The XX Factor

Booby Trap

Terrorists Could Use Explosives In Breast Implants to Crash Planes, Experts Warn .” That is not an Onion headline. It is real. Apparently female suicide bombers are being fitted with exploding breast implants that are impossible to detect, British spy agencies say. It’s perfectly logical. The underwear bomber failed, so why not try the bra bomber?

It is, of course, difficult to take this story seriously, and the Slate staff has already failed to do so. Suggested headlines: Bust and Boom, Va-Va-Boom, Booby Trap, Bammaries, Delicate Orbs of Womanhood Bigger Than Your Head Can Hurt You.

Apparently they are also trying butt implants for men. Does this mean jihadi circles are becoming places where you can freely discuss sexual parts? That is actually possible. For a long time we’ve had a relatively static notion of a jihadi: loner, religious, male zealot who was both fascinated and repulsed by female sexuality. Steve Coll’s book The Bin Ladens includes profile after profile of young Muslim men who walk among Western harlots, eyes wide, and then ultimately turn violently against the culture that produces them. The point of being a jihadi was to deny yourself any fun.

These days, an opposite picture of the jihadi is emerging. Young men are drawn to jihad in order to escape a dull suburban existence and have some adventure. Jihad Jane was housebound, caring for an ailing parent, when she typed “holy war” into Google. Intelligence officials are starting to talk about “jihadi cool” or “lazy jihadis.” Christine Fair, a professor at Georgetown , has done ethnographies sussing out the motivations of the new generation of jihadi: “The top three answers were motorcycles, guns, and access to women,” she says. “You had to go pretty far down the list to get to religious motivation.”

Of course, blowing yourself up by way of your breast or butt implants is not actually fun. I only mean to suggest that these new sets of cultural references-blond suburban killers, guns and girls-have given jihadis a whole new way to be sadistic.