Roger L. Simon

Speedy Hollywood junket to Tehran

I had to smile when I read some of my fellow Motion Picture Academy members were making a weekend visit to Iran for “cultural and creative exchange meetings.” I mean who would want to spend longer in Tehran anyway? Easy in/easy out – that way you don’t really have to know much about what really goes on there (the role of women, gays, the genuine torture of students as opposed to, say, Gitmo, etc.) or have any background in Khomeinist Shiite ideology that underlies this behavior. After all, that would be inconvenient. You might have to say something about it. Better not to know. On a good cultural exchange you don’t ask questions. I didn’t when I was on similar exchanges to the Soviet Union back in the eighties. Or you ask just enough to prove to yourself that you’re no pushover (when you are). Most of the time (in fact almost all of the time) you are surrounded by intelligence agents, who are usually your interpreters as well. That’s the way it works. Best to stay for a weekend.

UPDATE: The “Hollywood Team” is being asked to apologize (for what?). Meanwhile, I wonder if they have seen The Stoning of Soraya M? (Probably not. Again, too inconvenient.)