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Becoming American and-or Iranian


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Becoming American and-or Iranian

US vs. ME

aka The United States versus the Middle East
fka Us vs. Them

What you will find here

Overview of my Biases in this Conflict

I have an American mother and an Iranian father. Growing up, fools would ask me: "Which do you like better, America or Iran?" which made me feel I had to choose between my Mom or my Dad and turned me into an equivocating gibbering fool. Not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings I can best be represented as that little alien on the right side of this website's banner, with alternating flags behind me. For me it comes down to "Which place has made you more of who you are today?" Luckily, I've pretty much resolved that issue, or at least resolved to have fun with that issue.

There are broad stereotypes about the US vs. Iran, "West" vs. "East," of which one is that the "West" is more secular and the "East" religious, but in my family things were reversed. American Mom was the religious one (Born Again, having found Jesus in Persia, and currently awaiting the Apocalypse and return of our Messiah, Amen) and Iranian Dad was the post-enlightenment technocratic imp. So whenever we were in America, the TV was often tuned into the 700 Club and I got a feeling that Americans were fundamentally religious and that Christianity especially was a doomsday oriented affair (don't get me started on that experience at Christian summer camp), while in Iran, I got the feeling that other than being excessively sexist and a bit boring, Islam was mostly harmless.

Obviously the actual religions are much more complex and interesting than this childhood impression. I'm just trying to explain why I have a bias in my perception that that the "West" is steeped in religious superstition and the "East" is more mystical and playful. Of course, recent events are shaking my confirmation bias, and making me realize that the "East" is also apocalyptically driven. But still I maintain the suspicion that the "West" and especially the US, even in the secular sectors, is fundamentally drawn to the Apocalypse Myth and many of its policies are driven by the myth.

Anyway, growing up, people would ask this 5 year old child which country WAS better, America or Iran.

It boggles the mind, this question. The diplomatic skills I developed in order to avoid answering it have spilled over into all areas of my life, making me a weak, equivocating, feeble person. At least that's my excuse. I also feel alarmed by acts of comparison, competition and hierarchy and become righteous in the face of jingoism and other forms of elitism. Or so I pretend. Actually, I've gone through this equal opportunity "bashing of each" stage, and I'm entering this much more pleasant "appreciation of each" phase now. The delights of this new phase abound.

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