May 6, 2010
In the first of what we hope are many journalistic coups, The Indubitable Dweeb has managed to land an interview with the erstwhile most-wanted-man-in-America, accused Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad. We asked some tough questions. He gave some surprising answers. No matter what you think of miranda rights and the role of bloggers in the reporting of terrorism, you’ll want to read this fascinating journey into the mind of a man who a few days before was just another immigrant, another face in the crowd.
ID: Let’s start with your name. Faisal Shahzad. That’s not a name most Americans are familiar with, or certainly comfortable with. Is there something else we can call you? A nickname? Anything like that?
FS: Sure, sure. A lot of people, they call me Fievel.
ID: Like the cartoon mouse?
FS: Exactly! An American Tail. It’s a funny story actually. Back in Pakistan, when I was a kid, my sister and I, we use to love to sing together. Duets, you know? There was a talent show at the local mosque and we signed up to do Close My Eyes Forever, which is a song by Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne.
ID: We’re familiar with the song.
FS: Showstopper, right? Anyhoo, the night before the talent show, we see this movie. This cartoon. And there’s this song. Somewhere Out There. It’s sung by cartoon mice and it’s out of tune and it’s almost like a bad Andrew Lloyd Webber ballad, but damn it, it works. I’m telling you, it absolutely breaks your heart. So we ditched the ripped jeans and teased hair which, come to think of it, weren’t exactly Taliban-friendly, and we sported some rags and mouse ears and sang Somewhere Out There. And we killed. Just blew the beards right off the crowd. The next morning, people started calling me Fievel. “Keep wishing on that same bright star, Fievel!” That sort of thing. A few years later, I went through a Gomer Pyle phase, I tried to convince people to call me Shazam!, but it never took. It was Fievel then. It’s still Fievel now.
ID: You are aware that Fievel is Jewish, aren’t you?
FS (after a long pause): But he is a mouse?
ID: Yes. A Russian Jewish mouse. His last name is Mousekewitz.
FS: No. You’re wrong. I have the blu-ray at home. I watch it once a year. I’m pretty sure he’s Chechen or something.
ID: Fair enough. You’re entitled to your interpretation. In any case, do you find yourself relating to Fievel’s story.
FS: You know, I do. I was an immigrant to America, just like him. I’m not particularly fond of cats, just like him. There are a lot of coincidences between our stories.
ID: Did Fievel ever try to blow up Times Square?
FS: Well, no…but that doesn’t mean he didn’t want to. It’s never stated explicitly, but I’ve always assumed that sometime before he reached America, Fievel travelled to Pakistan for some training in explosives. There’s a scene where he unleashes the Giant Mouse of Minsk, which is this big mechanical rodent that shoots fireworks from its head. Genius stuff. Where did you think I got the fireworks idea from?
ID: So your attempted bombing was based on ideas found in a Don Bluth cartoon?
FS: Most attempted bombings are. Remember last Christmas when that kid tried to light his crotch on fire and blow up that plane? Straight out of All Dogs Go To Heaven. The original title of the film was actually All Dogs Go To Heaven Where 72 Virgins Are Waiting For Them, but they shortened it because it didn’t fit onto marquees.
ID: We find that hard to believe.
FS: I find it hard to believe that Linda Ronstadt never won a Grammy for her performance of Dreams to Dream from the sequel Fievel Goes West, but it’s true.
ID: So you enjoy Linda Ronstadt, Ozzie Osbourne and Lita Ford, as well as the films of Don Bluth and the catchphrases of Jim Nabors. Any other recommendations?
FS: Tango and Cash.
ID: Who do you relate to more? Tango or Cash?
FS: Today? Cash. Definitely having a Cash sort of day today.