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Iran Gets Hollywood Propaganda Help

March 2, 2009
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Some Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences folks recently went over to Iran to lend their expertise in filmmaking.

“I can confirm that a group of Academy members . . . are currently in Iran” on a “completely private initiative for educational and creative exchange and with no political agenda,” Academy Communications Director Leslie Unger told the Agence France-Presse.

According to Unger, the Tinseltown travelers include actresses Annette Bening and Alfre Woodard, screenwriter and film director Frank Pierson (writer of “Dog Day Afternoon,” producer William Horberg (“Cold Mountain”) and former Universal Pictures Chairman Tom Pollock.

The team supposedly went to the rogue state to teach the Iranians about screenwriting, directing, acting, documentary filmmaking, and production.

In the instructional process, the Iranians may be learning how to better propagandize.

Ironically, though, an adviser to Iran's president had a unique take, seeing the visit as an opportunity to demand an apology from Hollywood for films that were “insulting” to Iranians.

Specifically mentioned by the spokesperson were the movies “300” and “The Wrestler.”

Javad Shamaqdari, art and cinema adviser to President Ahmadinejad, told The Associated Press, “In my viewpoint, it is a failure to have an official meeting with one who is insulting.”

Iranians were peeved with the depiction of Persians in “300,” and they weren’t tickled about the opponent of Mickey Rourke’s character in “The Wrestler,” a villain named “The Ayatollah.”

But a serial human rights violator asking for an apology over movies never released in the Middle East country is like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid asking for a dozen red roses and a box of chocolates from the U.S. taxpayers.

At a minimum Hollywood is acting irresponsibly in sending a delegation to teach the ruthless regime cinematic techniques. Iran’s citizens endure unspeakable ill treatment under the current regime. And Hollywood’s hypocrisy is showing in its heralding of “Milk” and its silence at the treatment of homosexuals in Iran.

Conservative stalwart Gary Bauer recently pointed out that Hollywood has been “missing in action when it comes to speaking out against some Muslims’ unacceptable views on gays.” He also noted, “In many Islamic countries, homosexuality is considered an executable offense. In Iran, homosexuals are sometimes crucified.”

The Hollywood visiting team met with an Iranian delegation in Tehran where the managing director of the Iranian House of Cinema, Mohammad-Mehdi Asgarpour, explained to the left coasters that the Islamic Revolution was a turning point in the history of Iranian cinema.

Leave it to Hollywood to never let a little bit of totalitarianism get in the way of a power lunch.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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