Under the White Flag

Ahmadinejad: Good, Bad, and Ugly

September 24, 2011

He makes a similar sort of queasy sense regarding nuclear weapons. Back when the US invaded Iraq under the pretense that they possessed weapons of mass destruction, we never heard our supposedly truth-seeking Fourth Estate ask our politicians a howlingly obvious question: Are we accusing Iraq of having any kind of weapons that we don’t already have? And if not, doesn’t that undermine the charade that we have the moral authority to invade them? Likewise, when continually pressed, quizzed, inspected, and sanctioned over Iran’s nuclear program, Ahmadinejad points out that America has thousands of nuclear weapons and has already used a couple of them to blast cities to dust. It’s commonly believed, although not publicly admitted, that Israel sits on nukes, too, so at the moment, who’s a more legitimate danger to whom?

When it comes to civil liberties, Ahmadinejad cuts a bit less of a sympathetic figure.

Depending on how his Farsi gets parsed, his infamous comments at Columbia University in 2007 about how “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country” may have been, pardon the expression, overblown. If they didn’t have any homos, they wouldn’t be executing them, now, would they? He may have simply meant that Iran doesn’t have randy hordes of mincing, screaming, leaping pink gazelles clogging the streets as we do here in America. It’s also little known that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the ersatz George Washington of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, openly sanctioned sex-change operations for men who desire sex with men, in which case they become women and are therefore no longer, you know, homosexuals. Iran appears to be slightly—confused?—regarding sexual matters. In August 2009, Iranian cleric and alleged Ahmadinejad cohort Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi reportedly told a crowd he approved of prison rape unless “the prisoner is aroused and enjoys the rape.”

Ahmadinejad also appears to wield the hairy hand of a totalitarian. His henchmen infamously cracked protesters’ skulls in the streets following his highly contested 2009 reelection, and they also crushed copycat demonstrators emulating the Arab Spring earlier this year. Iran is also said to censor more websites than every other country on Earth besides China. Jazz music has also been banned from Iran’s state-sponsored radio airwaves for decades, but we don’t like jazz music, so we’re not complaining.

We’ve covered the good and bad. Now comes the ugly.

Whether Ahmadinejad’s opinions are ugly is up for debate. Whether his face is ugly is not to be questioned—it is. Omar Sharif he ain’t. “Dashing” is not the word to describe him. His is an unfortunate face rimmed by unfortunate hair and an unfortunate beard. It looks like the fleas of a thousand camels infested his face. He looks like one of those coconuts carved to resemble a human. He resembles the missing twin jihadist brother of Maynard G. Krebs. He looks like Dracula and the Wolfman had a baby that was delivered by a pterodactyl rather than a stork. Although it once seemed inconceivable, his part of the globe may have belched up a visage even uncomelier than Yasser Arafat’s. And don’t even get us started on his wife—her mug is a compelling argument for a full-faced Darth Vader burqa. This may seem petty, but he has grievously offended our eyes. After all, standards are standards. We would prefer that our villains be handsomer than this.

 

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