The article "Lamentations
of Laleh Khalili" is mortifying because it strives to be so. It
perpetuates itself through gyrations from "Messianic" time to
Modern, from identity to an identity-in-absence. It is very much emblematic
of the writer's desire to conquer both worlds in a single sweep, to go
beyond "both" and "with" at once. In fact, Mahdavi
thinks himself post-everything, nationalism, modernism, tradition, capitalism,
A veritable "prophet of skepticism', Mahdavi is under the spell
of a language which he hates to love so much and glorifies as a result.
His obsession with capitalism, the exaggerated posturing with which he
embellishes his voiced opposition, must give something away. He is out
there to save himself from the imaginary Leviathan that he has helped create.
The language of Mahdavi never leaves the ground of yet another lamentation.
A darker picture of reality is not possible. It is determinism of a supreme
kind, where man is surrounded by a "gelatinous" mass constantly
in the process of disappearance. Where identities can only be found in
their wanting. Perhaps he is a rebel without cause, but also a warrior
who has relinquished his weapon. Nothingness itself is where he wants to
milk his reality.
What little he has read he has picked up from the very medium he is
now set out to expose. The Print has given him the vomitory with which
he can flash across our sidereal sky. He is not ready to understand that
his effusions are part of that very stuff that moves intellectuals left
and right into thinking that there is a chip on their shoulder. He may
have a bash at capitalism at the expense of Khalili, but he is still faced
with the impossibility of leaving the capitalist morass because he
is PART OF THAT HYPERREALITY he has tried so hard to deconstruct for us.
We live in imagined communities. There have always been communities,
imaginary or not. There is no need to think beyond that. Those writing
for the Iranian or participating in its discussions have that bonding which
happens to be colored by their (imagined or not) identity as Iranians.
They designate topics and forums; they form movements and a sense of concrete
community. We are talking about itinerant philosophers, high-minded lawyers,
desolate poets, occasional by passers who are happy to express their individuality
and post their concerns and predicaments.
There is no need for high-flown language whose sole aim is to expose
foundations, only to surpass itself in the act of doing so. This is a small
community. Even if there are those who appreciate the tone and language,
the majority doesn't get beyond so much as the first few lines of Mahdavi's
verbiage. Lets forget who we are or who we have been, as Mahdavi would
have us, but let us not forget how little we are. Man has left the realm
of gods to gods, but he still finds himself subject to a predicament that
can, and all-too-often-does, inspire him with awe.