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Friday, November 18, 2005

This Is a Very Sensitive Moment

Posted by on November 18 at 13:58 PM

There’s a great article in the New Yorker this week about young journalists, bloggers, and the state of the reform movement in Iran. It isn’t available online, but you can read a Q&A with reporter Laura Secor here.

My favorite quote from the article:

I asked Belashadi [a young “Basiji,” or member of the state-run conservative militia assigned to university campuses] what he thought should be done about the satellite channels on which Iranians watch illicit fare such as music videos, Western movies, and political commentary from Iranian exiles abroad. “The majority of the population is young,” he said. “Young people by nature are horny. Because they are horny, they like to watch satellite channels where there are films or programs they can jerk off to.” [ … ] He concluded, “We have to do something about satellite television to keep society free from this horny jerk-off situation.”

My translator implored me, in a jaw-clenched monotone, “Please do not laugh right now. This is a very sensitive moment.”

What a syllogism, eh? The rest of the article is more somber. Also in the New Yorker this week: a godawful story by Haruki Murakami about spaghetti and loneliness and the loneliness of eating spaghetti. Will somebody tell me what’s so great about Murakami?