The curious case of Tomi Lahren

For many millennials, this election season was a political awakening, and offered the prime opportunity to discover their voices.

I think it’s even fair to say that most people did know what they truly believed in — or their friends, for that matter — until this election kicked into high gear.

And that’s not a bad thing. It’s good to have beliefs and principles, as long as you don’t let it totally consume you in a fanatical way.

Most people learned exactly what their friends do think, as their Facebook pages become inundated with post after post about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, or any number of issues that came up in the exhausting 18-month campaign season.

I bet everyone reading this even blocked a “friend” or two whose opinion they simply couldn’t take anymore.

One millennial who found her voice in a big way is Tomi Lahren, who, in 2016, became something of a cult hero, particularly among young, conservative thinkers.

The fledgling political commentator, who hosts her own online show on the conservative website The Blaze, founded by Glenn Beck, became famous for her quick-talking, unapologetic rants about liberals.

What goes without saying is that she is a very pretty girl. It’s wrong and untrue to say that she became popular because of her looks, but it is no doubt part of her appeal. But what caused people to stick around and keep listening was the things that she said.

For liberals, who mostly avoid conservative websites like the plague, Tomi Lahren didn’t enter their consciousness until she was interviewed by Trevor Noah on the Daily Show last winter. I highlighted it when it happened because, although I almost fully disagreed with Lahren on everything she said, it was a positive example of how two people with very differing worldviews can sit down and have a conversation, and not yell and scream at one another.

Lahren has reaped the benefits of the added publicity from that appearance, appearing on Bill Maher’s “Real Time,” and more recently, on The View.

But it was her latter appearance that got her in trouble among conservatives.

Tomi Lahren

While pedaling her typical right-wing viewpoints, she blurted that she is pro-choice, going as far as saying the federal government can “stay out of my body.”

Even the hosts on the show were surprised, given that being pro-life is one of the hallmarks of the conservative doctrine.

Shortly after the appearance, and after significant conservative backlash, Lahren was suspended for one week by Glenn Beck, who accused her of being “intellectually dishonest” to her supporters, given that she’s expressed anti-abortion sentiment in the past. There’s speculation that her show may be canceled permanently.

Lahren subsequently defended herself on Twitter, calling herself an “independent thinker.”

Liberals, meanwhile, hailed the decision, having been long fed up with Lahren’s schtick.

But as much as I personally abhorred the drivel that frequently comes out of Lahren’s mouth, I find it very hypocritical for her detractors to celebrate this turn of events, especially considering she was punished for expressing a belief that the overwhelming majority on the left agree with.

To me, the story is this: Lahren, who is 24 and has more than 4 million followers on Facebook, became too popular too soon, and as a result, found herself in way over her head. Quite simply, she has not lived long enough to form fully composed, well-rounded ideologies. She’s getting there, as we all are, but she was given a platform before she could reach that point.

And as someone who is expected to give her opinion loudly and brashly, it was only a matter of time before she went ahead and contradicted herself.

So I have sympathy for Lahren. I really do.

When I was 24, I was still deciding whether I preferred Bud Light or Miller Lite, let alone liberal or conservative. And she’s doing it to an audience of millions.

At the end of the day, we’re all hypocritical. We all contradict ourselves. I’m sure you can find dozens of instances on this blog where I’ve said one thing and later said the opposite.

I applaud Lahren for taking a stance that she knew would be unpopular with her base, but I also hope that she learns a valuable lesson from this.

Her supporters and her critics, meanwhile, can learn something, too. We live in a country now where if you don’t subscribe to every single issue a certain way, then you are not considered a true conservative or liberal.

This is the fundamental problem underlying the divide that we find ourselves in right now as a nation.

Not only do pundits dictate how we should think, but we’re discouraged from thinking differently.

I say we organize an event where we gather Republicans and Democrats for a giant think tank session while blasting “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran the whole time.

It’s just a really good song.

The head-scratching ‘controversy’ over Beauty and the Beast’s openly gay character

James Comey speaks.

Speak again bright angel. For thou art as glorious to this night, being o’er my head, as is a wingèd messenger of heaven, unto the white, upturnèd, wondering eyes.

Last time James Comey opened his mouth to the public, his words resulted in a Donald Trump presidency.

This time, Comey’s appearance before Congress places a major cloud of suspicion over our current president.

But it’s important to understand exactly where we go from here. This investigation may take months — if not years — to complete. Until then, we won’t categorically know if Trump or his allies are guilty of any type of collusion. And I say that knowing full well that Republican officials had no problem declaring Hillary Clinton “guilty” before having any semblance of evidence of quid pro quo between the State Department and donors to her foundation.

James Comey

What these remarkable statements by Comey do accomplish in the short term, however, is putting a fracture into Donald Trump’s integrity.

Trump has lied, and lied, and lied some more, and until now it’s done nothing to weaken his power or influence. For months, he denied that he has anything to do with Russia.

Well, this isn’t coming from journalists anymore. It’s not from pundits or Democratic lawmakers. This is the director of the FBI. One can hope that today’s events give people a greater appreciation of the type of man our president is.

Stay tuned.

Now let’s discuss something that is the complete opposite of a scandal. Beauty and the Beast.

The film, starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens and Beast, broke the opening weekend box office record for the month of March this past weekend, grossing $170 million domestically.

But some people are choosing to talk about the fact that the movie includes Disney’s first explicitly gay character. 

A drive-in movie theater in Alabama is refusing to show the movie, and even some countries are considering boycotting it.

Now, before we go ahead and hold all Republicans, conservatives and Catholics responsible for this nonsense, let’s remember that not every one feels the same way as the people who own this Alabama drive-in. Indeed, the Christian Post seriously questioned the backlash.

But it’s even more nauseating to hear about the opposition to the character when you consider its genesis.

Josh gad BatB

The original Beauty and the Beast, the animated classic that everyone loves, was co-composed by a gay man, Howard Ashman, as he was dying with AIDS. Ashman’s friends have publicly stated that the Beast and his “sickness” was intended by Ashman as a direct metaphor for the AIDS epidemic that began decimating America in the ’80s.

Ashman died in 1991, the same year Beauty and the Beast was released.

So if you liked the original movie — which you’re lying if you don’t — then you should know that it wouldn’t exist without a gay man. Neither would the Little Mermaid, for that matter, which Ashman also composed. Oh, and he also had posthumous song credits on this smaller, low-budget animated film called Aladdin.

More of a Lion King fan? Elton John says hi.

The more recent Beauty and the Beast is directed by Tom Condon, who is gay. And people speculate that his decision to make a character gay was in direct homage to Ashman.

Given that history, criticizing Beauty and the Beast for having a gay character is no different than criticizing more than two decades of artistic innovation that led to so many of the joys present in today’s culture as well as in all mediums of entertainment. It’s equal to criticizing the person responsible for enriching millions of childhoods.

And for what it’s worth, Ewan McGregor, who plays the candlestick Lumiere in the film, also thinks the controversy is stupid. 

It’s easy to hate something.

What’s harder is to take the time to understand why.

One can choose to be close-minded and let things that conflict with your archaic worldview cause you to be angry. Or, you can be open-minded and accepting and happy.

To the former, there’s plenty of room at the table to join us.

Be our guest.

Burkas and the return of Boaty McBoatface

Not only is it the day of the long-awaited Netherlands parliamentary elections, it’s also the Ides of March … which is not really a holiday, but rather a historical classification for March 15 in the Roman calendar.

Yeah, I’m a nerd.

Today I’d like to present two stories that, while covering the same topic, are extremely divergent from one another and, by virtue of that, perfectly represents the current global sentiment towards the group of people that the stories center on: Muslims.

You’re well versed on the anti-Muslim rhetoric that’s come from Donald Trump, as well as from Geert Wilders, the even more right-wing agitator who may come out on top of today’s Netherlands elections.

The strong support that’s emerged for Muslims from the political left in response to this hate speech isn’t necessarily borne out of sympathy for their religious beliefs — in fact, the Islamic doctrine and their repression towards women and homosexuals almost directly opposes liberal ideologies. But rather, Muslims have officially become a symbol for diversity and acceptance in an increasingly globalized world.

In the last two years, embracing Muslims has become akin to embracing diversity and rejecting bigotry.

And this month, Nike followed suit by introducing a Pro Hijab designed specifically for female Muslim athletes.

Nike Hijab

The increased presence of female Muslim athletes at the highest stage of international competition was highly evident at this year’s Olympics. Egypt alone sent 37 women to the Games, the most in the country’s 104-year participation in the Olympics.

And that also includes fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who won a bronze medal last year after becoming the first hijab-wearing American to compete at the Olympics for the United States.

So it’s nice to see a major corporation like Nike open their arms and accommodate a faction of people who have not been treated too fairly lately.

Unfortunately, that segues well into the next story, which took place on Tuesday, when the European Union’s highest court ruled that companies are within their right to ban the hijab from the workplace.

On the surface this sounds extremely bigoted and discriminatory, and people are surely sharing headlines of this story by the thousands on Facebook voicing their disgust as we speak, but it’s not as bad when you read the full ruling.

The court justified its decision as a blanket ruling for all political and religious symbols, meaning that employers have legal basis to ban the hijab, as long as they’re also banning other religious attire like a Sikh turban or a Jewish kippah.

Nonetheless, it sounds like a ruling that would have been made in 1970, not 2017. And it’s not the most ominous sign on the eve of these damn Netherlands elections.

But let’s end with something a little happier.

Boaty McBoatface

Remember Boaty McBoatface? The name that voters chose for an exploration vessel that ultimately got rejected?

Well, it’s back, and it’s about to make its maiden voyage. Only, it’s not a boat but a yellow submarine *insert Beatles joke*.

Boaty McBoatface will begin its mission in Antarctica this week to collect data to help scientists understand how global warming affects oceans.

So not only does Boaty McBoatface exist, but it’s helping us to save the world.

So amid all the doom and gloom in this world, remember there’s a yellow beacon of hope out there for us to rely on. Literally. It’s in the form of a yellow torpedo, zipping through the depths of the Arctic Ocean.

And its name is Boaty McBoatface.

Don’t forget it.

The ‘Fate of the Furious’: how did we end up here?

As I’ve grown up and started to appreciate the insignificance of trivial matters, I’ve tried to reflect that changing worldview in my everyday life.

The evidence lies right here in this blog. For better or worse, I no longer talk about my grievances with social media, or my pet peeves concerning female behavior.

It’s not that these things have gone away. It’s more that I’ve gained more perspective in life and tried to focus my attention towards things that really matter.

And that’s an evolving process. For the better part of 2016, I was so zealously tuned into the minutia of the election and the coverage surrounding it that it actually began to make me angry on a regular basis, and affected the way I communicated with others.

Months later, I’ve realized that there is certainly a healthy balance one can maintain, even when trying to stay informed. It benefits you not only from preventing an information overload, but also by protecting your sanity.

That all being said, sometimes I have no choice but to revert my attention back to a certain topic of very little real-life consequence that I’ve been dwelling on for quite some time now. (See here and here).

The Fast and the Furious film franchise.

Fate of the Furious

This year will see the release of the eighth movie in the series. The eighth. Meaning that after this summer, there will officially be as as many Fast and the Furious films as there are Harry Potter. And that is highly disappointing.

In isolation, there’s nothing wrong with any of the movies. It’s hardly the first time Hollywood has exploited fast cars, pretty women and muscular movie stars who have simply given up their dream on ever winning an Oscar.

But who asked for eight of them? Show me that person.

And I enjoyed the first Fast and the Furious film. It was seriously flawed, but it was a highly entertaining popcorn flick. And from what I gathered, it stuck to trying to realistically simulate the underground street racing scene.

Since then, realism officially jumped ship. I tapped out at Fast Five, when the ending chase scene involved a car driving 100+ miles per hour down a freeway while towing an entire bank vault. 

There’s suspension of disbelief … and then there’s that. The talking lion in the Chronicles of Narnia was more believable.

And I know that there’s a level of sentimentality that now surrounds the films since the tragic and untimely death of Paul Walker in 2013. Which is why I gave Fast and the Furious 7 a pass.

This time? Not so much.

This new installment is called “The Fate of the Furious.” Which would lead you to think it’s the last one, since the title basically tells us that we we will learn how all the characters’ lives end up. Hence their “fate,” and thus eliminating the need for any more movies, right? Right?

Wrong. We are due for at least two more, and there is talks of possible spin-offs.

Furthermore, Paul Walker’s character may be included in future movies.

What in God’s name is happening?! When will this madness end???

If you’re all wondering, a nor’easter swept through New York today, and it’s 7:30 p.m. and I’m hours deep in cabin fever. But I still stand by this post.

And yet, deep down, I know that the Fast and the Furious franchise will outlive all of us.

Maybe the next one will be called “The Fake and the Furious.”

Sad!

Why Russia matters

Even those who’ve only had a casual interest in politics since the election have probably still heard about Trump’s ominous ties with Russia.

It’s Trump this and Putin that. White House this and Kremlin that. As we speak, the FBI is investigating the relationship between the two leaders, and stories highlighting the two nation’s shadowy dealings are breaking by the day, including a Washington Post exclusive on Wednesday reporting two pre-election conversations between now Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak — a direction contradiction of what he told Congress during his confirmation hearing.

Sessions has, as of tonight, announced he will recuse himself from any future Justice Department investigations into Russia.

But the overarching question from casual observers and even serious political junkies is likely to be: Why? What does it matter if Trump talks with Russia? How does it affect me and why should I care?

The answer to that is complex. But the bottom line is that it does matter. A lot.

All explanations must begin with the Cold War. Russia never wanted the Cold War to end. If they had it their way, they’d have pedaled their interests and influence all over the world, forming one giant Soviet Union. The United States was their direct adversary in preventing that from happening.

In the decades following World War II, there was no greater threat to America than the expansion of Soviet influence. It’s why we fought wars in North Korea and Vietnam. It’s why we performed a secret coup in Iran. It’s why we expedited our space and nuclear arms programs. Nearly all foreign policy from 1950 to 1990 revolved directly around the Cold War.

cold-war

Since it’s been about 27 years since the collapse of the USSR, most millennials probably don’t appreciate this history. But in reality, it has shaped the way these two countries exist and operate.

And even though the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia, in no way, shape or form, represents American interests. The country shares a deep mistrust of the U.S., and takes great pleasure in discrediting western values. Vladimir Putin grew up during the Cold War and is a former agent of the KGB, the Soviet secret police.

To believe that he still doesn’t possess Soviet values – the ones that were instilled in him throughout his entire childhood and adult life — would simply be naïve. He does not like the U.S., and he hated the Obama regime for being particularly tough on Russian overreach, particularly in the Ukraine and Syria.

So there’s your context. There’s very little to gain by warming up to Russia.

The question, then, is why has Trump appeared to be so buddy-buddy with Putin? Why has he failed to say anything negative towards the Russian leader?

Therein lies the question, and the motivation for news outlets to continue digging.

trump-putin

The ties between the Trump team and Russia are vast. His first campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was dismissed because of his ties to Ukraine’s former president, who was basically a Russian shill who was later ousted after protests by the Ukrainian people.

Security advisor Michael Flynn was fired following his clandestine conversations with Russian officials.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has had numerous business dealings with Russia, and it’s well documented that his former employer, ExxonMobil, would benefit significantly if Obama-imposed sanctions against Russia were lifted.

Trump himself has admittedly tried to do business with Russia. And we still haven’t seen his tax returns. Thus, we do not know the extent of his involvement with the country. The fact that he is refusing to release them only adds to the speculation.

And this is all in the backdrop of what we already do know – that Russia purposefully interfered and aimed to influence our presidential election.

As in most cases, the cover-up is usually worse than the crime. Perhaps the alleged ties between Trump and Russia are harmless. But the more he denies them, and the more his administration officials deny them, the more he compromises himself.

Lying under oath is what could bite him in the end. Presidents have been kicked out of office for less.

Furthermore, coziness between the U.S. and Russia also serves to destabilize our relationships with eastern European countries who are not friendly with Russia. The more complicit our president is with Putin — even simply from conjecture and hearsay — the less trustworthy we become in their eyes.

tillerson

And finally, the elephant in the room is the leaks. There are tens of millions of employees in the United States government, all of whom are privy to more information about the U.S. and Russia than we are.

There are continuous reports of widespread disarray within government departments under this inexperienced regime. Trump has already shown an indifference towards heeding the advice of our leading intelligence officials.

If these employees feel concerned enough that our government is not functioning properly that they have no choice but to leak information to the press, then that is deeply troubling. They are in a unique position to evaluate the state of this current regime, and if their assessments lead them to believe that leaking is the best option to protect American interests, then that to me is as much of a warning sign as anything.

In the end, this growing scandal has the potential to compromise the motives of our leaders, weaken American sentiment worldwide, and as a result, threaten our standing as a global power and our sovereignty as an independent nation.

So yes, one administration official speaking with the Russians is not altogether that troubling.

Trump’s inability to repudiate Putin is alarming, but not overly scandalous.

The appointment of a secretary of state who, with his previous job, went against U.S. interests to forge a relationship with Russia may be controversial, but not necessarily disqualifying.

All of these things together, given the past and recent history between the United States and Russia … it’s not a red flag.

It’s a freaking five-alarm fire.

How I missed the biggest mix-up in Oscars history

It was supposed to work our perfectly. I booked my work-related flight from New York to Phoenix on Academy Awards Sunday through Jet Blue, where I could watch the ceremony live on the plane.

Indeed, it would make the Oscars that much more memorable. When I look back on the 89th Academy Awards in the future, I’d always remember that I watched it live in the air. It would make my nearly six-hour flight go by that much quicker, and pending technical difficulties, I wouldn’t miss a second of the action.

So it was with deep befuddlement when I first sat down in the plane one hour before show time, when I realized that my in-flight television got basically every channel but ABC, which was broadcasting the ceremony.

But I didn’t become alarmed just yet. After all, it made no sense. Why would ABC not be there? Not only was every other basic cable channel available, but there was also some secondary channels like NBC Sports, MTV, TNT. So why not ABC? I figured maybe it was listed under another channel name or something.

moon-la-la-light

That’s when the flight attendant informed me that ABC is one of the few channels that has not given permission for JetBlue to use.

Still, I didn’t start panicking. I had my laptop and JetBlue had Wi-Fi.

Then I discovered that the live feed on ABC.com was not accessible from my flight.

No worries, though, the Oscars website has a live stream … which redirected to ABC.com.

In a last-ditch effort, I searched Google and Twitter for live streams, which probably weren’t licensed by ABC or the Oscars, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. Finally, with about 15 minutes to spare, I found a live YouTube stream. It was a bit grainy, but it was live and perfectly watchable. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Come 8:30 p.m., we were comfortably sitting at cruising altitude, Justin Timberlake was opening the show with his summer hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” and I had a cocktail in hand. I was perfectly set for the next four hours.

Then my live stream cut out due to copyright infringement.

A few unsuccessful searches later, I resigned my fate. I would miss the Oscars. Fortunately, though, it’s 2017, and I was able to get up-to-the-second updates on the awards, and then able to find a clip on YouTube minutes later to see the actual footage. I was basically watching the Oscars on a delay, with no suspense whatsoever.

But for most of the broadcast, the show was very enjoyable. Jimmy Kimmel filled the spacesCasey Affleck nicely with some great gags involving tourists and Matt Damon, and while politics did not dominate the event, there was still some powerful moments, highlighted by the Best Foreign Film-winning director Asghar Farhadi’s decision to boycott the show in protest of Trump’s previously-struck-down travel ban.

Furthermore, I was on a roll. With the exception of Best Leading Actor going to Casey Affleck — much to the dismay of many females — I had predicted almost every major category correctly.

All that was left was for me to correctly predict Moonlight for Best Picture.

The following text message conversation ensued shortly after midnight between a friend and I:

Me: Tell me when they’re announcing Best Picture.

Friend: Right now.

Me: Moonlight plz

Friend: La La Land

Me: *sad cat emoji*

Friend: It won seven awards in total.

one minute passes…

Friend: Wait

Friend: Moonlight won

Friend: There was a mistake. Wtf

Me: Are you being serious lol

Friend: Yes. You need to watch that clip.

Me: Did they pull a Steve Harvey?

Friend: They were halfway through the speeches.

Me: I AM MISSING EVERYTHING.

emma-stoneOf all the Oscars to miss live, it had to be this one.

For the viewer, it was obviously a very entertaining sequence of events. And while I am glad that justice was wrought and Moonlight ultimately won, I couldn’t help but be saddened that the people involved with the film didn’t get to have the full experience of winning the industry’s biggest award. It really would have been a memorable moment.

Instead, we got a circus.

We now know what happened amid the chaos, thanks largely to Jimmy Kimmel’s late night monologue the next day. It wasn’t Warren Beatty’s fault. Wasn’t really Faye Dunaway’s fault. Wasn’t Matt Damon’s fault.

It was the accounting firm that tallies the votes.

When in doubt, blame the accountants.

All in all, as bad as that snafu was, you’ve got to hand it to the La La Land crew for how graciously they handled the situation. And as a result, I think Moonlight and La La Land should now be made into one movie.

In fact, I’m working on the script now.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Moon La La Light.

It probably won’t be the next Hamilton.

Amid calls for tolerance, let’s not forget the Jews

There’s a popular school of thought in America that anti-Semitism no longer exists.

People assume that because the Holocaust was so long ago, that because Jews have held prominent government positions, and because calls for religious tolerance are becoming more and more frequent, that the battle against anti-Semitism has long been won.

Unfortunately, that is far from the reality.

Not only do hate crimes against Jews still occur, they are on the rise. And that may come as a surprise to a lot of people.

In the last decade, we’ve expended so much energy pushing for income and gender equality, for equal treatment of African-Americans in our criminal justice system, gay and transgender rights, and presently, for greater acceptance of Muslims, immigrants and refugees — and all rightfully so.

But too often when we have a conversation about discrimination, we leave out anti-Semitism. Which is too bad. Because then more people would know that more than 50 percent of anti-religious hate crimes in the U.S. are motivated by anti-Jewish bias, according to the FBI.

As someone who grew up in a Jewish and Catholic household, living in a community with a large Jewish population, and who traveled to Israel three years ago to gain a greater appreciation of my Jewish heritage, it obviously peeves me a little that there isn’t a greater grassroots commitment towards protecting Jewish Americans.

And Trump isn’t helping.

Now, again, I always feel the need to clarify. I don’t believe Trump is anti-Semetic (I also don’t believe he’s the “least anti-Semetic person”), just like I don’t believe he is truly racist. I just think he’s ignorant and lacks any sense of empathy.

But he has unquestionably opened the door for mainstream acceptance of the “alt-right,” an ideology with a doctrine that includes white nationalism, homophobia and, yes, anti-Semitism.

jewish-cemetery

This year alone, 68 bomb threats have been made to Jewish community centers across the U.S. In most of these facilities, emergency evacuation drills have become standard operating procedure.

Given the simmering tension within the Jewish population, wouldn’t it be comforting to hear our nation’s top executive make a firm and declarative statement condemning anti-Semitism? He has to say, something, anything, right?

And then you hear what Trump did say on the topic … and you wish he never spoke at all.

In a span of three days last week, he responded to two questions from Jewish reporters regarding a rise in Jewish hate crimes by, first, bragging about his electoral college victory, and the second time, essentially telling the reporter to sit down and shut up.

I don’t care what your political ideology is. There’s no other acceptable reaction to have towards those responses than that of disbelief and disgust. (Though I will give Ivanka — a converted Jew — credit for speaking out.)

Shortly after, during a trip to the newly opened African-American museum, Trump delivered a clearly canned statement against discrimination, one that lacked any noticeable sincerity and that Jewish leaders were not yet ready to accept.

But that doesn’t mean that others haven’t stepped up to the plate to protect our Jewish brethren.

Remember earlier this year, when a mosque in Victoria, Texas burned to the ground? Not only did a subsequent fundraising campaign come about to help with the rebuilding efforts, but a nearby Jewish synagogue generously offered to share its space to accommodate the Muslim membership.

Well, we now have a new instance of religious camaraderie.

You all may have heard of the terrible vandalism that took place this week in a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, where hundreds of tombstones were broken and damaged.

This time, a fundraiser urging Muslims to raise money to repair the cemetery raised $20,000 in three hours. They’ve now far surpassed $100,000.

It’s now becoming a common theme.

When our president fails to inspire and properly lead, everyday common people are doing that job for him.

It took a while, but that “coexist” bumper sticker you always see on the back of cars, where each letter is formed by a different religious symbol, is finally starting to come to life.