September 27, 2007

MJT: The Jezebel Interview

Strangest interview I've ever done, over at the online women’s magazine Jezebel.

janesiran092707.jpg

Welcome back to "That's So Jane's", a really bad pun we use both as an homage to Jane/Jane's Defence Weekly magazines and as an excuse to blog about something other than celebrities and drinking and fucking and all our stupid little affluent society problems. There's a whole Third World out there! And really, don't take a hot dictator's word for it: They're trying to blow us up. In this edition Anonymous Lobbyist talks to Michael Totten, an independent journalist and foreign-affairs expert whose idea of a great vacation spot is Libya. (Though the wife is nagging him to indulge her this year and go to North Korea.) In other words, he's crazy! This week the two take on A-jad's hotness versus Blackwater mercenaries' hotness, Afghanistan's drug scene, and just when the fuck we're going to be getting some OIL out of this grand Ponzi scheme to liberate Iraq.

Q: So, first things first: Is there drinking in Iran? Or do they just skip right over that part of the Winehouse catalog and go straight for the H?

A: Oh, they totally drink in Iran. Christopher Hitchens was there a few years ago and he wrote about in it Vanity Fair. He was like, everyone except some dorky mullah gave me a glass or a shot when I went to their house. Porn and heroin are the big new things, though, you're right. It's better than Seattle.

Q: Since lots of people in the Western world are calling abstinence the new promiscuity, does that make the hijab the new miniskirt? In all the pictures we see on the TV of Iran, it seems to be pretty popular with the women there.

A: The hijab is the new bikini, actually. Burkhas are the new miniskirts. But women who show too much ankle in Iran get arrested and have their feet plunged into buckets of cockroaches, like on Fear Factor or something. It's totally gross over there.

Q: Okay, so let's cut to the chase: Ahmadinejad: hot dictator? Or hottest dictator?

A: Dude needs a shave and a haircut. And a few more inches, if you know what I mean. (He's short.) And he's not really a dictator. Ayatollah Khamenei is the real dictator and he's, like, old. He's even older than Bob Dole. None of those guys are hot. All the hot ones get strung up and tortured, especially the women who don't like the new miniskirts. Actually, Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards don't have as much power and influence as they used to. There's this unspoken agreement between the people and the government: you pretend to arrest us, as we'll pretend to behave. Again, it's like Seattle, only with occasional public hangings.
Read the whole thing.

For entertainment purposes only.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at September 27, 2007 12:29 PM
Comments

F-U-N-N-Y
Of course A'jad looks like he's been hitting the hash pretty hard lately. I haven't seen eyes straining that hard to stay open since my bother used to go to Pink Floyd concerts back in the day. After he finishes visiting all the petty dictators in Latin America they need to check their fridges.lol

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at September 27, 2007 01:22 PM

"Again, it's like Seattle, only with occasional public hangings."

That's hilarious. I mean, seriously.

Posted by: steve miller at September 27, 2007 01:46 PM

The funniest thing about that article is that you were only serious.

Posted by: Paul MacPhail at September 27, 2007 03:28 PM

Someone had some fun. Too bad we don't get to see that side of you much here. I know, this is a serious site. You have some cutting wit that plays well, though.

Posted by: allan at September 27, 2007 04:20 PM

Here's a piece on Iraqi oil corruption that may help a little on understanding how things work there.

Iraqi oil production

Posted by: allan at September 27, 2007 04:34 PM

The humor clashed sort of awkwardly with the various messages everyone was trying to drive home. They were trying to persist with "Ahmad is hot", I suppose for shock and you were pushing on "Ahmad is a d*ck." Which, of course, is true, but both of them came off... odd.

Which is interesting, because satire blends humor and messages all the time. Why do some satires fail and others succeed?

I think maybe it had to do with parts of it trying to be casual and deliberately shallow and other parts trying not to. It's not easy to blend, is it...

Posted by: glasnost at September 27, 2007 05:59 PM

Maybe it's just harder to do with an interview than with a single director. I liked their voice better in this than in the question-asking turn with you.

http://jezebel.com/gossip/the-morning-after/world-goes-crazy-for-crazy-iranian-presidents-crazyass-speech-303326.php

Did you find doing this irritating, or what?

Posted by: glasnost` at September 27, 2007 06:01 PM

Glasnost: Did you find doing this irritating, or what?

Not at all, it was fun. Nobody paid me to do it, so I wouldn't have if I thought it was irritating.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 27, 2007 06:09 PM

Micheal,

One question. How long did it take to stop laughing before and after giving your answers?lol

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at September 27, 2007 06:49 PM

Looks like we may be the only ones laughing at the moment. Apparently things are getting a teensy bit tense in Iran.

Here is an interesting analysis.

Posted by: Dogwood at September 27, 2007 07:12 PM

Again, it's like Seattle, only with occasional public hangings

LOL. Great interview.

Of course, I'm one of those people who gets their news from the internet and Jon Stewart. Fake news rules. Opinion pieces don't have to be absolutely accurate anyway, and on fake news, you can be funny.

When you're writing an opinion piece for, say, the New York Times, you can't be funny. Contrast Jezebel with Maureen Dowd.

Posted by: mary at September 27, 2007 08:49 PM

I thought the public hangings were only for sexual offences of one kind or another.

The disclaimer indicates that the answers really were yours. Too bad you don't do more humor, it really was great.

Tanks.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at September 28, 2007 12:20 AM

Tom, yes the answers really were mine.

I don't know, exactly, which crimes can get you hanged in Iran and which ones bring on some other harsh punishment.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 28, 2007 01:12 AM

Sorry, missing the humour. Must be a generational thing, or perhaps one part of my brain isn't working properly.

Posted by: Ron Snyder at September 28, 2007 03:38 AM

The third comment is priceless:

What the heck did I just read? and can all news be written in this format?

Posted by: Undertoad at September 28, 2007 06:03 AM

MJT: All the hot ones get strung up and tortured, especially the women who don't like the new miniskirts.

Wow, that's some pretty nasty humor. Even for Edgar.

Posted by: Edgar at September 28, 2007 06:22 AM

Wow, that's some pretty nasty humor. Even for Edgar.

If its any consolation, rumor has it the condemned are given a choice between a final meal or a final round of Twister.

Posted by: Dogwood at September 28, 2007 07:15 AM

Well, a final round with me is worse than death.

Posted by: Edgar at September 28, 2007 07:45 AM

Dogwood,
Thanks for the link. Definitely adds another element to think about.

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at September 28, 2007 08:12 AM

That was um, different. Funny though. Good to see your sense of humor.

Posted by: someguy at September 28, 2007 08:43 AM

embedded in Iraq, yet you find time to watch The Hills...you're Superman.

Posted by: defneocon1 at September 28, 2007 09:56 AM

From the International Herald Tribune:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has extended an invitation to U.S. President George W. Bush to speak at an Iranian university if the American leader ever traveled to the Islamic Republic, state-run television reported Friday.

Mahmoud might want to file this under "be careful what you wish for."

He might get a visit from Bush, but it probably won't be in the manner or style he would like.

Posted by: Dogwood at September 28, 2007 10:55 AM

Dogwood,
Would that possible visit involve a 2,000 lb. enema?

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at September 28, 2007 10:58 AM

Michael,
It's sordove funny but mainly silly and I think at best is a neutral result... more than likely reduces your credibility somewhat... especially ammo for those would like to....
Just my take.
Mike

Posted by: Mike Nargizian at September 28, 2007 11:36 AM

Ummm..
So when Generals, Politicians, and Presidential candidates go on The Daily Show or Letterman and joke around it ruins their credibility?
Come on!

Well done MJT, Truthy-satire is the new black!

Posted by: lindsey at September 28, 2007 11:58 AM

I doesn't ruin anyone's credibility. But personally I think it's in bad taste.

There was a comedian in England that got booed off the stage recently for cracking a joke about a kid that got murdered in the area. I don't think he's a bad person, but that was out of line.

Joking about Iranian girls getting tortured and hanged is pretty tasteless, too.

Posted by: Edgar at September 28, 2007 12:15 PM

Kevin,

Yeah, I heard those 2,000 pounders really clean out the ol'system, not that I would ever want to experience it firsthand, of course.

Posted by: Dogwood at September 28, 2007 12:45 PM

(2) 500#ers in Musayib - RIP Abu Osama al Tunisi & associates.

Posted by: Tom in South Texas at September 28, 2007 12:55 PM

Michael, that was wonderful! As a matter of principle, I think they should have paid you -- but then, I think everybody should be paying you. Still, I'm glad you at least got to have fun.

Posted by: wj at September 28, 2007 04:26 PM

Very very funny Michael thank you doing it and sharing it, a little comic relief without betraying the truth once in a while really hits the spot.

Posted by: KnightHawk at September 28, 2007 08:11 PM

Well done. Too bad you didn't have a chance to explain that what Islam officially finds really hot is prepubescent girls, which is why the legal age of marriage in Iran is 9 and why the father of the Iranian Islamic revolution, Grand Ayatollah Kohmeini, took a 10 year old as a wife.

You could have then followed that up by asking their opinion on why the feminist movement in the United States is motivated to vehemently protest such outrages as a private all-male golf club in Georgia but is silent about the state-sanctioned treatment of women in such Islamic paradises as Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

But I guess that sort of stuff wouldn't have been in the spirit of the interview.

Posted by: Michael Smith at September 29, 2007 07:05 AM

funny garbage......NEXT!!!

Posted by: John at September 29, 2007 10:32 AM

Nice diversionary article from American's mounting losses in Iraq, more dead troops today.

Posted by: Liberal_Crusher at September 29, 2007 12:41 PM

...more dead troops today.

That's why its called war. Tragic, unfortunate, but sometimes absolutely necessary.

For those interested in the latest Afghan and Pakastani developments, here is an interesting article .

If true, it appears the Jihadis are beginning to cannibalize each other. Here's a snippet:

In addition, the leader of the Pakistani jihadist groups, Maulana Fazlur Rahman, was notified a few months ago that he was on a Dead Pool style list of people that al Qaeda wanted assassinated. Rahman came to our attention in captured Iraqi documents as the go between for Saddam and the Taliban arranging military and security agreements between the two in 1999.

The entire article is worth a read, it also offers some details on the German terrorists arrested recently.

Posted by: Dogwood at September 29, 2007 12:52 PM

Liberal Crusher: Nice diversionary article from American's mounting losses in Iraq

Yeah, that's why Jezebel interviewed me. They're Bush shills.

(eyeroll)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 29, 2007 12:53 PM

Iran's alliances with Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba cement their cred with the leftists in the USA. Plain and simple. Their hope is that the left will be able to stop the rest of the nation from putting an end to Mullah, Inc.
Time to crank up the domestic oil production...

Posted by: John at September 29, 2007 04:29 PM

Liberal_Crusher, no need to be obtuse about your desires for America to be humbled... tell us how you really feel!

Posted by: Tom at September 29, 2007 05:12 PM

Liberal Crusher:"Nice diversionary article from American's mounting losses in Iraq, more dead troops today."
Nice diversionary article from American's mounting losses in America, more dead brain cells from tail-gate parties.

sheesh

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at September 29, 2007 06:23 PM

Michael Smith:

You could have then followed that up by asking their opinion on why the feminist movement in the United States is motivated to vehemently protest such outrages as a private all-male golf club in Georgia but is silent about the state-sanctioned treatment of women in such Islamic paradises as Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Man, you crack me up, Michael. Where did that non-sequitur come from? Some chick beat you at golf today or something? Do you know any real, live feminists? Are you accustomed to having them seek your guidance as to where they should focus their energies? Hell, do you spend any time with actual women? A lot of the ones I know would have just laughed in your face.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at September 29, 2007 06:27 PM

MJT, please tell us that you did this interview for the money -- and that the money was good.

Posted by: Solomon2 at September 29, 2007 06:37 PM

Everyone with half a brain knew this war was pointless from the start. Better that we didn't lose a single soldier and kept Saddam in his box.

Posted by: Liberal_Crusher at September 30, 2007 03:35 PM

Everybody knows "liberals" are brain dead zombies.
Better to have destroyed Saddam and to attack the mullahs than to let the leftinistra wingnuts have any say. Deep down, everyone knows that.

Posted by: Regular Person at September 30, 2007 03:43 PM

Regular Person:

I assume you are beating the path down straight to the US Army recruitment office? After all, you have to walk the talk to show up the leftists right?

Posted by: Liberal_Crusher at September 30, 2007 06:19 PM

Both of you, knock it off or I'm kicking you out.

There's a house style for comments on this site, and it doesn't include acting like 12-year olds.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at September 30, 2007 06:55 PM

Creamy Goodness:

Man, you crack me up, Michael. Where did that non-sequitur come from? Some chick beat you at golf today or something? Do you know any real, live feminists? Are you accustomed to having them seek your guidance as to where they should focus their energies? Hell, do you spend any time with actual women? A lot of the ones I know would have just laughed in your face.

Touched a nerve, did I?

I like the way you accuse me of the fallacy of non-sequitur -- and then immediately resort to sarcasm, ad hominem, insult and miscellaneous irrelevancies instead of valid argument. That takes gall. Or something.

Since you evidently agree that a private, all-male golf club is a worthy target of feminist protest while state-sanctioned treatment such as honor killings, stoning for adultery, restrictions on public travel, forced marriages at the age of 10 and general second-class status is not -- and since you and “a lot of the actual women that you know” consider an objection to protesting the former while giving a pass to the latter to be cause for laughter -- I can only conclude that an odd sense of humor prevails in your crowd.

Anyway, thank you for clarifying your position.

Posted by: Michael Smith at October 1, 2007 06:20 AM

Michael Smith,

Yup, I resorted to "sarcasm, ad hominem, insult and miscellaneous irrelevancies"... because your post was a frickin' howler! Feminists, silent about Saudia Arabia? Hahaha! Awesome.

I can only conclude that an odd sense of humor prevails in your crowd.

I can only conclude that you are incapable of searching the web.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at October 1, 2007 09:07 AM

Creamy Goodness wrote:

Yup, I resorted to "sarcasm, ad hominem, insult and miscellaneous irrelevancies"... because your post was a frickin' howler! Feminists, silent about Saudia Arabia? Hahaha! Awesome.

You really must learn to control your emotions. Otherwise, you provide the male chauvinist considerable ammunition in his efforts to paint women as emotionally unstable.

I can only conclude that you are incapable of searching the web.

Oh, I see that you are correct, they aren't "silent" about Saudi Arabia's treatment of women. At one of your links I found an article urging the Saudis to grant women the right to drive. Now that's telling them!

I do not, however, see any condemnation of Islam's systematic abuse of women and their relegation to second class status in Islamic society.

And if I have to search the web to find some feminist statements of opposition to the lack of driving rights in Saudi Arabia, but can see them marching as pickets in an attempt to disrupt the Masters Golf Tournament, well that tells me something.

When I see them marching in mass protest against, for instance, allowing a figurehead of a viciously misogynistic religion to speak at an American university, I'll reconsider my opinion of feminists. But I’m not holding my breath.

Posted by: Michael Smith at October 1, 2007 10:29 AM

Michael Smith: "...I do not, however, see any condemnation of Islam's systematic abuse of women and their relegation to second class status in Islamic society."

Did you write that because you like women -- or just because you dislike Muslims?

The irony is that I suspect you are not especially familiar with either group in real life.

Posted by: Microraptor at October 1, 2007 10:38 AM

You really must learn to control your emotions. Otherwise, you provide the male chauvinist considerable ammunition in his efforts to paint women as emotionally unstable.

I'm a dude, fool.

I do not, however, see any condemnation of Islam's systematic abuse of women and their relegation to second class status in Islamic society.

Pff. You're just being a dope on purpose. Not only will you not search the web, you won't even read the pages I link to.

For everyone else who's reading: On the three pages I linked to are links to articles about Sharia, honor killings, female genital mutilation, and plenty more. Pick an article at random, and before long you'll run across quotes like this one, from NOW Executive Vice President Karen Johnson:

"We need an end to gender apartheid in Saudi Arabia."

This stuff is only hard to find when you pretend that it doesn't exist.

Posted by: Creamy Goodness at October 1, 2007 12:37 PM

Wow - all that venom (on both sides) because you showed what a great sense of humor you had? I thought it was hilarious, Michael. Bet most of the troops liked it, too - one of the best things about the military is the way the personnel can laugh (even at themselves) when times are tough.

Posted by: Magpie at October 1, 2007 06:40 PM

"Feminists, silent about Saudia Arabia? Hahaha! Awesome."

In general, it is true that one sees far less protest from the left about Saudi Arabia than about, say, Bush or Israel. microraptor exemplifies this perfectly.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at October 1, 2007 10:32 PM

Michael, you have a terrific sense of the absurd. Thanks for a good laugh!

Posted by: Maggie45 at October 2, 2007 11:38 AM

G Rosen: "...In general, it is true that one sees far less protest from the left about Saudi Arabia than about, say, Bush or Israel. microraptor exemplifies this perfectly."

Hah!

I think Saudi Arabia and the Saud mafia that runs it is a corrupt and retarded excuse for a society. One which has prostituted it's vast natural resources in exchange for meaningless luxuries and the pimp-like protection of the US Military.

It is a "nation" (ho ho) completely bereft of anything approaching meaningful history or culture, and which should - IMHO -be utterly subordinate the obvious dominant regional power - the natural leader in the Persian Gulf - which is, of course, Iran, Mr Rosen.

Left wing I most certainly am not.

Posted by: Microraptor at October 6, 2007 06:15 AM

'raptor -

OK, now point me to all the other places where you have made these condemnations of SA and then show me how they are far more than your attacks on Israel and America. Actually, though, it doesn't really matter because you then go sucking up to another regime of thugs in Iran. Anyone will do for you, as long as they have murder in their heart for the Jews. And frankly, I don't give one single goddamn flying fuck how many Holocaust victims or survivors you claim in your ancestry, even if by some unfathomably bizarre twist of fate or coincidence it actually turned out to be true.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at October 8, 2007 10:01 PM
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