September 29, 2004


Iranian Citizens Trash Fahrenheit 9/11 (Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, September 29, 2004,

A few weeks ago, Mamoun Fandy, a media analyst, syndicated columnist and former professor of Arab Studies at Georgetown University, was interviewed on the subject of Michael Moore. Fandy stated that Iraqis who were familiar with the film found Moore’s portrayal of them to be exceedingly racist; he went on to say that Moore’s callousness to the plight of the Iraqi people and to the unbelievable human rights devastation in Iraq was outrageous.

And that was only the verdict of the Iraqis.

I have also been asked to express the judgment of a number of Iranians who saw the film in Iran. They sent e-mails, faxes and even phoned me to ask me to report their reviews.

First, other than David Lynch’s film, ‘The Straight Story’, Iranians have not really been exposed to any western films in their cinemas. The Mullahs’ film board forbids the display of women’s uncovered hair and all the other “corruption” Western filmmakers spread. For Iranians, therefore, viewing Michael Moore’s film was a tremendously novel experience.

After 25 years of living in a virtual concentration camp, Iranians have become exceedingly socio-politically savvy. Moore’s anti-American propaganda did not attract anywhere near as many viewers as the Mullahs had hoped for. Tehran’s despots had hoped the film would challenge the Iranian people’s favourable notion of President Bush and promote John Kerry.

But Iranians are too smart.

How can you follow a great film like Straight Story with this garbage?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2004 4:10 PM

As are East Europeans. This reminds me of the story I recall of a group of earnest American progressive types meeting some Eastern Europeans at a conference just after the wall went down. The Europeans were shocked at the anti-Reagan talk from the Americans and told them in no uncertain terms that Reagan had freed them. Needless to say the reaction of the Americans was very patronizing--those poor wogs just didn't understand.

It would be fun to see a conservative film maker do a new version of The Ugly American on that story.

Posted by: Peter B at September 29, 2004 8:20 PM

The should show the Iranians David Lynch's 'Eraserhead'.

Posted by: carter at September 29, 2004 11:39 PM

Peter B. --

And who do you think the Ugly American was in the book?

I infer from the implication of your comment that you have no [bleep] idea.

Don't feel bad, however, nearly everyone who mentions this book has never read it, only the book review in the NYT or comments based, not on the book, but on the completely wrong review.

Posted by: Uncle Bill at September 30, 2004 10:38 AM

Uncle Bill:

I confess I was having a senior moment. Got my classics mixed up.

Posted by: Peter B at September 30, 2004 5:39 PM