Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Don't Even Get Me Started

I headed over to my dad's last night and we were chatting about my first two ecstatic viewings of "300". He told me that Iranians had gotten themselves worked into a snit over Hollywood's depiction of the Persians as evil villains. This being a film told from the Greek point of view as they battled invading Persians.

Cue my blood pressure to skyrocket. My mouth to curl into a derisive sneer. God preserve me from the reactions of imbiciles.

Not only was I incensed by the previous reaction to Danish political cartoons and a sovereign country's right to print them in their national newspaper if that's what they wanted, now I have to listen to accusations that Hollywood is out to wage battle-tainment against Iran with "hostile behaviour which is the result of cultural and psychological warfare".

"Iranians were clearly offended at the way their ancestors were portrayed in the film, inspired by the tale of 300 Spartans under King Leonidas who held out at Thermopylae against a Persian invasion led by Xerxes in 480 BC." (Reuters) The educated population aside, what is with the descendents of the once-mighty Persia?

They seem to have their noses perpetually out of joint. They take offence to this, they take offence to that. Fine. However, when offence-taking involves setting embassies on fire, and then spin-off offence is taken because the Western world paints Iranians as violent reactionaries, I'm thinking that someone should sit down with the whole nation and go over some dictionary definitions.

Luckily, there are modern-day Persians who keep my faith in humanity alive. Darius Kadivar, writing for the "Persian Mirror" states:"Before succumbing to what is our national sport that is seeing conspiracy theories of monstrous proportions in any non Iranian/Persian depiction of our land and history, let us take a closer look."

Such a sigh of relief! God answered my prayer. Kadivar goes on to say: "Should that mean that we have to adopt a partisan attitude towards a film we have not even seen?" Go Kadivar, go! "Should Motion Pictures for that matter be accountable for the unpredictable reaction of viewers?"

"What the controversy about this film reveals is that the Persian Empire, with or without its King or legitimate heir, still exists in the minds of all Iranians and probably transcends even political convictions. It probably has more to do with our own Ego (justified or not). Or is it a Freudian sense of self preservation and of our role as a nation in the History of Mankind? An American audience hardly even knows if Persia even exists or existed nor can they distinguish between Iran and Iraq."

Here's the best line of all: "Were we to show the World a different face then we should try to make our film version of the same battle."

My blood pressure lowers. My nostrils leave off flaring.

"In a recent press conference given after the movie’s Premiere in Hollywood some journalists saw in Xerxes and his Empire an analogy with George Bush and the American invasion of Iraq. Others claimed on the contrary that Bush was actually Leonidas who fights to the near end to defend the democratic values of the West.

"The movie can very well be exploited as a propaganda tool by both the White House and Iran’s President Ahmaninejad. If so it would mean that their own political agendas are so weak and fragile that they need to have recourse to motion pictures to self promote themselves or their ideologies."

And now I can go to bed with happy harmony feelings in my chest.