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Billboards of Tehran
December 28, 2002 9:16 AM   Subscribe

By their billboards ye shall know them: the Tehran street advertising collection. See Western luxuries, goofy icons and hardline Islamist and reformist propaganda compete for Iranian minds. Watch out for those changing Iranian ad standards, though. [via hoder]
posted by mediareport (8 comments total)

 
Very interesting set of links, mediareport, thanks. I am most intrigued by the Pastry Girl.

Is this commercialism another tiny crack in the country's most hardcore fundamentalist posture? Apparently, Iran also recently banned stoning as an acceptable death sentence. On the other hand, journalists still run the risk of being imprisoned and sentenced to truncheon blows so there's still a long way yet to go.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:16 AM on December 28, 2002


Fabulous, mediareport—thanks! I used to get a tv channel that had a weekly Iranian program, and it was fascinating to see the news summaries, serials, movies, ads, etc.; I wish more Americans could get exposed to Iran as an actual country full of ordinary people doing ordinary things, rather than an abstract Axis of Evil member.

Madam: Yeah, that looks like a fun movie. Wonder if that's a shoe phone, and if so, had they been watching Get Smart?
posted by languagehat at 12:47 PM on December 28, 2002


Looks like, just as in the US, there are active guerilla billboard alteration hit-squads in Tehran.

The first picture of the billboard in question displays two heads, one of a man, and one of a woman with her hair covered by a scarf.

The next picture of the same billboard shows that someone has altered the ad, and "veiled" the face of the woman.

Interesting.

Can anyone translate the Arabic captions and tell us what the comments are for these two pictures?
posted by Dunvegan at 1:40 PM on December 28, 2002


Is this commercialism another tiny crack in the country's most hardcore fundamentalist posture?

The cracks aren't so tiny anymore, according to a blogger who just went back home to Tehran for a visit:

It is really strange. The americanization process has accelerated to such a great extent that the majority of youth in big cities have become friends and supporters of the American cause, whatever that may be. It is almost out of question for example for a self ignited demonstration against US to happen here...I even saw a "United We Stand" sticker on the back window of a car...

I tend to be skeptical about the liberating power of rampant consumerism, but what the hell, it just might be possible to channel the desire for an oven into democratic change. But is anyone else wondering how long happy snowboarders can make up for the lack of real U.S. support? God help my cynicism, but I'm sitting here thinking Cheney is gonna sell those students out at the earliest opportunity.
posted by mediareport at 2:15 PM on December 28, 2002


Can anyone translate the Arabic captions and tell us what the comments are for these two pictures?

They are in Farsi, which uses the Arabic alphabet, but is not the same. My Farsi is abysmal, but I can figure most of them out.

The first caption just says "The movie Saqi." The second says "The movie Saqi Ayyam Adhari." I don't know if Ayyam Adhari is a movie star's name or if my Farsi dictionary is just incomplete.
posted by ednopantz at 2:34 PM on December 28, 2002


thanks for the nice links.

the Iranian debate between old and new Islamic attitudes become more visible every year and it's maybe a bit misleading to refer to this process as 'americanization' as it is a much more complex negotiation that is going on within Iranian society.

Many of the most interesting contemporary Islamic voices seem to be coming from Iran - I saw Samira Makhmalbaf's Blackboards a couple of weeks ago - highly recommended viewing.

axis of evil, or a few bad apples giving the rest a bad name?
posted by gravelshoes at 4:01 PM on December 28, 2002


it's maybe a bit misleading to refer to this process as 'americanization' as it is a much more complex negotiation that is going on within Iranian society.

I see your point, gravelshoes; the things that are *really* driving the discontent are corruption, young population, technology, arrogant use of the mullahs' veto power, etc. I'd still like the U.S. to work on creative ways to support the students, though.

Unfortunately, suddenly yanking Radio Azadi off the air and replacing call-in reports of ongoing demonstrations with Jennifer Lopez songs doesn't quite fit the bill. From here, the switch looks like a clumsy, poorly-timed slap in the face to the courage of the protesters, but I haven't seen any news about how it was received in Iran. If by some chance anyone who actually listened to Radio Azadi before the switch is reading this, please do post or send an email. I'm very curious about that element of the story.

I wish more Americans could get exposed to Iran as an actual country full of ordinary people doing ordinary things, rather than an abstract Axis of Evil member.

Amen, languagehat, and the same should be said of Iraq. The thought of dropping cluster bombs on what's left of the middle class in Baghdad is just sickening.

Oh, and good eye, Dunvegan. I missed that completely.
posted by mediareport at 6:24 PM on December 28, 2002


awesome links.
posted by dabitch at 7:31 PM on December 28, 2002


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