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

No Haram, No Foul

Chetori? Khoobhasti?

It's Sunday, time for a Letter to the Editor...
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There's a brouhaha brewing over words broadcast on a sports telecast, and now politicized thanks to the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC). But they should stick to governmental affairs, not trivial matters like this one. It's Al Sharpton-like PC policing gone a bit too far, and that's what's stifling real discussion in this country on issues regarding race and gender stereotypes.

To me, nowhere did the two broadcasters make any "epithet" or say anything to "slander."  It's not "hateful" to joke that Hamed Haddadi - who with his tall, lanky, hairy frame and awkwardly FOBish demeanor - resembles Sasha Baron Cohen's Borat character. Were the comments superficial? Sure. Racist? Nah. We're talking about a silly sports cast. In fact I'd say that such a response is actually superficial, as it takes something outside of its context and devalues a hot-button word like 'racism'.

And we can't blame the two dopey L.A. Clippers broadcasters for saying "eye-ran." Ralph Lawler and Mike Smith are just old-fashioned white guys who need to fill dead air with mindless yet harmless chatter. They probably can't even tell the difference between "I-rock" and I-ran, like jingoistic country music jingles or the recent, indecent words of Sarah Palin.

That said, it's a positive sign that networks are more acutely aware of the ignorant things said announcers on their payroll. Recently ESPN suspended commentator Bob Griese (again, another dopey old-fashioned white guy) for one game after a cheesy joke about a Latino athlete eating tacos. I could support NIAC blowing the whistle if there was no response from network execs, but in this case FoxSports Los Angeles (which has nothing to do with the incendiary Fox News division, btw) took immediate action.

As several Iranian-Americans have already remarked on the LA Times blog and elsewhere, we're a bit embarrassed that NIAC should make such a big deal out of this. It makes Persian sports fans seem like petty lightweights without a sense of humor, and part of some fringe, endangered minority who has to play the victim card. We should be above the rim on all this.


UPDATE: The Clippers are making their game this Sunday afternoon an 'Iranian Heritage Day' event.

(photo courtesy of @ArashMarkazi)

1 comment:

ferferak said...

Huffington Post survey:

What do you think of the suspensions?

One game was just right, 18.94%
They should not have been suspended, 30.68%
One game isn't enough, 50.38%


I think it's offensive. Borat isn't just some tall Eastern European guy. He was the sum of the worst stereotypes and insane story lines. It was a funny movie but an insulting comparison.