Sunday, October 17, 2004

Putty’s New Mask 2

What I intend to do in the coming weeks is to come back repeatedly to the short piece of the last post until I get everything off my chest. What hopefully you’ll see me do is articulate, through sustained scrutiny of our putty’s attitudes and claims, all that I find repulsive about us Iranians as well as our dominant cultural tendencies nowadays.

Some might finally get answers to the many questions I have never directly addressed before. Chief among them, the reasons I am so obsessed with Homer’s Iliad. As a bonus, you might also come to appreciate why I think Mr. Bush an Iranian in disguise.

Let’s first get the generalities out of the way. If I know my Iranians, our Putty probably screwed up royally when confronting that most dreadful of questions, “who are you?” He is now scrambling to fill in retroactively the identity blanks. That is the first thing about most Iranians lately, I suppose.

Of all the many people I have encountered over the years, we, Iranians, are the most unique in our tendency to project our own expectations and ideal notions of whom & where we want to be over who and where we actually are.

Who we hope to become mostly substitute for what we truly are.

Putty is right in claiming to be a product of a “rift in time and destiny.” But the rift places him smack in the middle of that detestable space most of us find ourselves struggling to deal with no matter where we live….the LaLa Land.

The rift in time actually locates us somewhere just between the horizon of the ancients and the moderns. Whether we believe with the wise ones that an “unexamined life is not worth living,” or with certain fashionable contemporaries that “an unlived life is not worth examining,” one thing is for certain. Our Putty neither fully lives, nor even partially reflects. That is the tragedy of modern Iran and the paradox of the Iranian Diaspora.

All that he has managed to do in the first half is to reveal that he “is” a recording device, reproducing poetry from various corners of the globe; a map, accurately reorienting in whatever desired direction and a carnivorous, mechanical killing & fruit picking machine.

But a contemplative being?

I find myself wishing that the Algerian pimp he alludes to could have drilled some sense into him. Or that some French person could have just shaken him out of his doldrums by insisting in that beautiful language of theirs and its unique intonation:

-- réfléchis un peu !

Our Putty’s professed choice of a profession doesn’t bother me much. There are countless spies and they do what they must.

Neither does his desire to “betray,” the motherland. A motherland that fails in its responsibilities deserves to be “betrayed.” Although, to be more precise, I wouldn’t want to characterize the act of undermining this Regime as a “betrayal.”

That he so describes his ultimate objectives speak volumes about his predicament.

Yes, Putty’s justifications for what he is trying to accomplish do annoy me immensely. And his expectations of the outcome are certainly irksome in so far as they are so stereotypically Iranian.

Just because he now wears his new mask, he expects to simply “will” the dagger wherever he pleases. The “motherland” is obviously expected to roll over and die. Any other outcome is bad luck, conspiracy, or further proof of the evils of the “terror masters.”(O, I forgot to tell you. I suspect Ledeen to be another highly successful Iranian in disguise!)

Naturally, this problematic nature of the relation between words and deeds in contemporary Iran we will have to explore in detail.

In the next post, I will try to highlight some aspects that I take to be the paralyzing dimensions of our psyche-- a modern plague of the mind, if you will.

I will attempt to show why beneath the façade of the outraged, belligerent victim on a mission of vengeance lurks a pathetically petrified traditional backgammon player directly responsible for his own misery.

Disdain is the principal reaction he has managed to elicit in me.

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