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

The Fear of Godzallah

photo © 20th Century Fox
There's a standout scene in Gurinder Chandha's movie 'Bend it like Beckham' where the Sikh parents are startled when their daughter isn't obedient to all the frames on the wall.

I remember seeing that in a theatre, and realizing that the time has come for First Gen ethnic kids to take on taboo subjects. It's our coming of age. It also exacerbated my torture at the time because I was without any outlets to write or produce anything. Hence I turned to the blogoshere to dabble with the billions of ideas in my head, hoping something comes to fruition when I finally get access to resources -- human or material.

There were a lot of turbaned men dotting the walls of the homes I grew up in. There were also a ton of pictures of spaceship-looking things called Houses of Worship. They were always shadowing, and intimidating for a kid when you mix in some premature deaths, tumultuous sociopolitical times,. My Bahai relatives couldn't fathom how I didn't have my eyes well up with tears or my heart gasping when hearing religious stories like they did. That resulted in the proverbial question of whether there's something 'wrong' with me. And sometimes, when I felt really alienated, I'd think there maybe was something fun-damentally disturbing about me.

With all that said, I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about when I heard South Park was censored by Comedy Central for trying to de-pict Muhammad in one of their sketches. Of course it's a touchy subject in recent years, with some Muslim fanatics wanting to get their hands around the neck of cartoonists.
The Holy Pictures

These doodling provocateurs, like South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are always white, always male, always very mono-cultured. And they're trying the old shock-and-awe tactics with little respect for their subjects. To me, if they had the balls they'd have an episode of burning an American flag or another symbol of American Idol-atry.

It's pure (er, Pák) speculation, but the attempted Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad (thanks for desecrating that name idiot) parked his car outside of Comedy Central's parent company Viacom's headquarters. Perhaps he wanted to send a message to those South Park dorks. I've spent some time in that building, which is interesting because my father would always call me "corrupt" for watching MTV (when it was still relevant and interesting -- ie, the 90s).

Religious fundamentalists causing the uproars, no matter what the faith, seem to have no problem mocking religions that aren't theirs. Like the ancient Buddha statues. That's an extreme case, but I know many mainstream Muslims in America who think of themselves as progressives and speak out against being stereotyped, but then are silent when it goes the other way. You can't have it both ways. That hypocrisy ticked me off when so many of them were quiet during the #iranelection.

Now while indigenous Eastern cultures are still too rigid in what they deem sacred, American society is disturbing on the opposite end of the spectrum. It has a dreadfully unique ability to render anything completely and utterly meaningless. To take something, commodify it, stomp on it, and mindlessly turn it into an empty product or catchphrase. A Jesus Christ bobblehead, or a horny puppet.

In today's era where everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, with media everywhere, over-exposure is an inevitability. When everything is exposed, all the mystique is gone. The element of intrigue dead and buried.

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