Sunday, September 21, 2008

Iran: No neckties, no Barbies, no fun

The above comic is about the Saudi Religious Police, but it seems Iran also has a serious "Barbie" problem. Here's a few articles that came out earlier this year, about the "No Fun" Fashion Police in Iran. It's interesting what the Iranian government chooses to see as serious problems:

Iran's new enemy: Imported ties
Iran's war on neckties: The importation of ties, which "contradict the nature of Iranian culture," must come to an end, a senior Iranian customs official said Thursday.

"We must adopt serious actions in order to put an end to the importation of ties," Iranian Customs Deputy Director Asgar Hamidi was quoted as saying by Iranian news agency Fars. "We must change import laws to that end."

In addition to his customs duties, Hamidi also heads the Iranian program for the "development of culture, modesty, and headdress."

The custom of wearing neckties developed in Iran during the Shah's regime. However, in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution, ties were banned by authorities because they were perceived as a sign of westernization. Since then, senior Iranian officials and government ministry employees have shunned ties.

Notably, volunteers for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard walk the streets with scissors in order to cut ties should they encounter them.

'Modesty patrols' doubled
Meanwhile, Iranian police said this week that it will be doubling "modesty patrols" on the country's streets. The patrols are undertaken by special vehicles carrying women wearing black veils and a police officer who reprimand Iranians caught violating modesty regulations. [...]

It goes on about the war to fight western fashions, which Iranians are increasingly exposed to through the internet and satellite TV. Some "problem". Only if you're a control freak.

And of course, the next article follows logically from the first:

Iran launches war on 'Barbie doll invasion'
Iran's toy market is being inundated by models of Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter and the young must be protected from their harmful cultural effects, the prosecutor general was quoted as saying on Sunday.

"Promoting figures like Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter and the uncontrolled import of CDs of video games and films should alarm all the country's officials," Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabadi was quoted as saying by the student ISNA news agency.

"We need to find substitutes to ward off this onslaught, which aims at children and young people whose personality is in the process of being formed," he added.

Dori Najafabadi's comments came in a letter to an Iranian vice president, urging measures to protect "Islamic culture and revolutionary values".

While officials regularly lambast Western culture for polluting the minds of the public, Western toys have become a regular and popular feature on the shelves of toy shops in Iran in recent years. [...]

Read more about this "serious" problem, and the proposed solution.

I think the real problem in Iran is letting a government with this mindset have nuclear weapons. If they freak out over neckties and Barbie dolls, and even publicly bludgeon women and also men who make fashion statements, what are they likely to do with a nuclear bomb?

Most of the Iranian people are quite normal I'm sure, but their current control freak government is far from sane. If a real election ever happened in Iran, they would be thrown out. Which is why they don't allow real elections to happen.

Related Links:

Slaves to Fashion or Fascism?

Is it time for regime change in Iran yet?

Women's rights in Iran; the right to be a penguin

Iranian Fashion Police Publicly Bludgeon Women

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