This clip about bumbling jihadis in the new movie The Four Lions is hilarious . . .
It comes via J. Michael Waller whose Political Warfare blog has a great series of posts on how comedy can be used to help defeat radical extremist movements. Osama Bin Laden has previously stated that he isn't afraid of dying but that he's afraid of being humiliated. According to Waller, one way to make his worst fears come true is by making fun of him and those wishing to mirror his actions.
"Ridicule," says Waller, "strips the terrorist of his power. If we stop being afraid, we turn the icons of fear into objects of contempt."
While mockery won't solve the problem of terrorism, which is essentially blowback resulting from specific U.S. government actions abroad and can only be solved through a smarter foreign policy and less meddling in the affairs of other nations, it can be used to draw support away from extremist organizations seeking support from the masses.
Satire has a long and established history of being used to subvert the beliefs of those who it is directed against. If we hope to influence the minds and wills (hearts don't mean anything . . . so what if someone likes you if they're not willing to do anything to support you) of the populations who provide the sources of support for violent extremists, we'd be much better off churning out more films like The Four Lions.