Virginia Postrel: The Glamour of Terrorism

Jihadi terrorism combines two ancient forms of glamour, the martial and the religious, with the modern allure of media celebrity. It promises to fulfill a host of desires: for purity and meaning, union with God, historical significance, attention and fame, a sense of belonging, even (posthumous) riches and beautiful women. The jihadi’s ultimate goal of a restored caliphate exemplifies the glamorous utopia, while the terrorist plot recalls the synchronization of heist movies, with 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 all this might be to a bored, alienated, and impressionable person.

– Virgina Postrel, The Power of Glamour, pp. 220-221