Vanilla ISIS

The Islamic State, what many call ISIS, recently destroyed an iconic mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which has been the site of intense fighting since October 2016. This bad behavior has been going on for years, part of the ISIS plan to assert complete control over the region they conquer, creating a caliphate with a homogeneous culture.

At roughly the same time, supporters of the so called president have repeatedly disrupted a performance of the Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar, in New York City because the company that staged the performances chose to depict the title character, who famously dies a violent death during the play, as Donald Trump. At least two major corporations withdrew their sponsorships of the production because of the controversy. Several commentators wondered why no such outrage had erupted over a production of Caesar some years ago with the lead character suspiciously resembling President Obama.

In good Trumpian fashion, at least some persons who find the idea of a Trump style Caesar offensive are picking on the wrong Shakespeare theater.

Shakespeare is to Anglo-American culture what the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul is to Islam — a towering cultural artifact. Happily, it would be impossible to destroy every copy of Julius Caesar, much less all of Shakespeare’s many plays. We need not worry that Trump’s Vanilla ISIS followers can achieve the same totality of destruction as their Muslim counterparts in Iraq.

With their zeal to wall off the southern border and prohibit the admission of Muslims, however, it would seem, that both vanilla ISIS in the U.S. and the original version in Iraq have the same goal: a high degree of cultural uniformity modeled on a religious ideal of purity.

Neither is very appealing.

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