Adding Epicycles



A passage in the Times this week:

Farhadi had asked two Iranian-Americans, Firouz Naderi, a former NASA scientist, and Anousheh Ansari, a tech entrepreneur and the first female space tourist, to represent him at the ceremony. (Naderi said he believed they were chosen to make the point that borders are invisible from outer space.) As Farhadi’s living room in Tehran quieted down, his surrogates in Los Angeles took the stage. He was not there, Ansari explained in a speech written by Farhadi, “out of respect for the people of my country” and the six other nations targeted by Trump’s executive order. By dividing the world into “us” and “our enemies,” the speech continued, Trump was creating “a deceitful justification for aggression and war.” Farhadi’s words were warmly applauded within the Dolby Theater, but the conservative commentariat was less receptive. “We give an Iranian filmmaker an award & he writes us a lecture on our government,” Lauren Cooley, an editor for The Washington Examiner, posted on Twitter. “How about he go lecture his own Iranian leaders?” Cooley and other such pundits may not have realized it, but they sounded like no one so much as their conservative counterparts in Iran, where Farhadi is often accused of pandering to international audiences by presenting an overly negative image of his homeland.

Cooley writes that as though she, or the larger culture she represents, were part of the deliberation process.  There’s a hollowness to this ‘we’ that evokes a deep sort of sadness if one things about it too long.