Wine, dinner, and Latest News
Why does it
seem utterly impossible for my friends to have an unbiased opinion
By Kamran Zargahi
May 27, 2004
Do you ever feel like you need to be more Iranian? That's
the question one of my friends asked me as we're having dinner
and listening to Googoosh's latest album, "Akharin
Khabar" (Latest News).
By going about
your preferences and expectations without touting your ethnicity,
are you debasing your cultural background, or simply
letting it be one, among many of the elements of your makeup?
How important should your heritage be when you cast your opinion
a distinguished living celebrity? What exactly does it mean to
be a loyal Iranian? Does it mean you should dismiss your preferences
to the benefit of good old days? Isn't that an immobile behavior
in this complete dynamic life?
These are the questions I ask myself
as I receive some hostile feedback from my roundtable discussion
with friends, in response
to what I've stated about Googoosh's newest work. As
the night goes on and good wine has its effect, the discussion
intensifies. I'm now being accused of being Westernized.
At this point I feel like I must soften my position, or being
called "an infidel" is surely just one more glass
of wine away.
this point I'm quiet, but continue to ask myself: Why does it
seem utterly impossible for my friends to have an unbiased opinion?
Is it because of who Googoosh once was,
who she has become in recent years, or maybe a bit of both?
does one separate opinion on the artistic quality of this
album -- from who she is as a person? She has never been just
Intentionally or involuntarily, her music has always been
only one part of what she offers as an entertainer.
moment I thought the answers have to do in part with the interaction
between the passionate nature of Persian
the static spirit of Iranian music. So I decided to take
a politically correct position and responded:
is not a bad album, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone told
me Googoosh did this album before the
immediately add, "That means the quality of her
voice and her ability to perform at the same standard
same. But it also means the form and framework of her
music has stayed
the same which is not all that bad if no progress is
expected from her."
At this point everyone is unusually
quiet, maybe not interested in further discussion, maybe sleepy.
a little safer
but my thoughts led to more questions. In the days
questions kept circulating in my head and I felt
I was in need of finding
an answer for my important question. "Why am
I less of an Iranian if Googoosh's new album didn't
meet my expectations?"
Googoosh, relatively speaking, has
immense public support and stacks of natural skills.
In the modern age and in the crazy LA music
market, the first instinct is to look around independently
and free of any outside influences (even if they
come from beloved
ones), assess producers, songwriters, and composers
to find out who meets Googoosh's standard. The good
"Who-Knows-Who", do not work to the extent they used
Almost every Iranian loves Googoosh, in one way
or another. Love is love, but with that comes responsibility
the object of
ones attention, even if that love comes from a
less of an Iranian.
May is Mamnoon
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