Fatwa, Shmatwa…

By Rob Engen

Death-marks just don’t come with the same style that they used to.

Back in the day, having a fatwa brought down on your head was really something special. It meant that your heretical ass had done something to infuriate a man with serious power–there’s a peculiar respectability in having the Ayatollah of Iran put out the call to heaven and earth specifically for your death. Men like Salman Rushdie could proudly declare that, yes, they were the sworn enemies of fundamentalism, even though they couldn’t leave their apartments for fear of crusading hit men.

But now the great illusion of the fatwa has been splintered. In these enlightened times any petty official in any backwater country can issue fatwas, and any luckless fashion editor can pick one up. Indeed, they may not even be that luckless. If Ms. Isioma Daniel–the journalist who stirred bloody riots and incurred a fatwa over an article about the Miss World Pageant–can escape Nigeria alive, she can undoubtedly name-drop and get a great job covering fashion in Beverly Hills.

So now that a religious death-mark is something to put on a resume, we at the Gauntlet have decided to follow this precedent by introducing a new feature. Since our lovable student paper seems to have acquired a somewhat “cult” following, we feel justified in declaring our own ability to draft religious edicts against those who displease us. This campus is long overdue for a reign of fundamentalist, journalistic terror, and this terror shall take the form of Gauntlet fatwas!

In order to put this God-granted right to good abuse, we have drafted a short, initial list of those whom we have declared a fatwa upon. Beware, ladies and gentlemen, for you are marked.

U of C Board of Governors

Hike up our tuition, eh? Enjoy your posh reclining chairs, Havana cigars and authority in ensuring the “financial solvency” of our beloved university while you’re still able to. Heretics! The day of painful undergrad reckoning will soon be at hand!

Magic Players

They breed like mad under the woodpile each summer and return to clutter up the space in front of the hallowed Gauntlet office for the rest of the year. They also periodically attempt to summon a Doomsday Spectre upon innocent, passing Gauntlet staff members, although this has only met with success once or twice. But vengeance shall be ours. Oh yes, it shall.

The Track Team

No, you can’t have that bloody cover feature, and that’s final!


Activism that pursues peace, freedom, and fees levied from student pockets has earned a place on the naughty list. If you want our money, first convince us that you’re not the silly partisans we think you are by forming an action/work group over something that isn’t left-wing cuddly, like one for anti-Kyoto activists. Then form an action/work group to do something about those Magic players. There’s got to be something illegal about those Spectres. Until you do, though, fatwa upon your household!

People Carrying Foam Blocks Around Campus

What’s up with this, anyway? We’ve seen dozens walking around with large foam blocks held protectively to their bosoms like starving infants from a Dickens novel. Whatever it is they’re up to, we are convinced that it shan’t lead to sunshine and puppies. Therefore, fatwa!