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Chicken Is the New Food Porn in Iran

Chicken Is the New Food Porn in Iran

Written by Behrouz Saba

The world continues to keep a wary eye on Iran’s nuclear program, in nearby Syria the pro-Iranian government of Bashir al-Assad is on the brink of collapse and Tel Aviv accuses Tehran of being behind the fatal suicide bombing of a bus in Bulgaria which carried Israeli tourists. Yet chicken, or lack thereof, makes daily front-page headlines and is the obsessive subject of scores of cartoons that appear in both state-owned and independent media in Iran.

Today’s Iranian media are a far cry from the initial post-revolutionary years when TV came to be known as pashm-o-shisheh (wool and glass) as the airwaves were dominated by talking heads of bearded clerics in absence of any music or other form of entertainment. Now dozens of state-controlled radio and TV channels pump out music—usually of horrid taste—around the clock and there is even an equivalent of the Home Shopping Network knows as Bazaar.

Yet amid this permissive trend it may soon become imperative to ban images that are currently of particular lasciviousness to the Iranian eye—those of chicken eating.

According to a blog on the website of the French daily Le Monde, the chief of the Iranian national police Esma’il Ahmadi Moghadam, has made a plea to the media apparatus to censor images of people who are relishing any dish that contains chicken.

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches and devout Muslims begin to fast, Iran’s favorite but increasingly unobtainable poultry will not likely be an iftar dish when the sun goes down.

Religious considerations aside, the suggested proscription by the police chief may seem odd to most non-Iranians who are unaware of the pivotal importance of food in Iran. In a country where shame and honor anchor the national psyche, food is the chief instrument of creating and fulfilling social obligations. It is the primary gift, a form of material and psychological bribe, as well as the signal from parents to children that they are out of the doghouse.

Eating and not sharing, particularly when children are present, is a dark taboo. Wealthy Iranians can easily afford any meat whose prices, even at inflated rates, are comparable to those at American supermarkets; it is the poor who suffer. In absence of a chicken in every pot, the police chief’s suggested censorship is not as Orwellian as it may seem. It is more out of consideration for children who would have to bear witness to images of chicken being devoured on tv.

The Obama administration continues to regard sanctions as the cornerstone of its foreign policy toward Iran, but it fails to understand that the approach hurts only the most vulnerable of Iranians, particularly children and women of little means and even lesser voices. The hope that deteriorating living standards will lead to political uprising is dubious. With the  government’s equal capacity for violence against dissent, the status quo can be maintained indefinitely.

All said, there may be a way for the state media to avoid running “afowl” with the police. It needs to delete all scenes of chicken eating on television– save for those which are intrinsic to the plot.

This post was originally published by New America Media.

 

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Photo: Joming Lau/flickr

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47 comments

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1:15PM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

Ridiculous as usual.

4:24AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

I don't know how the world can be so cruel to some and kind to others. This was one of the most advanced nations and wanted to be self sufficient so sanctions on Iran. The medicines and other necessities of life are being squeezed shut in order to make them West's and Isreali subservient. All because she wants atomic energy BUT at the same time everyone pats the Zionists backs.

They have the nukes stock piled high and they let no one see them, inspect them and no one dares to talk about them (including Obamas, Clintons, Bushes and the new dog's tail - wanting to be the next president).

WOW --- what a bizarre world we live in ... the lives can be put at risk, the nations can be destroyed all because the Zionists, corporates and arms manufacturers want to fatten their wallets or extend their influence and power.

Chickens ads - yes / no is just a joke, it is depriving the masses from putting some bread on their tables that matter and the "dogs in the manger" are doing just that.

12:34AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012

Thanks for the article.

8:03PM PDT on Aug 5, 2012

Those SMUTTY hens have bare legs and feet! And they have sex in PUBLIC! They drive men into a rage of lust...and it's their fault for being immodest!

5:09PM PDT on Aug 5, 2012

Just ban all food pictures.. not so easy huh?

10:35PM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

Instead of censoring the eating of chicken, why not "put a chicken in every pot"?

8:48PM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

Does anyone truly care?

2:50PM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

They mite do ok if left alone !

7:31PM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

Dumb and dumber!

Let's bring more of them to America why don't we? We can rename Detroit "Little Teheran"!

And why shouldn't we impose strict sanctions? You think making sure we DON'T hurt the "most vulnerable" of Iranians is going to make their government less likely to build nuclear bombs that they no doubt are mad enough to use against their perceived "enemies", who just happen to be those countries that are making sure we don't hurt the "most vulnerable" Iranians?

Following which, the "most vulnerable" Iranians that we tried not to hurt will no doubt dance in the streets and burn American flags!

Liberal bleeding heart logic - it never ceases to amaze me!

7:13PM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

well what i know is that dancing,music,clubs,gay relationship everything is happening in Iran..btw if they had a logical reason to stop eating chicken was fine but this way,is absurd

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