Holly Fisher is a right-wing online agitator who posted the photo on the left above last week after a similarly in-your-face image taken in front of a Hobby Lobby went viral. Her pose was soon compared to the image at right of Reem Riyashi, a mother of two from Gaza who killed four people and herself with a suicide bomb in 2004. (It’s not clear who first put together the side-by-side comparison, which has been widely distributed on social media.)
Holly Fisher isn’t a suicide bomber, and the online commentary about her photo is—as far as I can tell—exclusively an unconstructive, sarcastic, ad hominem back-and-forth between extreme partisans. But still, after a holiday in which we use huge explosions to celebrate a country that regularly kills people abroad with missiles and bombs, perhaps even the nonextremist patriots among us might see the aesthetic overlap between the two images above and engage in some self-reflection about the potential consequences of aggressive national pride.
Any reader who’s made it through at least two or three Murakami novels knows that he leans on the same collection of tropes and motifs time and time and time again: sad middle-aged men, parallel worlds, young suicide, and of course, cats. That’s what made the New York Times’ “Murakami Bingo” such a hit. You’d only need to read about 50 pages in any of his novels to fill your whole damn Bingo card.