Culture shock

I only wish I had access to such a forum when I was a teenager


Culture shock
by Curious Joe

Born and raised as a Tehranian, with a High School diploma from Mojtahedi’s Alborz High School, I left Iran when I was 18. My father decided that I needed to be educated in the “West”’s university system, even though I passed the “Conkoor” exam to enter the Daaneshgaah in Tehran under the Shah’s regime.

For those readers who are not in their 20s (see "Looking For A Fight"), back in the 1970s, the Iranian parents wanted their children to become either medical doctors or engineers (ya doctor besho, ya mohandes!!), I was sent to a university in Europe where they fully concentrated only in one subject during the 4 years of undergraduate studies. My father refused to send me to the US because he thought the freedom of choosing courses in a variety of subjects was too much of a “wishy-washy” upbringing to focus on becoming a professional Engineer or a Medical Doctor.

So, I went through a rigorous “one subject specialization” of the European university system, all the way to a Masters degree, never having a course in anthropology, psychology, philosophy, politics, cinema photography or basket-weaving/sports. I became so good in my specialized subject that UC Berkeley offered me a scholarship to come to the US for a PhD.

It was a culture shock in my 20s to come to the US educational system where you can actually “freely choose” what courses you’d like to take. For the first time in my life, I became aware of a subject called “Psychology”. It took me a few years in the US to realize what an egocentric asshole I was brought up by my parents.

As I completely switched from my old European specialization to a newly field of study in human brain and neurophysiology/neuropsychology, I began to analyze and recognize what a bunch of egomaniacs and egocentrics were the Iranians like me. I realized that most Persians, while pretending to know DNA, consider themselves as a part of 5000 year history as if that was programmed in their DNA versus the 13 billion years of the history of universe. As a born atheist (both my parents were atheists – unusual for Iran), I began to question the “God-given” pride of Persian nobility, as being displayed even today by the kids that are born in the West from Iranian parents.

Sorry Virginia. You are not so noble just because you can recite some poems of Sa’di, Hafez or Molana. Your cultural take of Iran is displayed by your love for Chelo-Kabab, a chai-ghand-pahloo, a BMW, or what cosmetic products Benazir Bhuto used before she was assassinated. Your culture is also augmented with HUGE amount of ego and fiss-o-efadeh, as if you had fallen from an elephant’s ass (as koon-e fil oftaadeh-ee?).

I am grateful to for providing a forum to wake up (if only a fraction with access to Internet) of Iranians who are still deep in comma, full of their pride and ego – with no real reason. I only wish I had access to such a forum 40 years ago when I was a teenager. Maybe, I would have majored in English language – rather than blindly chasing an inherited belief system (see The God Delusion) or the Medical/Engineering schools.


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wow...all this from one

by Jessica (not verified) on

wow...all this from one short article?? i'm surprised...i thought it was entertaining. i'm just researching for a paper and came across this article because my topic was culture shock...gave me some good ideas and i can relate curious joe because my father finds it ridiculous that i don't want to study engineering or law or medicine...quite the outcast as a communications major. anyway..thanks for some good ideas for a research paper, sorry people like to talk shit over the internet...


Double change of heart......

by 24601 on

Well, after being without internet and moving into a new house, I decided to check my blog and re-read it all. I came across your comment and then I started to feel bad about typing obscenities about you. I came here to read your blog and leave some sort of apologetic comment. What do I find? You comparing me to a child (again I might add). While my age is not the issue here (and your not going to hear what it is, because it will be a dead give away to who I am and I don't want anyone that I know reading my blog) your "attack" has managed to irritate me a second time.

I feel that I have to say that it has nothing to do with what you attempted to say about my age, as I know an 18 year old who far surpasses your wisdom. It has much more to do with your intent. Here you are babbling about how you're an atheist because your parents were atheists and in another blog you talk about how stupid religion is.

I have news for you my friend, Atheism is that same dogmatic bullshit that christianity is. Science has proven both atheism and religion to be wrong on numerous occasions. There is very little argument for atheism, just as there is very little argument for religion (or at least the Judaic ones). Atheism has just about as much substance as nihilism, Im going to quote "The Big Lebowsky" here and say that your life must be very exhausting. Yes thats right, I like movies, I must be 12.

To finish this I'm going to add that I love kebab, I have owned a BMW (I prefer SAAB), I really like cows (it bothers me that I eat them), I hate the fact that we use oil for anything, I hate religion, and I absolutely believe that you, myself and everyone else will remain in some form for eternity.

Knowing that you are right all the time must be tiring, take some advice from a child and watch some cartoons.



Concerned reader.........contrary to your belief...

by Sasha on


 Actually, I care about what Rosie T. thinks and writes and I am not the only one. :o)

In Rosie's last posted comment she does state that this thread should be refocused on Joe's article and that it should not be about her. Now, may we please return to  Joe's article.

Thank you/Seppas






To Rosie T

by Concerned reader (not verified) on

Can you please stop posting. Nobody cares what you think, stop commenting everywhere and for everything. You are way too self-involved.

Rosie T.

To all who are interested in my role in this "discussion"

by Rosie T. on

Those of you who sensed some excess vitriole in my original comments here are correct. Originally I just posted the first comment below and it was pretty harmless and I was going to leave it at that. But a couple of things "triggered" me. There's a background to it. It is Joe's little on-site campaign trying to get jj to censor me. At the same time he prides himself on presenting controversial issues which he knows will upset people, and then when they get upset he wonders why. So that was the background, but I WASN'T going to say any more than my rather innocuous first post.

What actually triggered me was "knowitall"s defense of Joe in the face of so many upset people (not just me) replying to him. It had the same hypocritical double-standard as Joe...I can offend anyone I want but you can't express being offended by me, and also if you do anything that offends me I'll complain vociferously. It irked me no end especially ibecause Joe had TWO "articles" on the homepage simultaneously. I don't think ANYONE should EVER have two articles on the homepage, and sorry, but especially not these two.. But those things aren't Joe's fault: knowitall being just like he is and jj acting irresponsibly as the publisher of the largest English-language Persian website in the (now English-reading) world. So I suppose I owe Joe an apology for my reacting to things that are beyond his control.... I.. YOU think I really owe you an apology, Joe?

So I've edited down all my posts except the first one so they don't monopolize the thread And have consolidated them onto this final post here, which should serve as an apology and explanation for any vitriole you sensed in those now-edited previous posts. You were correct. And there was a history to it all. And I think we should put the matter to bed now, let it rest, and future posts here should be about your responses to Joe's article itself, not your opinions about me.

Best regards.


I'm talking about the Book

by 2 rosi (not verified) on

Before you all attack me, I have never seen her in my life,nor do I want to, she just reminds me of the book, every time I see her comments and writings.See Below, in this case, the foreign land is

The Ugly American is the title of a 1958 political novel by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer. It became a bestseller, was influential at the time, and is still in print.

The novel describes how the United States is losing the struggle with Communism—what was later to be called the battle for hearts and minds—in Southeast Asia, because of arrogance and failure to understand the local culture.

The book takes place in a fictional nation known as Sarkhan. In the novel, a Burmese journalist says "For some reason, the people I meet in my country are not the same as the ones I knew in the United States. A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They isolate themselves socially. They're loud and ostentatious." The phrase "ugly Americans" came to be applied to Americans behaving in this manner.


rosi T

by 2 rosi (not verified) on

The ultimate "Ugly American" of the year award, for being loud, obnoxious, attentiongrabbing, spotlightgrabbing, diverting from the article at hand on every single opportunity, to return to herself , her issues and her opinions.



by Reza_362 (not verified) on

The problem is the people you see here in sates who are in love with cholo-kabab, bmw, ... are a very small group of iranians, who could gain more than they were making in Iran. Saddly, our country is quite isolated from the rest of the world, that is why the iranians looks retarted in their social relations.

Even so, we have many things to get proud of, but we are not usually get exposed to other cultures, if we persians get involved with other cultures soon would realize that there exist many attributes in other nations which are far better than what we are proud of.


Dearest Rosie T I probably

by don'thaveacow (not verified) on

Dearest Rosie T

I probably would be surprised at the amount of research you may have done on these blogs. More power to you. But that in itself does not justify going after a person rather than their ideology. I am not necessarily a fan of any one person, but rather prefer to pick and choose what I feel is fair and right. Even if our dear Joe (the curious one) was or is some of the things you say, I still would not care who he is, and would rather see if anything he says makes sense. And if it did not, heck, I just move on.

I know a lot about Iran and I also know about us Iranians. I do like somethings about us and I can live without some other things (taarof, tavagho, edeaa). It may be hard to hear people make a remark about some of our negative points, but rather than getting defensive, it is far better to correct the negative traits. That by itself does not mean that we are under attack and should respond immediately. Any one person with self confidence will see the remark as something to work on and in the process get better. Peace. That's all


Dear readers I have a

by Hooshang (not verified) on

Dear readers I have a response to questions posted by the Bahaii advocates under god and religion business article go read it.


Clarifying the Elephant!

by Unregistered Rooster (not verified) on

Rosie I will try to clarify the Elephant thing for you:
1. Its very unlike of an educated person to use such a saying! (So first of all I would question Curious Joe's PhD! )
2. This saying refers to someone who seems to have it all & is very proud to be the person she or he is.
3. What is the relationship between the "Elephant" & "Proud person"? A simple answer is that an Elephant is a very big animal compared to humans. Therefore they refer to the "Proud person" as someone who thinks is as big as the elephant.
Those who have fallen from the Elephants ass are much better than those who use this saying!

Hope it helps!


To Rosie

by p.w. (not verified) on

When we say "az koone fil oftadi" it means:
"how arrogant you are"!
it applies when someone assumes he/she is better that others.
More polite version of this could be:
"engar az damaghe fill oftadeh"(someone) assuming something is fallen from the elephant's trunk should be seen as a avaluable thing...
hope it helps and happy new year!


Of course it is never okay..............

by Sasha on

 Of course, it is never nice or logical to insult, marginalize and dehumanize others for any reason.

When someone is constantly doing such mean things, there is an underlying reason or reasons. It still does not excuse their inappropriate behavior.

Hopefully, by understanding them, one can help them better understand themselves.

solh :o)

Happy New Year Rosie T........I know you do your best to be nice.


Rosie T.

Can domeone please clarify for me? PS Slasher

by Rosie T. on

So I'm supposed to understand that if I say to someone az koone-fil oftaadi, that's a NICE thing to say?



PS Slasher, okay, okay, I'll be nice. Kissy, kissy, Rosie


He has simply...........

by Sasha on

 Curious Joe has become cynical and negative at this stage of his life.  Internally angry and  looking for targets to blame.  Some of them inlcude his  parents, corporate America, educational system, his culture and so on.

Good news is that since Curious Joe is so highly educated and intelligent, he should be able to do a self analysis of his life. Slowly, he can make any necessary corrections and adjustments to improve his perceptions in life.




Get a life Curious Joe!

by Uregistered Rooster (not verified) on

Get a life!
There is nothing wrong with Chelo-Kabab, a chai-ghand-pahloo, or a BMW ( Although I prefer Albaloo polo, Poolaki & Porsche) So after all not all Iranians have the same taste!

Yes we IRANIANS are full of pride & we HAVE real reasons for it! Now that you have access to the Internet I suggest you go do some research on this topic. This website would be a good start: //

Rosie T.

Dear Don't Have a Cow

by Rosie T. on

By all means, don't, don't haav a gaav, but I'm self-censoring this post as I did the one below

But I'll keep this part: if you're a fan of knowitall read him on JJ's new travel essay on Royal Treatment (Nice). You'll be amazed how much he knows..


Curious Joe It is sad to

by Hamid (not verified) on

Curious Joe
It is sad to read that although you have given some of your Iranian hang ups you still have your parents' prejudices or myopia. What does education have to do with being human?

As for education systems I think you are being too harsh on European education and I would say US Education in my experience leaves a lot to be desired.


Dear Rosie T Yes dear he did

by don'thavecow (not verified) on

Dear Rosie T

Yes dear he did write it in English first, very good, very observant. But it is obvious that you neither get the Farsi vrrsion nor the English. You need to calm down a bit and don't take things personally. It is about letting people speak their mind. I may not like some of the stuff he says either, but I would never engage in character assasination that some are involved with here. I tend to agree with knowitall. Peace. That's all.

Rosie T.


by Rosie T. on

I am self-censoring (editing) this post as I explain above but I leave the ending as it was:

I remind you of your recent comments to Ajam "The Jew" (your term...)

Perhaps we are embattled with Joe. You are embattled with yourself and projecting it onto everyone else. I hope you win the battle. It may be uphill climbing. Good luck.


Mia Culpa?

by Knowitall (not verified) on

Ok Guys,
I'm not new to this site. Actually I am an old vet, have contributde artciles to the site and know JJ well.

BUT I just have NOT read Curious Joe's comments before. Today I read 2 and they were both fairly intelligent. I accept that he may be an Iranian basher in this and other articles, and so I am guilty of not knowing that. But we're talking about what was said here, and you guys seem to have some baggage, and it shows. That's all.

Omid Jan, It's not healthy discourse when you hate the messenger this much. This is preceisely what is wrong with this new format in that you all seem to develop a hatred for a "handle".

JJ is right when he says that people should read it and ignore it if it bothers them and only post something if it is a genuine debate, rather than adhominoms.

Rosie T. (robin) I have seen your handle sprinkled about, and sometimes like your sensibilities. However, you are obviously not Iranian, and so you often miss some subtleties. For instance, az kooneh fil oftandan, does not translate to elephant dung, although it is logical to think that. It actually means the opposite; that a person perceives themselves as being something different, unusual and even better.

You guys are clearly embattled with "Joe" (possibly a couple of different people by the sounds of it who are having fun with you) and so have lost your objectivity. I'm Ok with taking some criticism from ourselves, and don't rely on blogs on this site to represent Iranians to outsiders, because of the sheer ratio of idiots to the enlightened. Sorry, your work here is not all that important. Believe me, there are better ways to show off our collective brains and culture. One way for instance, is to allow intelligent rants. (Like JJ does).


to knowitall

by omid (not verified) on

you must be new in this site , all of us attacking curious joe is for who he is ,and who he represents.He always attacks everyone and puts every one down he is a close minded person.there may be cholokaba eathing, BMW driving Iranians out there but what is wrong with that .As long as they are not harming anyone and care for human life there is no problem with it in my mind.It becomes a problem when they are too attached to their belongings,if they are detached more power to them.But this curious joe always generalizes everyone. you should read his previous writings to know what kind of close minded person he do not worry about him being attacked by people.He is not that inocent.

Rosie T.

Knowitall you're missing the point entirely

by Rosie T. on

but I'm self-censoring (editing) what I wrote here in deference to the ensuing discussion. (see above).



Jesus Christ! All this guy

by knowitall (not verified) on

Jesus Christ! All this guy is saying is that he's grateful for a forum in which he could have been exposed to different points of view earlier in life!

Who here thinks that is a bad thing? And if you do, get the hell off He has as much of a right to criticize his heritage as anyone else does to defend it. It is his birth right!

You poeple are so caught up in your own shortcomings aand oghdehs that you can't take objective ccriticism. Of course Iranians can be materialistic and shallow. DUH! They can also be deep, kind and philanthropic. Although I see no signs of that (with a couple of exceptions)on this particular blog! Just conceited and defensive, which of course illustrates his point--not yours so much.


concentrate on your lack of

by kooshesh (not verified) on

concentrate on your lack of accomplishments and that will be an study o itself. I know what you are trying to say, but you need to learn how to say it. What you are trying to do is to critisize the way Iranians in west are consideing themselves an Iranian. I agree the well fed well taken care of Iranians in west who are really not on front line of anything that has to do with Iran act like they are inheritants of our culture because they can listen to the persian music, eat chelookabab, drink doough and dance like gerties. By attending these shallow get togethers of new year, yalda, etc they think they got it (specially if they happened to listen to national anthem at the start). Iran and Iranian need much more intelectual input and understanding than the ceremonial events.


This poem is for you the

by Anonymous.. (not verified) on

This poem is for you the whining and ungrateful doktor mohandes Curious Joe: "Ayaan ham-e sheeshehaaye goonaagoon bood, .... (by Jami). Go study it, learn it, and consider changing yourself (for the better), and your warped view towards life, the world, Iran, and Iranians (too). And if you're just another so-called Iranian, of those who are very active and are consistently ACTING while being insincere in this site (and with a mission), boro besooz az hasoodee. Since you don't think much of Iranians, let them be and go live your own life with your distorted and dark viewing prism. You also wrote "My father refused to send me to the US because he thought the freedom of choosing courses in a variety of subjects was too much of a “wishy-washy” upbringing to focus on becoming a professional Engineer or a Medical Doctor". Your father too, wasn't very bright, and nor knew what he was talking about. (by konkoor-ghabool-shodeh, before you knew what konkoor meant)


Guidance is what you need!

by Mom (not verified) on

My dear - Guidance is what you need, if you think you have been lost and this site is your wake up forum!!...sorry my child you really are in need of the guidance...


oh that is why you are the way you are!?

by omid (not verified) on

I knew there is something wrong with you curous joe,now I know ,you also have a multiple personality ,of iran Ironi,HMV,and bob cat,and curous joe???????????
Your parents with an anal approch to your up bringing damaged you for life!so this is the source of your hate for all the open minded people on this site!I do not hate you anymore I feel sorry for you from now on!Mr???? so who are you todey???????


REPLY : BIGOTRY & 2.500 IRANIANS........

by Farbors Maleknasri M.D. (not verified) on

I daubt if those respectable 2.500 Iranians are real Iranians. you see the real Iranians are those who have founded thier ISLAMIC REPUBLIC of IRAN, are living there and are willing to protect all what they have achieved in the last 30 years. To these achievements belongs also the friendship and a peacefull-living with the naighbores together. The Iranoarab friendship is now in a new aera. Bahrain, Quvait, Saudis, ADAN, since few weeks even Egypt and the Arab Lig states, syria, short nearly all arab states - on behalve of the arab nations - have realised who is the Master in the Region and seek even more intensified friendship with the ISLAMIC REPUBLIC of IRAN and of course more protectionns through Iran. Pakistanis, Afghans, Iraqis and the neighbores in North of Iran have now the best possible relationship with Iranians. I mean the 70 Millions who are called by western as fanatic mullahs and counted only 30 Million as they founded thier ISLAMIC REPUBLIC of IRAN. The once being great satan and now laying in its deathbed, the american imperialism, has evaluated a new tactic. that is to disturbe the good and allways getting better relationships between Arab countries and IRAN. Other day one could read the message that the palestine occupeying regim is most worried about the first steps that Egypt has taken to open its embassy in teheran again. So those 2.500 have only used - I do not want to say missused - thier human rights and have said as they have said. Good for them if they have recieved at least a littel present for thier sayings. As usual also this new "tactic" will not bring the favorite results for the not any more Great satan. Arabs just need the ISLAMIC REPUBLIC of IRAN. At least the arab poeple know it and arab governments will and must go the way as arab poeplpe want to go. This is the way I see these Things. the Future will show if I had been right today. Greeting.


Curious Joe

by verycurious (not verified) on

Are you the same guy as iraniIrooni?