Thursday, July 24, 2003

Athena Andreadis

Athena
This morning (or I should say yesterday morning) I discovered this song.
Right now it is 1:18 in the morning and I have been listening to this song the whole day, maybe more than 50 times... (besides the time I spend at Hollywood Bowl listening to João Gilberto!... He had his second concert in Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, after 39 years.)

Friday, July 18, 2003

Iran

Iranians think their country is one of the most important countries in the world. Ironically, that is what makes it one of the most important countries in the world.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Organized Crime

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Today I heard something from my cousin that made me laugh for hours. He said religion was a beautiful concept as the first attempt of a curious human being for inventing a system that makes sense of this meaningless world. But it became ugly when it transformed to "organized crime."

"Organized crime," What a beautiful name for all religions, including "Communism" and "Free Market Democracy," the new religions of our Modern era.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

The moon, the moon

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Compare the translation of this poem by Fedrico Garcia Lorca with its Persian translation by Shamloo. I think if Borges was alive and knew Persian language he would have written an essay about Shamloo and Lorca; similar to the one he wrote about Khayam and Fitzgerald (El enigma de Edward Fitzgerald in "Otras Inquisiciones.")

* The moon, the moon

The moon comes to the forge
With a bustle of nard, in style:
The child stares at the moon
Fixedly all the while.
Across the moving air
The moon holds out her arms,
Her metal breasts are bare,
Shiny and pure and hard.

"Run away, run away, Moon!
For if the gypsies come
They'll stamp your silver heart
For bangle and ring and charm."
"Stop, child, let me dance.
When the gypsies come to-night,
They'll find you on the anvil
With your little eyes shut tight."
"Run away, run away, Moon!
I hear their horses near."
"Stop, child, do not crush
My starched and shiny dress."

Rider and horse appear
With a long roll of the drum,
The great drum of the plain,
And the child's little eyes
Shut tight against the scene.

From fields of olive come
The gypsies, dreamy and brown,
The head held very high,
The sleepy eyes half-down.

How the screech-owl sends
Her long-drawn wailing cry
While the moon with the child
Wends across the sky.

And in the smithy tears,
Tears, and gypsy crying
And the wail of the watching wind,
Watching, watching, and hiding.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Bowling in Columbine

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I just received an e-mail from a friend in Iran. He talks about the experience of seeing "Bowling in Columbine" in Tehran. What a bizarre world we live in. A movie like that can have a totally different meaning in a different context. Over there it is used by the regime to justify "Death to America." It is so sad.
Can a movie be made in a way to detach itself from different contexts? To convey the same meanings in different societies? I guess not. I remember reading somewhere about Spanish Civil War and the reaction of the writers and intellectuals of '30s about it. The only two writer who were not supporting the Spanish left wing and Republicans were Samuel Becket and Henry Miller. They were the only politically mature intellectuals of those days. Understanding how stupid is the whole thing they just rejected supporting any side... (actually Becket said some thing like "Morde shoore hardoshoon" meaning "God damn both sides".... hahaha, I am translating Becket from the Persian text I have read... it is really funny when you talk about a writer who have used English language in such a radical way.)
Any way,... God damn politics... long live cinema.

[I got this e-mail later in March 2004 from a reader:
On your weblog, you comment: " I remember reading somewhere about Spanish Civil War and the reaction of the writers and intellectuals of '30s about it. The only two writer who were not supporting the Spanish left wing and Republicans were Samuel Becket and Henry Miller". In fact, when asked to contribute his views to the collection "Authors Take Sides on Spain", Beckett famously replied "¡Up the Republic!". I don't know where you got the impression that his position was "God damn both sides", but I suspect that the Persian translation you read misinterpreted his views completely."
Ok, I might be wrong about that!]

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

The Comb

For a few days, I am working with a group of people from the British news channel on a report on some Iranian Monarchists active in Los Angeles, who are types of Cuban Exile activists. Seeing them being interviewed was disgusting and terrible. But worse than that was seeing the American right-wing politicians who support them. I met the worst one today: a congressman. The guy was sitting there making comments on Iraq and Liberia. He used the word “occupation” twice in his comments and corrected himself immediately every time by replacing the word with “liberation.” It was very difficult for me to remain silent and keep a smile on my face, but it was worth it seeing a real right-wing congressman talking in his office, a place surrounded with his photos taken with presidents, his degrees and framed documents, and American and Israeli flags everywhere.
At the end when we were leaving the place, the interviewer asked him (not as a part of the interview but as a personal question) if he thinks the US will attack Iran or any other country in the next months or the next year. He answered “not before the re-election of President Bush. After that we definitely have more wars for you” and he laughed.
He was saying this when he was giving us combs as souvenirs with his name printed on them. He was bald, and he was trying to be funny. I think I will fully appreciate his sense of humor when in 2005 Tehran is bombarded. I can watch CNN showing the burning buildings of Tehran, and comb my hair while watching it, with this piece of plastic, that has his name on it.