Sunday, May 01, 2005

A totally unrelated search brought me to the archives of the newly wed Pedram, where I saw the following cartoon from 2003, which seems just as relevant today as it did when it first appeared. So let's have a laugh while we still can, before Israel decides to drop the 100 bunker busters it just bought from the U.S. on Iran.


Ok, now i want to launch into the completely silly for a moment. Anyone who reads The Iranian has surely noticed the veritable war being waged against the actress of dubious talents and vapid "political" declarations, Shohreh Aghdashloo.

Aghdashloo, who got an oscar nomination for that shallow anti-immigrant flick the name of which totally escapes me and I wont bother googling, and who now plays an Iranian terrorist in 24, seems to have made herself the target of relentless abuse after gratuitously (and repeatedly) singling out the much beloved singer Googoosh for criticism.

Now all of this can easily be written off as shallow bickering of the celebrity-obsessed, but it has, surprisingly, engendered some fruitful ideas and important revelations. And here is what some of them are about:

1) Shohreh's depiction of a terrorist, though it riled up the predictable nationalist sentiments of Iranians who throw tantrums anytime we are represented as anything less than a nation of gol and bolbols, has also led to some important discussions about media representations of Iranians and the commodification of eastern women.

2) Shohreh's most recent offense against googoosh, which happened on the airwaves of the propaganda station Voice of America, has even prompted people to ask some serious questions about the kind of democracy the U.S. plans on bringing to our part of the world.

Why? Because in the spirit of "freedom and democracy", Radio Voice of America, pre-screened and censored callers, refusing airtime to listeners who wanted to critique aghdashloo's role on "24" and/or take her to task on the Googoosh issue.

Freedom of expression and democratic participation, [voice of] America style.

Ah, well, I'm just glad the whole thing has gotten some people to thinking beyond the limited parameters of the Aghdashloo vs. Googoosh debate.

And in case anyone is wondering, I pick googoosh, because among her very many talents, she knows how to do one thing that Aghdashloo cannot: Googoosh can act.