I used to say, subsequent to that grainy adult video debut of LA County’s most hyper-exposed drunk driver, that the only useful thing Paris Hilton had ever done in life is prove that it’s impossible to actually die from embarassment.
I’m no longer quite so sure:
Iran’s parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of a bill that could lead to the death penalty for persons convicted of working in the production of pornographic movies.
With a 148-5 vote in favor and four abstentions, lawmakers present at the Wednesday session of the 290-seat parliament approved that “producers of pornographic works and main elements in their production are considered corrupter of the world and could be sentenced to punishment as corrupter of the world…”
It is widely believed that the drafting of the bill came about as a reaction to a scandal last year, when a private videotape, apparently belonging to Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi and allegedly showing her having intercourse with a man, became available across Iran.
The videotape was leaked to the Internet and released on a black market DVD, becoming a full-blown Iranian sex tape scandal. Ebrahimi later came under an official investigation, which is still ongoing. She faces fines, whip lashing or worse for her violation of Iran’s morality laws.
Ebrahimi’s DVD (that Der Spiegel link may not be entirely safe for work) was apparenly left on her fiance’s laptop after he sold it. It caused quite a stir in the Islamic Republic when it first came out, with over 100,000 copies quickly sold in street-side stalls and bazaars.
This sort of “watching consenting adults do that consenting adult” thing is nothing like my idea of fun – I’ve always liked participatory sports more than spectating – but neither do I particularly care to see people lose their heads over it, nor hang from construction cranes, nor God-forbid get half-buried in a hole and stoned to death.
It seems to me that the Majlis’ mortal majority points out the deeply hidden secret of such repressive theocracies: The terrifying realization that someone, somewhere, might actually be having fun.
When President Bush points out – to much derision – that the terrorists “hate us because of our freedoms,” this is exactly what he’s talking about – or it is at least the logical extension. The dreaded “Westoxification” that drives the jihadis into such spittle-flecked frenzies of come-along-with-me-infidel self-murder is all wrapped very tightly around notions of what women ought, and ought not be allowed to do, given their own choice. Give them the right to walk about with their hair uncovered, and in time one of them will choose to descend down that slippery slope of doing the dirty with someone who hasn’t got a chattel claim on her.
And then where would we be?
There are drearily sad elements of our culture that we tolerate because we would not limit in the slightest the rights of the majority by circumscribing the excesses of even the most decadent and marginal among us. Iran’s parliament wants to go the other way.
It’s the 21st century, and the mullahs are trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. I almost feel sorry for them. After all…
Democracy. Whiskey. Sexy.