25 Jan 2014

mediaevalist: (Hatshepsut)
Good Cracked list on Iranian culture: 5 Ways Life in Iran Is Nothing Like You Think.

The bullet on the elaborate levels of politeness was especially hilarious to read. One of my instructors (whom we called "Professor Cyrus" because he was educated at Oxford, has a Received Pronunciation accent, and took a cerebral yet humourous approach to teaching us) related this by commenting that (to paraphrase), "If five Iranian men reach a door at the same time, it takes an hour for them to pass because they will spend all that time arguing over who goes first: 'After you, agha, I insist.' 'No, no, agha, after you, I insist.'"

The "party hard" culture certainly deserved its Number One slot, as it is historically well-documented. Iran has been invaded constantly over millenia, and each time the invaders typically ended up adopting Persian customs rather than forcing theirs on Iranians primarily because of this. Alexander the Great was perhaps the most well-known of these instances, even with the buring of the Throne of Jamsheed (Wikipedia is reliable here), which most suspect was 'wild partying got explosive'. (It's something they could definitely relate to, not to mention that culturally Persian tempers typically flare brightly and burn out quickly.) In fact, the only culture which imposed itself on them were the invading hordes of newly-Islamic Arabs, which is why Arabs remain the only ethnic/national group Iranians in general can be said to genuinely hate.

In fact, the only quibble I have is that the head covering is not called a hajib, but a chadoor, which literally means "tent". Iranian humour can be a little dry and punny.

The parkour surge is definitely new, possibly brought through their French connection. (Iranians also learned cinema from France back before the revolution, which lends to some well-made artsy Cannes-bait films and cheesy-yet-fun action flicks) Even I learned something on Iran today!

June 2015


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