You may disagree with his politics, but you've got to admit bin Laden knows how to make an entrance. At the end of the trailer for bin Laden's latest video urging "death to America" -- which, incidentally, drew a mixed reaction from the critics (review tomorrow) -- 36 al-Qaida cheerleaders, clad in veils, took to the stage and danced to one of the world's longest production numbers. The women slinked and shimmied and teased in what an al-Qaida press release described as "precision jazz-based dancing." Finally it ended when they all landed on splits, and bin Laden unexpectedly rose from a trap in the floor amid smoke and fireworks. He strode to the lectern to a standing ovation.
Bin Laden started off, as is his custom, with a wisecrack. "Two of the girls in that last number pulled calf muscles," smirked the most fearsome terrorist on the planet. "Does anyone want to rub out their kinks?" The critics roared their approval. He proceeded to launch into another "death to America" diatribe but was interrupted by the best gag of the entire critics' tour: a man who was supposed to be Vice President Chaney in hunting gear (but who more closely resembled Elmer Fudd) ran onto the stage and pretended to fire at bin Laden. At first, the sound of gunshots was jarring, especially with al-Qaida in the room and all, but the gun supposedly backfired, killing the would-be shooter. The crowd of critics was not divided on this one: they lustily roared their approval. That's when the normally staid bin Laden himself couldn't contain his laughter. Finally, the press tour was fun again.