September 25, 2007
Ahmadinejad Gets Laughed At
Watch Ahmadinejad's face here.
He's not being feared. He's being laughed at. Imagine how the Iranian people feel seeing these clips (and they're seeing them). Imagine how the rest of the Iranian government feels being made to look so foolish -- and all for this jester's dreams of personal aggrandizement.
The Bush administration has long upheld that our best weapons against Iran are our unwillingness to speak with them and the threat of bombing. They've failed. But our willingness to expose Ahmadinejad to the risks of free ands public speech, combined with YouTube, may prove to be far more potent.
September 25, 2007 | Permalink
Well, considering Iran executes their homosexuals, I suppose maybe that what he's getting at.
Posted by: jj | Sep 25, 2007 11:58:44 AM
Which could be the main reason why this administration doesn't want him to have so much exposure in this country.
Photos and foreign-language clips can be used to ramp of fear of him and Iran. But when people see Ahmadinejad as the schmuck he is, it's hard to maintain that fear.
Posted by: PapaJijo | Sep 25, 2007 12:20:04 PM
So, you think that a leader who is mocked abroad will lose face at home? Bush is the biggest figure of fun that politics has yet produced, anywhere, and is, in terms of international protests, the least popular human ever to walk the Earth. And yet he's never lost an election, and never will. Do you think that the Iranians have much respect for the opinions of Americans, particularly when it comes to presidents?
Posted by: graham | Sep 25, 2007 12:21:27 PM
Saying much the same thing about the GOP as Ahmadinejad says about Iran doesn't seem to have hurt the Republican Party much, no matter how much we may laugh at them.
But I take your point, Ezra.
Posted by: Charles | Sep 25, 2007 12:36:31 PM
I can quite easily imagine an alternative scenario with iranians getting pissed at seeing foreigners laughing derisively at their president. When you consider that if they see it at all it will most likely not be in its raw form(youtube is banned in iran) and more likely on one of the state controlled television channels then I find my scenario more plausible.
that's why I dont buy the 'exposing Ahmadinejad to the risks of free and public speech' because, as far as the iranian public are concerned, we really arent. All columbia have done is give the iranian government a bunch of video and photo ops for them to splice into whichever propaganda narrative they'd like.
Posted by: pimp hand strikes! | Sep 25, 2007 1:02:33 PM
When are you fools going to get this:
Mocking world leaders does not change their course
Isolating world leaders does not change their course
Dialog with world leaders does not change their course
Get over yourselves. What the USA does or doesnt do has almost zero bearing on whether world leaders "do the right thing" whatever that is. Being nice to them doesnt make a difference, being mean to them doesnt make a difference. They are pretty much going to do whatever the fuck they want regardless of how we treat them or whether we talk to them or not.
Its time for both conservatives (who overestimate our military might to push change for good) AND liberals (who overestimate our diplomatic ability to push change for good) to wake up and realize that what we say or do in the USA really dont make that much of a fucking differnece in terms of what other world leaders do or dont do. We can have devastating consequences on the foreign populations, but thats a totally separate thing from changing the decisions that the leaders themselves make.
Posted by: joe blow | Sep 25, 2007 1:04:13 PM
we should probably clean up our own house before ridiculing other nation's leaders for their homophobia. ditto human rights abuses.
also, inviting a speaker and then introducing him with a tirade in which you call him "ridiculous" is a little tactless, to say the least.
Posted by: utica | Sep 25, 2007 1:14:38 PM
OK, sure, the Iranian president said some foolish things and was laughed at. Imagine George Dubya speaking in Iran . . . nevermind, that is inconceivable. At least Ahmadinejad is willing to address hostile audiences. Dubya won't even do that in his own country.
Posted by: Bragan | Sep 25, 2007 1:16:55 PM
This morning's liberal blogosphere has apparently unanimously adopted the meme that Ahmadinajad's speech was a "win" for the US and a "loss" for his brand of Iranian whatever. I disagree.
No minds are going to be changed in Iran or America. The real audience is the rest of the world. They already knew he was a flake. But we came off looking rude and petulant. I think we lost that round.
Posted by: Paul | Sep 25, 2007 1:18:38 PM
Ahmadinejad isn't the LEADER of Iran. He's a figurehead who wields little power and, while "democratically" elected, serves at the pleasure of the mullahs.
Allowing the figurehead leader of a nation to make a fool of himself on the world stage doesn't force Iran to change their course. But it does undermine the support of other nations.
By this, I mean, that letting Bush stand in for Cheney has had roughly the same effect.
Posted by: Jay-Z | Sep 25, 2007 1:19:36 PM
Given that Iran has been a 'free' country in recent history only since 1979, despite all this, or, perhaps, by all this, an Iranian can easily be convinced of the supreme arrogance of Americans, who are laughing and talking as if homosexuals and minority races and women have always had all the rights accored to white males in this country ever since it was founded.
Posted by: gregor | Sep 25, 2007 1:20:46 PM
Bush never won an election fairly, just as Ahmadinejad never did. They are both hated internationally and domestically. They are more alike than they both want to realize. Anybody who says Ahmadinejad speaks for the majority of Iranians has been listening to Rush Lambaugh for too long instead of actually, oh I don't know, researching what the majority of Iranians think of their government.
Posted by: ParrotLover77 | Sep 25, 2007 1:29:03 PM
I wonder how the cons think building up a figurehead, elected (however slimily) foreign politician like this guy will help them? this dude doesn't even control the stinking country. feh.
Posted by: garth | Sep 25, 2007 1:30:38 PM
we should probably clean up our own house before ridiculing other nation's leaders for their homophobia.
Right. Because here, the government routinely hangs gay people for the crime of homosexuality, right?
Get some perspective, please. The lesser evil in your own house does not negate the greater evil in someone else's.
Posted by: Jay Andrew Allen | Sep 25, 2007 1:31:27 PM
thanks for the perspective, jay. now let me offer you some.
we have no RIGHT to criticize other nations on these grounds because they are matters of principle. no, our government doesn't hang homosexuals. but ahmadinejad's flub was saying "we don't have that problem", implying that homosexuals don't really exist. if george bush, any republican, or many democrats were asked that same question, i think you'd be surprised at the number who would freely offer that homosexuality is a choice. also, remember that our government does murder black people (we call it the death penalty because we're so fucking humane) -- hundreds every year.
as far as lesser/greater evil goes, we are most certainly the latter, as evidenced by our declaration of global war, and our re-election of the man who declared it. almost (if not more than) 1 million dead iraqis, 4 million refugees, the cradle of human civilization raped and pillaged to maintain the profits of private oil companies, a rapidly expanding network of military bases garissoning the globe, the kidnapping, raping, torturing, and occasionally murdering of tens of thousands of innocent muslims etc., etc., etc.
my point is not that hanging homosexuals is a-ok. my point is that we have forfeited the right to be morally outraged by another nation's conduct long ago. until we fix our own actions (e.g. stop murdering hundreds of thousands of innocent people) no one in their right mind would consider us an adequate candidate for the world's moral police squad.
Posted by: utica | Sep 25, 2007 1:47:05 PM
Regarding cleaning up our own house...
I propose a swap. We send our bigoted homophobes to Iran, and we Iran's homosexuals.
Posted by: feh | Sep 25, 2007 1:47:54 PM
I'm a 47 YO gay man in LA. I've a friend whose long-time partner is Persian. He and his family fled Iran when the Shah fell. He has a group of 6 Persian friends, they've been close since childhood. They get together frequently and are very demonstrative physically--holding each other, hugging and kissing each other, even occasionally "keeping each other company at night" when they are lonely and drunk.
With the exception of my friend's partner, NONE OF THESE MEN THINK THEY ARE HOMOSEXUAL. They consider what they do as just a part of their friendship and that the condition and lifestyle of homosexuality is an invention of the West. (My friend and his partner, btw, think they are crazy.)
When people laugh at and mock Ahmadinejad for saying the Iran does not have homosexuals like the US (which is true, note the qualifier "like the US." You show me where, in Iran, homosexuals can exist and live a life like we do in the US) all we are doing is showing, once again, how utterly ignorant Americans are about everyone else in the world.
Posted by: Danno | Sep 25, 2007 2:01:46 PM
Oh jeez...well you know
I gotta say this crazy little guy sometimes makes a bit of sense...Like
"The bomb is no longer a useful weapon" [my paraphrase]
and WE have people in charge who've dropped out of arms agreements and like nuclear bunker-busters.
He reminds me a bit of Howard Dean who was always sayin' outrageous things...
More than a few of which...proved altogether true or had this kernel of very good sense...embedded
[And he surely makes more sense than W ever has
And he was, y'know, an INVITED guest...jeez]
Posted by: has_te | Sep 25, 2007 2:15:31 PM
Danno confirms what I suspected.
Man, ain't it the truth:
"all we are doing is showing, once again, how utterly ignorant Americans are about everyone else in the world."
Excellent smackdown of the overly smugly American, Jay Andrew Allen.
Posted by: Goats 'R Us | Sep 25, 2007 2:16:03 PM
Hey Utica, were you against the US saying anything about South African aparthied? Since the US has by no means perfect race relations, we should have kept our mouths shut about SA right?
Posted by: pjgoober | Sep 25, 2007 2:21:05 PM
Utica and Goats,
How 'bout we speak out against injustice, no matter what its source. That too much for your jingoism?
Posted by: CW | Sep 25, 2007 2:54:37 PM
This figurehead thing keeps coming up. Someone explain to me why that makes a big difference, because it keeps getting repeated like it gets a lot of mileage that I don't see it getting. And yes, I read Jim in Portland's comment highlighted by Ezra earlier on. Proving he is a "figurehead" doesn't make the argument that he is not representative or that what he says doesn't matter or anything else.
American ignorance of Persian customs isn't the big lesson I'd draw from the failure of Persians to recognize homosexuality. Danno I just reread your post and I recognize part of what you are saying but the whole just doesn't hold together - "They consider what they do as just a part of their friendship and that the condition and lifestyle of homosexuality is an invention of the West." ??? They may, but is that an instance of something like false consciousness? Or is that reserved for American evangalists?
Posted by: slickdpdx | Sep 25, 2007 3:28:42 PM
"Bush is the biggest figure of fun that politics has yet produced, anywhere, and is, in terms of international protests, the least popular human ever to walk the Earth. And yet he's never lost an election, and never will."
Bush lost his first election when he was running for the U.S. House of Representatives.
"When people laugh at and mock Ahmadinejad for saying the Iran does not have homosexuals like the US (which is true, note the qualifier "like the US." You show me where, in Iran, homosexuals can exist and live a life like we do in the US) all we are doing is showing, once again, how utterly ignorant Americans are about everyone else in the world."
Iran is a big and diverse place, and yet based on the sole experiences on your 6 Persian friends you would declare that not a single "Western-style" homosexual exists in Iran? That's *is* laughable.
Also I congratulate you on your gratuitous America-bashing, as well as your people-bashing in general. As if we humans in general were not ignorant about things outside the realm of our daily experience.
Posted by: Korha | Sep 25, 2007 3:29:13 PM
Yes we laughed at Mr. Ahmadinejad, because of something that had the ring of a bad translation.
Hell its not like he tried to give the prime minister of Germany a back rub.
Its not like he tried to tell Russia to emulate Iraq's "democracy".
The biggest laughingstock in the world is Mr. Bush, hands down, every time he gets in front of anyone but our lapdog media this is exposed directly, and with side busting results. I bet Iranians get to see those youtube videos.
Sadly it is dark humor, the punchline of his idiocy is a million dead Iraqis and 4 million refugees.
Is the government of Iran evil? yes. Is it the biggest problem in the world? no.
Compare Iran to our super friendly recipient of billions in arms sales friends, the Saudis.
War with Iran will complete the transformation of the american military into a pro al-qaeda, anti shiite pawn of the house of Saud.
Posted by: feckless | Sep 25, 2007 3:47:10 PM
This figurehead thing keeps coming up. Someone explain to me why that makes a big difference, because it keeps getting repeated like it gets a lot of mileage that I don't see it getting.
Because 'scary dictator' is a nice easy frame for Americans to accept. (There's a thesis to be written on how Saddam's moustache likely helped seal his fate.) 'Multipolar, opaque government' is not.
Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Sep 25, 2007 3:59:35 PM
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