Shooting down the Patriot missile
Fascism-tribalism, and women's shoulder pads, are
gone for good I hop
October 15, 2003
Patriotism is worth a piffle, like most sentiments. It is
nationalism veiled for decency, and both are tainted for their
acquaintance with rowdy, low-class fascism.
("Kheyy", says fascism to his friends in an authentic but anonymous
recording from 1937, "you vant to komm fur a beeerrr?" "No Franzi",
they said timidly,
"ve go to ze collej now". "Akhh, yu sam kinda faggut?" he says. I heard the
disturbing tape recording in the Library of Congress one
rainy, thunderous night.
I was alone but for a cleaning lady dusting Jefferson's bust. "You vant
tea, herr doktorr?" I looked up. She grinned like a skeleton, then
wiped Jefferson's nose.)
Fascism-tribalism, and women's shoulder pads, are gone for good
I hope. I told some ladies in Tehran, loud and clear: fascism -
dead. "Ach, get outta
town", they tell me as they fix their Alexis Colby shoulder-pads, then freeze
dry the bouffant hair.
I say, it is no good fighting globalisation with vigorous dance
festivals. You might as well tell the world your culture is a stuffed
corpse, live as
Former Soviet states do it, hoping a cocktail of dance, vodka and Lenin
posters will see them through. Lenin and his wife Onion ("Ve like
tea but ve like
ze blood better"), not Bush, Starbucks or former State Secretary Ronald
Macdonald, were the culture killers. And then the piffle-ridden
scum parade every May
Day to commemorate the Gulag glitterati.
You know a culture is on life support when you hear, like every
day in Iran, "we" do things this way or that way, we love "our"
poetry and learned
"our" Ibn Sina, Ferdowsi, etc. Then we have the Mosaddegh "tragedy"
to unite us (a beautiful
story I love to hear time and again, though it is a little gory,
you know when the villain guy Eden guns down 'Mosi' at his little girl's
party and he falls flat-faced on that pizza, and the family just scream
I was taken to task for my failure to adhere to the Mosaddegh
cult by one patriotic reader who said I was "out to lunch" because
see the "point"
with Mosaddegh: he nationalised oil. Well now I do, so I say Wahaaay
to Mosaddeq. ("Ruh-e mani Mosaddegh", a song for you
Diana Krall, take it slow).
Now with our "national" oil, we're happy, right? Specially with
the subsidised petrol we can guzzle to our heart's content, driving
Jordan and Vozara avenues for subsidised j**deh baazi.
But ve muss be proud of ze Vaterland, its mountains und ze landskape...
Vell, first stop littering the place with rubbish. I reject the
patriotism of Iranians
who go hiking in Darakeh outside Tehran and throw crisp rappers
down the gorge in the land they love, litter the mountainside as
drive to the
or "uglify" Iran with shoddy constructs like the Caspian
villas shown on this website. You have your ugly
building concept, then very ugly,
so damned ugly it is the work of an Iranian Haji Me'mar.
are offended by this article and find it dismissive of Iran and
me proceed with greater alacrity.
All landscape is beautiful, I once told a "Concerned Green Comedy"
seminar in Jakarta. We noticed some illegal rainforest logging
going on outside,
prompted a gaggle of new jokes. It was fun.
To speak of patriotism now is to answer a scientific question
in medieval English. Relevant today are the bread-and-butter
we all cherish:
of law, open government, free press, personal security and
free market, free market, free market. Basically you want to bank
your money where
("You robbed my heart at the Chase Manhattan, so gimme a dime",
is my new song).
When the news shows a boatful of Afghan refugees floating off
Indonesia trying to reach Australia, one concludes that motherland
and a lifetime
with Taliban or General Dostum are not so fantastic,
and you will consider moving to a country with beaches, freedom,
than factional fighting.
It is called voting with your feet.
Ah, but they will go back
when things are OK. I beg to differ. Because convenience, security
and good schooling for your
children beat a
"better" but still trashy
motherland. Humans have personal priorities now and are
disinclined to believe the collective-dream claptrap: call it evolution.
(So take that,
politicians, you're a lot of crooks and "coffee mothers")
have a point, as always", a Connecticut fan wrote to me recently,
"sadly undermined by your frivolity." ("Phoo,
phoo", I wrote
points "are to my life what bubbles are to Cola", said
another authentic fan, Lolita
Thrombosis from New Kiev in Milwaukee. "I've stopped
drifting around Walmart and stay home now to read your articles",
she wrote. I
understand she was
recently found dead in her chair, a half-eaten pizza
on her lap. Another fan, a
senior Iranian diplomat, said "chamanetam mashti".
I say to these friends, my views are the fruit of years
of contemplation and a maturing outlook. So before
you go all
think: was Voltaire
a patriot, or Socrates?
Actually yes. Here is part of an unknown but authentic
Platonic dialogue, recently found near Baltimore.
Socrates: Khey, Alkibiades, you agree?
Alkibiades: No, iss rabbish
vat you say.
S: You cam out I smasha
your face, ha?
[Alarum, crowd rushes into the Stavros tavern] Stravros,
Stavros, issa Socrates again, khe smasha da Alkibiades.
Stavros: Ach... dat Sokrates, natink but trraaable.
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