Saturday, January 24, 2004

Hat dramas and other television programs
Obviously, you are not reading this for hard-hitting political news. If you are, you are in for a disappointment. Instead, I'll write about something really important: Iranian television, which seems to consist of football, soap operas, serials, comedies, hat drama, mullahs, cartoons, news, news, and news, a couple of films here and there, and Palestinians.

Despite what you might expect from reading the news or seeing photos of Tehran's rooftops, it seems that most Iranians (certainly most of the Iranians we know) do not have satellite tv. Even those who do seem to spend most of their time watching Iranian community television out of LA and homegrown Iranian tv. And Iranian tv is chock-filled with what I have come to think of as "hat dramas." Men in fezes, turbans, and black pointy hats star in historical dramas from Iran, Syria, and Turkey. Women wear elaborate multi-colored headdresses with jewelry and other elaborations (even to bed), scarves, and hoods in those same dramas. Everybody wears hats.

What I find absolutely amazing are the ads for joining Sepa (the revolutionary guards). The first ad I saw started with staged footage of soldiers running by explosions, followed by documentary footage of a young man actually getting hit by mortar fire. His leg twitched uncontrollably as he swooned into the arms of a fellow soldier.

Layered over this scene was a bearded soldier praying.

I kept thinking: you mean getting hit by mortar fire inspires one to join the revolutionary guard?

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