وزارد او دا وستساد
VIZITOR TO THE VESTSIDE
an
American blog of Iranian dissent

Keepin' it REEL

The first day of school, from Kkk through 12, always sucked for me.

By the time a teacher got to near the end of the attendance list where my name was to be found, I'd be well-sunken in my seat preparing for the moment where I'd need to clarify how to pronounce mi nombre in front of all these strangers. Of course the name would be butchered into oblivion by the lame-ass Midwestern teach, which right off the bat meant being lumped into outsider territory -- which in my mind also registered me as 'unfuckable' in the eyes of the opposite sex. My, the horror.

That's one of a few reasons why Amy Heckerling's movie Clueless had a major effect on my teens. It was the first Hollywood film to showcase, albeit briefly, a bonafide Persian high school student (named 'Parodazem Banafshan') and made references to the presence of Iranian-Americans in Southern California.


"That's the Persian Mafia. You can't roll with them unless you drive a BMW," explains Cher (Alicia Silverstone) to new student Tai (Brittany Murphy) while giving her a tour of the BHHS campus.  It was like seeing your relatives on the screen. Of course I was just a kid driving a Corolla in my quaint suburb, far away from those high-gloss Vestvooders.  But to have the multicultural reality of America's classrooms showcased in such a quirky way was, as Donald Faison brags in the film, "da bomb." And as an aspiring screenwriter-director, I was chomping at the bit to produce stuff like this when I get out into the world.

Heckerling shot the scenes to Clueless at venues where you can find young Persians aplenty: Beverly Hills High School, Occidental College in Pasadena (Obama's former undergrad stomping grounds) and my preferred corporate retail hangout spot, the Vestside Pavilion mall, which provides this - dare I say it - rather beautiful view of Westwood Boulevard...

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