Days like this (cloudy, cold, wet) are devastatingly depressing, so I've been trying to distract myself with happier, or at least more comforting things. I had lunch with my friend Rob at Greensprout
, followed by dessert at Alon's
and a walk around the Morningside neighborhood, around the corner from Movies Worth Seeing
. The sweet and sour "shrimp" was especially good today, as was the pear concoction I had at Alon's. Hanging out with Rob was all really great and relaxing, but the weather still made me really sleepy.
I came home to finish reading a book for my thesis before starting on some more laborious tasks. Lipstick Jihad
is probably the best of the genre of post-revolution Iranian women's life-writing that I've read. Better than Persepolis
, you ask? Yes, but only because Lipstick Jihad is more profound without being academic. Persepolis has its own strengths, and is fundementally very political. Lipstick Jihad, however, captures the experience of growing up Iranian in America so well that I can't stand it. I've had to take breaks from reading it just to let it all in and keep myself from crying. Azadeh Moaveni has really called me out on my romanticization of my "Iranian identity," which, ironically, took me years to acknowledge, let alone embrace. Her ability to write about the feeling of being racially, nationalistically, and ethnically in limbo because of one's relationship to physical space is really impressive. Along the way, she also traces the silent revolutionary back-and-forth of young Iranians who break rules and literally risk their lives to participate in public space. She captures the chilling obsession with privacy and the specter of Revolutionary Iran that haunts every second generation Iranian growing up in the U.S. Reading Lipstick Jihad makes me want to write my own autobiography, not as a revelation to the world of my deepest secrets, or even out of some narcissistic desire to draw attention to myself, but because it seems like the only appropriate response to all of the books I am reading that were written to represent people like me, and that feel like they are
about my life. It never feels good to be reduced one face among the herd, but it isn't so bad when the herd has shared pathology, desires for freedom, and responses to authority.
My favorite paragraph is the very last:
All our lives were formed against the backdrop of this history, fated to be at home nowhere--not completely in America, not completely in Iran. For us, home was not determined by latitudes and longitudes. It was spatial. This, this was the modern Iranian experience, that bound the diaspora to Iran. We were all displaced, whether internally, on the streets of Tehran, captives in living rooms, strangers in our own country, or externally, in exile, sitting in this New York bar, foreigners in a foreign country, at home together. At least for now, there would be no revolution that returned Iran to us, and we would remain adrift. But the bridge between Iran and the past, Iran and the future, between exile and homeland, existed at these tables--in kitchens, in bars, in Tehran or Manhattan--where we forgot about the world outside. Iran had been disfigured, and we carried its scraps in our pockets, and when we assembled, we laid them out, and we were home.
On a lighter and less personal note, the Arcade Fire got manhandled
Also, I am out of T.V. to watch, now that Top Chef is done, Top Design looks like it sucks, and I don't get Showtime. Suggestions?