Iran, not a fan of the U.S. since ELO were in the Top Ten and bellbottoms were unironically fashionable, is combining the worst of both worlds: amateur talent competitions and state-approved propaganda. This bastardization comes in the form of the Marg bar Amrika (“Down with America”) contest, sponsored by “conservative” Iranian news agencies and television stations. As opposed to all of those progressive, independent, free-thinking media outlets that fill the Iranian landscape.
Anti-American posters have been a common sight in Tehran since the late ‘70s, even though city officials have ordered the removal of recent posters implying that President Obama’s diplomatic overture is just an excuse for the U.S. to attack Iran.
Iran has been unequivocally clear about how much it despises the U.S. and everything about us. Thanks to the burned flags, charred effigies of American political figures, explicit placards, angry demonstrations, bitchy speeches, celebration (November 4th) of the 1979 attack on the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and the ever-present “death to America” and “down with America” chants, the message hasn’t exactly been lost on anyone.
And now a grand prize of $4000 will be awarded to whomever designs the best photo, cartoon, or article linking the U.S. to “oppression and lying” and blatantly illustrating what choads we are. A secondary prize of $1200 is for documentaries, hymns and blog posts. Could interpretive dance, video installations, performance art and haiku be far behind?
Simon Cowell and the usual talent-spotters will not be involved in this judging event. Instead, according to The Daily Mail, “Hardline conservative illustrators and artists from Iran will judge submissions, including cartoonists Maziyar Bizhani and Mohammad Hosein Niroomand, both of whom have been published in the Keyhan [conservative] newspaper.”
Here are the writing prompts for aspiring propagandists keen on entering the contest:
Why do people say ‘down with America’?
Why is the US is not reliable?
The US and broken promises
The US and self-conceit
The US and human rights
The US and oppression
The US and Islamophobia
The US and Iranophobia
The US and global Zionism
The US and neo-colonialism
The US and democracy
The US dictatorship
The US and freedom of speech
The US and the Occupy / 99 per cent movement
Al Jazeera: Iranians react to U.S.-Iran meeting: