while they slept, and burned Jaison's socks? Well right about now, according to the Bible, where the hopeless seek hope, Russell should be investigating what the estate taxes on breezes are because he's about to have the prevailing westerlies bequeathed to him.
Natalie: "I'll pray for you.
Russell: "So I'm hoping for a miracle, because I'm in deep trouble right now."
The thing is, Natalie may be praying for him, but of the twenty or thirty people in America still watching Survivor, all are praying for Russell to reap the whirlwind. (I kid that no one watches Survivor anymore, but the fact is, it's still in the Nielson Top Twenty every week, due entirely to this column.)
And who is the High Priestess of Tribe Igag? Evil Laura, the Sarah Palin wanna-be and right-wing religious nutjob. Thus spake Evil Laura: "It was the dumbest move that Russell could have made, playing that idol tonight. ... Russell is gonna be gone next." So let it be written; so let it be done.
Members of P.E.T.A. will have been repulsed by the episode opening this week, in which Natalie brutally clubbed Mickey Mouse to death right on camera. Here he was, trying to do a little cross-promotion, and invite all the Igag tribe members to participate in Survivor: EuroDisney next year, and Natalie The Rodent Killer didn't recognize him without his little white gloves and red shorts, and bashed his brains out. Around the world, children weep.
She tried to pass him off as a rat, but her own choice of words gave her away: "It was really hard for me, because he was looking at me, and he was cute." Natalie, rats are not "cute." Rats are revolting. That he was cute was a dead giveaway that it was Mickey Mouse. Oh, it was "really hard" for you? It was harder for Mickey. At least she didn't bash until she could see the red of his eyes, and then one of those eyes hit her in the nose as she clubbed him into mouse pate, using, I've no doubt, a Mickey Mouse Club.
Arriving back at camp with her kill, Natalie, the Great White Huntress, told her tales of bravery (It was feral. It went for my throat, fangs bared. I barely prevailed. It was me or Mickey.) Then Brett Whoever gutted Little Mickey, and everyone gorged themselves into satiation on the one gram of mousemeat each received. Donald Duck, watching from a safe hiding place, hearing them say Mickey tasted of chicken, was horrified, and fled, barely escaping alive via the Shambles Chicken Escape Route. No word on the fate of the minimum-wage theme park worker who had been wearing the Mickey Mouse costume, but mice taste of mouse. People taste of chicken.
Russell now put his faith in finding the "other" idol; you know, the one that departed unused in Erik's pocket. "If there's another immunity idol that gets put into play, I'm a find it. Because I'm probably gone next time, so I have to believe there's one here." Ignoring his grammar ("I'm a find it." What the heck does that mean?), and concentrating on The Roots of Faith, we find religious "logic" at it's purest. Russell must believe there's another idol, not because there actually is one. But because he squandered the one he had, and so seeks redemption in blind faith.
"And now for something completely different," began the treemail, in a pitiful attempt to fool us into thinking we were watching Monty Python's Flying Circus, which, sadly, we weren't. Now that's what I call a dead mouse. He's bleeding demised. He's not pining; he's passed on. This mouse is no more. He has ceased to be. He's expired and gone to meet his maker. He's a stiff. Bereft of life, he rests in peace. If you hadn't nailed him to a coconut he'd be pushing up the daisies. He's off the twig. He's curled up his tootsies. He's shuffled off this mortal coil. He's rung down the final curtain and joined the bleeding choir invisible. He's bleeding snuffed it. Vis-a-vis, the metabolic processes, he's had his lot. All statements to the effect that this mouse is still a going concern are, from now on, inoperative. This is an ex-mouse.
No such luck.
It was still Survivor, and Russell was still worshiping at the Temple of the Lost Idol. Russell's baseless Faith grew faster than that of a fresh convert to a fringe cult: "The second immunity Idol, I think it's in the camp, right now, and I think I'm a find it today." (Again with that weird "I'm a" phrase.)
Notice how already, Russell has followed the basic development pattern of any religion, going in short time from "I believe there's an idol" to "I think there's an idol," although thinking has had nothing to do with it. Faith in a wholly invented Reality Substitute has already been replaced by Certainty that his fantasy is real. Give him one more day, and should Jeff Probst say to him, "Russell, Erik had the other immunity idol. It's gone." Russell would scream "Unbeliever! Blasphemer! Heretic!" and burn him at the stake.
Reward Challenge: Oh man, this one was complicated, but on the other hand, it made for a lousy spectator sport. Two teams would race out and grab poles with black and white cocoanuts (who knew they came in black and white? I thought they were all brown.), but then these had to be stacked to form numbers. Oh boy. Puzzle-solving. Always lousy viewing. But then, to top it off, a player would have to match the digits on a little rollers with black and white studs, blindfolded! We might as well all be blindfolded at home while we watched it, for all the visual excitement this offered. Oh, and it also involved that sure-fire spectator favorite, knot untying. You know, if they'd just add knot untying to the Winter Olympics, perhaps people would watch it.
The reward for the winning team was to go to a "rock slide," which was not, as it turned out, an unstable mountainside where boulders crash down on the unwary, but a set of smooth rocks you could slide down into a pool, the Samoan version of a waterpark, and a picnic, with, Jeff promised, Chicken. Tastes of Mickey Mouse. I was waiting for someone to say, "Chicken? No thanks. I'm just stuffed full of rat. Couldn't eat another bite."
When Jeff mentioned there was also chocolate, Shambles moaned "Chocolate," in a manner that would do Homer Simpson proud, and was more than enough to justify Jaison cupping his privates.
Natalie, the Pied Piper of Igag, was odd-woman-out, and was allowed to root for one team, and then share their win or loss. She chose the team without Shambles, whose skill at puzzles is utterly fictional. Smart as this seemed, it ignored the fact that the team she did choose had the other three former members of Tribe Zsa Zsa on it, and they generally couldn't win a challenge if they played unopposed.
In the running back and forth part of the challenge, you know, the only part that was at all fun to watch, on her second time out, ex-Marine badass Shambles was already falling apart, really slowing her team down, as Jeff tactfully put it. Turns out she's not so much a badass, as a bad ass. Hmmm. She's no good at the mental parts of any challenge, and it turns out, she's no good at the athletic parts of the competition either. But she can lose a chicken in record time.
Given that they have five poles full of coconuts, which can be stacked in any order, and placed left to right or right to left, meaning they have about 500 different combinations of how they can be arranged, and no idea what the numbers they are trying to assemble are, this part of the challenge could easily take an hour or two to do. Through the miracle of film editing, we didn't have to watch it that long, but I'd be curious to know just how long this challenge actually took.
The two blindfolded players were Evil Laura and Not-Laura, aka "Monica." Evil Laura had an advantage, since, as a conservative Christer, she is used to going through life with blinders on. Yet Not-Monica got it right first, and the team with no challenge-bane ex-Zsa Zsa players, of course, won. Even with Tribe Zsa Zsa now utterly absorbed into Igag, they're still losers!
Could my atheism be misguided? At the reward, the winning team learned that there is another immunity idol hidden back at camp. Russell's prayers to the Immunity Gods have been answered. Of course, he doesn't know it, and hasn't got the clue, but he found the first one with no clue.
Danger Dave immediately suggested that they tell only the sub-tribe of Galu about the clue. They intend to keep it secret from the ex-Zsa Zsasians, at least until someone turns rat and blabs. They're all eating chicken. One of them is sure to taste of rat.
Some girl identified as "Kelly," whom I have a vague memory of having done or said something sometime in one of the previous episodes, brought up the idea of knocking out Russell next, an intelligent move. Let's see; who would be most likely to oppose an intelligent move? Someone perhaps who, like Winnie-the-Pooh, has very little brain?
Shambles: "I don't want Russell to go."
Kelly immediately realized that Shambles is the person most likely to spill to Russell that there really is another idol. She did, after all, blab all the idol clues to everyone before.
Shambles, on Russell: "He's strategic, but he sucks at challenges."
Who else sucks at challenges, and also sucks at strategy? S - H - A - M - B - L - E - S. I told them to get rid of Shambles before the merge, but they wouldn't listen to me.
While the winners were feasting on chicken (tastes of mouse), Russell was searching every nook and cranny of the Igag camp. His Faith was rewarded. Once again, he found the Hidden Immunity Idol with no clue at all! He didn't even know there really was one, and yet he found it! Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I should convert to the Church of Russell. If he starts walking on water, I'm sending my copy of The God Delusion back to Richard Dawkins. Why are the Survivor Gods smiling on Russell? He's not a nice person!
In last week's column I wrote: "The previews showed everyone turning on Russell (and about time too), and the idol-less man desperate. This can only mean one thing. He'll win immunity next week, because they wouldn't have edited the previews to look like he was doomed if he was actually going to get eliminated."
Well my logic was right, but the path was different. Russell didn't need to win immunity. He found immunity under a bridge, where, normally, trolls are supposed to live. (Which is probably why he felt comfortable there.) Either way, he's not going home this week, as I correctly predicted.
Can he keep his mouth closed about it this time? In the words of Gandalf the Gray, who was nothing if not wise (and gay), "Keep it secret. Keep it safe." But Russell has a compulsive need to brag. No one in the history of Survivor ever before found a hidden idol without a clue, and Russell's now done it twice. His need to trumpet this achievement will be driving him insane. Actually, for Russell to get to Insane, he doesn't have to drive; it's just a short stroll. He can see Insane from his house.
Sure enough, despite his telling we, the home viewers, in no uncertain terms, that "I'm a find the next immunity idol, and I ain't gonna tell a damn soul," He immediately showed his new idol to Shambles. Immediately!
I wrote the paragraph about Russell's compulsive need to show off his idols, with the show on "Pause," before watching the next segment, and seeing him instantly blabbing to Shambles. In short, I predicted it, fast-forwarded through the commercial break, and saw Russell behave exactly as I had just finished dictating to Little Dougie that he would. I think that, If I didn't need to make sure that I quote players correctly, I could write these recaps now without watching the episodes at all.
However, when the gods give, they also take away, and Russell was instantly punished for showing the idol to Shambles. She kissed him! I'd rather eat roast Mickey Mouse on a twig than get kissed by Shambles. I could watch Mickey get his head bashed in. I could withstand watching Brett Whoever gut him. I could, without a whimper, watch them roast Disneyland's mascot on a stick, and chow down in the little fella, I could even stand, for a limited time, seeing Danger Dave shirtless, but watching Shambles kiss Russell had me sprinting for the bathroom, trying to hold down my dinner until I got there (tastes of vodka), and I don't sprint as well as I did back during the Roosevelt Administration. (Teddy's!) Come on FCC, how about some broadcast standards? You thought civilization would crumble just from seeing two seconds of Janet Jackson's nipple, but it's okay to show Shambles kiss someone in prime time?
"Russell is probably the one guy in this game that I impeccably trust," said Shambles, letting us know that she hasn't the faintest notion what "impeccably" means.
So now Russell's and Shambles's plan is to engineer a reverse-blindside: to get everyone to think they're blindsiding Russell, and then have him pull his idol out of his pants (No, Russell, the other idol in your pants! Men!), and let Evil Laura go home on two votes. It's a good plan, though there are two flaws:
1. They haven't held the Immunity Challenge yet. Evil Laura won it last week, and screwed that pooch then. (Even Shambles saw this flaw, and she's dumber than a sack of air.)
2. Shambles is part of the plan, and Shambles can mess up anything. If she tried to jump off a cliff, she'd probably fall up the cliff instead.
Immunity Challenge: The immunity-for-each-gender twist was over. They were playing this week for one immunity only. That's kind of a shame, as that was a good twist, that could have played out longer.
This challenge had two steps. Step one was using grappling hooks to retrieve two bags of - you guessed it - puzzle pieces. Frankly, I wouldn't want to be within a mile of Shambles throwing grappling hooks around. You could lose an eye.
Only the first three players to retrieve their bags would move on to round two, while the other eight disgruntled players eyed each other with nasty grappling hooks in their hands.
Round two involved shoving pegs of various shapes into holes of various shapes, until all the holes were plugged, a challenge at which men would seem to have a natural advantage from a lifetime of shoving their often-peculiarly-sculpted pegs into holes of varying shapes and sizes. I suppose that, if the pegs vibrated, Shambles might have some life experience at it also, but then, with only a three-in-eleven chance of even getting to round two, the odds of our getting to watch Shambles trying to cram square pegs into round holes seemed slim. Too bad, she's spent her life cramming the square peg which is herself into the round hole which is Life.
Not-Laura: "My hook's stuck!" The last time I heard someone shout that, he was fighting Peter Pan. (Actually, the Peter Pan Vincent Price was fighting at the time was Ethyl Merman, the loudest Peter Pan of all time, and his hook had caught in one of the steel links of the chains they used to fly her.)
The gods smiled on me this time. Shambles did make it to round two. Russell almost did also, but when he snagged his last bag of pieces, he stopped to smirk at everyone before bothering to reel it in, and while he was doing his pre-victory gloat, the odious Evil Laura beat him.
This meant that now Evil Laura had a one-in-three chance of eluding Russell's and Shamble's trap yet again. Actually, given that one of the other two she was competing against was Shambles, who was unlikely to pass this, or any other, intelligence test, it was more of a 50-50 chance. Moreover, given that the third player to advance was MickMoron, the former leader of the unable-to-win-anything Tribe Zsa Zsa, there was almost no reason to hold the second round at all. Just hand Immunity to the evil Christer Republican enabler and let's all go home.
Oddly (well, maybe not all that oddly), it was God's Chosen Republican Evil Laura who was first seen trying to force a peg into a hole with a completely different shape, not unlike trying to force Christian rules of living into human behavior. Shambles, perhaps remembering what it's like when her vibrators are out of batteries, crammed her first two or three pieces in quickly, but then she choked.
Once Evil Laura got one piece in, she found her rhythm, and was slamming in peg after peg into hole after hole, like Hugh Hefner on a long weekend back in the 1950s. (The withered mummy of Hefner seen these days on E's The Sluts Next Door is, at best, slipping overcooked spaghetti into canyon after canyon.)
MickMoron, apparently under the delusion he had all day, was slowly studying the board after each piece, searching out shapes, giving out the old Zsa Zsa stink of failure. Russell's face, as he saw Evil Laura heading towards immunity again, was a study in disgusted disappointment, despite the fact that it was his own fault Evil Laura was even up there at all.
Shambles was, by now, living down to my lowest expectations for her. She was seen time and again trying to shove pieces into holes that in no way resembled the piece she was cramming in. I mean really: round pieces into an L-shaped hole? Who is that stupid? How did she ever get into the Marines in the first place? Don't they have some sort of rudimentary intelligence testing? I've seen 8 year olds handle this puzzle with greater ease.
Evil Laura didn't just win. She won by a mile. Neither MickMoron nor Shambles were even one-third of the way through their puzzle boards while Evil Laura was already off plotting to evict Russell. Clearly this feud will live to see another episode.
Shambles, whining -- an ex-Marine actually whining: "Ah, the challenge sucked. Laura won, and now we can't vote her off, and my heart is broken. So sad. I'm pissed." Well then why didn't you beat her? Because the second part of the challenge was an intelligence test, and you were too pathetically stupid to win it, or even come close. You have no one to blame but your own hopeless imbecility.
Shambles shifted her target to Kelly, a contestant who has done exactly nothing this season. Why? Wouldn't it make more sense to vote out a stronger player, like Danger Dave or Rocket Scientist John? Oh wait. Shambles is deciding the strategy. Forget making intelligent decisions. They'd prepare to "blindside" Russell, and send Kelly home. Russell, are you on board with this? Russell? Where's Russell?
Russell was just exactly where I expected him to be, off showing his new immunity idol to yet another player, this time Jaison. Russell, it has a string tie on it. Why not just wear it around your neck? He can not go ten minutes without breaking his: "I ain't gonna tell a damn soul" vow. The only good thing about this boneheaded bragging was that Jaison was shirtless at the time, so I got to drink in his chocolate pecs (starting to get a bit furry after three weeks away from evil chest waxing) while Russell strutted and showed off for him. Russell's new idol should be shown on a need-to-know basis only. It's just that Russell needs everyone to know how clever he is, which is, of course, the opposite of clever. When it comes to Russell, ego trumps brains every time.
Not to let the dust settle on his idol, Russell then scurried off to tell MickMoron and Natalie also. If he could have found a phone, he'd have called Larry King, to announce it to all of America as well. He doesn't actually need all of Zsa Zsa to vote for Kelly. He could do it alone. If everyone but Russell voted for Russell, and Russell alone voted for Kelly, it would still work, but his compulsion to announce his cleverness knows no restraint.
"I love that guy," said Jaison of Russell, whom he has never yet figured out burned his socks. (I'm beginning to suspect that Jaison learned that Russell burned his socks when the rest of us did, the night the first episode aired.) Jaison, if you want to love a man, you could do so much better. Little Dougie would welcome you with open legs, and he's considerably nicer, and would rinse and dry your socks nightly if you wished, but would never burn them.
Not-Laura raised the idea of Russell having another idol, as the Galuvians plotted Russell's demise. Danger Dave showed the intellectual brilliance that got him a degree in "Opera," by instantly dismissing it. Rocket Scientist John however, is a rocket scientist, and he'd figured out that a desperate Zsa Zsasian would probably comb the camp in search of another idol, and that thus the possibility of Russell having an idol was a real threat. It is so weird to hear someone on this show this season say something intelligent that for a moment I thought I might have accidentally switched over to FlashForward.
Danger Dave was not to be swayed by intelligence: "I don't think he has it. I don't even think he -- ah -- If he even suspects there's one here, I'd be surprised." Oh Dave, Surprise!
Russell wandered by as the Galuvians were hashing it out, and heard the name Natalie spoken. That was all he heard. One word. Natalie. From this, he decided that they were going to vote out Natalie instead of him.
Could it actually play out that, after squandering his idol last week, Russell will let a single word convince him he's safe this week, hold onto his idol, and blow his reverse-blindside strategy?
"Paranoia strikes deep. Into your heart it will creep."
Russell: "I don't want to be the dumb-ass that gets voted out with the idol in his pocket, [That would be Erik last week] and I don't want to be the dumb-ass that uses the idol again, and then nobody votes my name." Well at least being the dumb-ass who gets voted out with the idol in his pocket would be a new role for him, and a last one as well.
Tribal Council: Jeff asked Danger Dave right off: "Coming into last Tribal, Galu had the numbers, eight to four, you voted out one of your own in Erik. Is that a sign that old tribal lines are gone, and this now is an individual game?"
Now the smart thing to do here would be to lie and say yes. But since that was the intelligent thing to do, Danger Dave, on a roll after discounting any thought that Russell even suspected the presence of a new idol, let alone had it, spouted off, in front of Erik on the jury, "Not at all, Jeff. To be honest ..." why would you want to be honest, dimwit? "... our tribe was weakened from within by Erik's presence." This was apparently part of Danger Dave's campaign to ensure that Erik does not vote to give him the million, in the increasingly-unlikely event of his making it to the end. Erik, sitting a few feet away, was punching the air in frustration. Dave is fond of mentioning how dim Shambles is. Now Shambles is dim. She's beyond dim. She's the absolute darkness you get at the bottom of Carlsbad Caverns when they turn out the lights. But frankly, Danger Dave is more and more becoming Dim Dave each time he opens his mouth, even as he becomes ever more convinced that he's the brains of Igag.
Natalie, asked if she feels like an outsider at Igag, blathered about how the Galuvians were making her feel welcome, like they were "all still one."
Jeff wasn't buying this load of bull at all. Natalie, trying to defend her delusions of unity, amended it to "not being mean or ugly to anybody." Has she had a good look, make that a long look, at Dave shirtless? Mean? No. Ugly? ....
The sole thrust of the discussion seemed to be Jeff hammering in how doomed the Zsa Zsasins are, and how tight and united the Galuvians are. Frankly, without some good old fashioned conflict, like the week Jaison turned on Ben, it was pretty dull. Admittedly, Dave's willingness to be open, frank, and honest about how he and Galu strategize was pretty, well, stupid. If you tell your opponents exactly how you think, it's not necessary to tell them what you think.
During the vote, Russell was sneaking looks over at the Galuvians, trying to assess if they were targeting him or not, as he was still agonizing over which dumb-ass he wanted to be. They were giving nothing away.
Nor were the producers. Normally, during the vote, we see two people's votes, one for each of whoever the two main targets will be. Not this time. For the first time I can remember, we didn't see who anyone voted for during the vote. Whether Natalie or Russell were garnering Galu votes was not even hinted at.
But, after that dull Council, once the voting was done, it got goooood. The first good moment came as Jeff asked if anybody wanted to play a hidden immunity idol, and Russell stood up again. "I ain't finished playing just yet." Danger Dave's jaw hit the dirt. His look of utter amazement, as the depth of his own complacency and stupidity was revealed to him, was delicious. Only if he were the one about to be reverse-blindsided out could it have been any sweeter. (And that would have been a smarter movie than taking out a nobody non-threat like Kelly.)
Erik, over on the jury, was eating up Russell's play. Not allowed to speak, his air-punches showed how deeply he was enjoying seeing Dave thwarted, and made to look like a -- well -- dumb-ass, as each non-counting Russell vote was read out. And of course, as soon as a Russell vote was revealed, Russell's relief smirk showed. He had avoided dumb-asshood for another week.
Watching the expressions of everyone during the vote count was sweet. Dave's amazement, Russell's smugness, Jaison's triumph, Evil Laura's cold fury, Not-Laura's trepidation, MickMoron's joy, Shambles's appreciation of the pretty colors in the fire, and then the suspense, as vote after vote for Russell was read and then tossed aside, the growing fear among Galuvians as to whose name was going to show up and be counted. They had no idea where the axe would fall, though I'm sure Evil Laura was glad to have that immunity necklace safe around her throat.
Only after seven votes for Russell were read and discarded did we get a vote that counted, "Kelly," and Galu learned where the chopper was landing. That it hadn't said "Dave," should have at least told the Galuvians that the Zsa Zsasians weren't quite as smart as their reverse-blindside was making them appear, but they were all too deep in shock. A four-vote blindside when eleven people were voting was another Survivor first.
Hell hath no fury like a woman who believes in Hell scorned. Evil Laura, in a fury at losing her ally, and undoubtedly well-aware that her immunity necklace was all that was keeping her off the jury that night, seethed, and whispered under her breath, "He just stirred up a whole lot of Hell, is what he did." Apparently she was angry at Russell for not lying down, throwing his legs in the air, and allowing her to kick him out. How dare he save himself? She'll teach him not to play dead when she decides.
At the beginning of the season, all the promos promised "The Biggest Villain in Survivor history." We all assumed they meant Russell, but I'm beginning to think it's really Evil Laura, a crazy Christer who works on behalf of 400 conservative lobbyists to thwart progressive legislation. She's vile in real life, and vile on the show. Much as I can not relate to the moronic Shambles, I have to share her hatred of all things Evil Laura, and the witch is on the warpath now.
And just to keep Zsa Zsa hopes alive, Jeff announced that the hidden immunity idol was going back into the game, yet again! You can be certain that every Galuvian will be scouring that camp with a fine tooth comb, determined to keep Russell, with his magic idol-finding powers, from roping it in yet again. They were told of its existence this week, and did nothing. We saw no one even casually searching for it, smug in their secret knowledge that there was one. Surely they won't make that error a third time.
Or will they?
In Kelly's "Survivor Family Moment we listened as her mother said, "Everybody's wearing their Team Kelly bracelets, cheering you on, and we can't wait to see you." Well, the good news is, they need wait no longer. The bad news is, those Team Kelly bracelets, as magic talismans go, were worthless.
"He's just a little, sneaky man," said Kelly of the person who engineered her reverse-blindside, unable to man-up and simply admit she got outplayed, though I would never call Shambles "little." What? You think she meant Russell? Well, if you say so. Incidentally, Shambles, whose idea it was to vote out Kelly, voted for Russell. Was this a betrayal of Russell, a stealth move to appear to have voted in unity with Galu, or did she just forget who she was voting out? The first option seems unlikely, since she knew of the whole reverse-blindside plan from its inception, but the second choice seems impossible. Shambles doing something smart? Have pigs grown wings? Is there pork in the tree-tops? No, it must be the third hypothesis.
"I'm ten times smarter than she could ever be," said Russell of Evil Laura in the preview of next week's show. Well, Evil Laura believes in virgin births, resurrected carpenters, and Sarah Palin as a great American Leader. My cat is ten times smarter than she is, but on Survivor pride generally goeth before a fall. We also saw wholesale idol hunting, and Galuvians not allowing Russell out of their sight, hoping to use his idol-hunting genius to their advantage. This time, it's a Holy War. But then, what war isn't?