The hipsters and the Iran deal


The Iran Deal was signed last week. It is supposed to be one of the signature accomplishments of the Obama administration, and I think as a non-interventionist the deal is positive for making the option of war less viable. It caused some predictable reactions, Ron Paul is for it and the neocons against it; but it has also generated some less predictable reactions like the opposition of Rand Paul, which could end any even remote possibility of winning the GOP nomination, and Jim Webb expressing his doubts, which could complicate his search for Democratic nomination. The most likely is that Senate Republicans wouldn’t be able to get enough votes to block the deal even if some Pro-Israel Democrats vote with them, although I think it would be more difficult than expected get the deal. But I think Obama has a secret weapon: the hipsters.

Iran is a country with a particular interesting film history, an emerging fashion industry and an exciting rock scene. For years the press and pundits were confused when trying to describe the hipsters as a particular political group. They had cataloged hipsters as progressives, conservatives, libertarians and everything in between. I don’t know how much the average hipster thinks of foreign policy, but I’m sure he should know more about Iran than the other Middle Eastern countries because of its celebrated culture.

But if that’s not enough last year two films by Iranian-American filmmakers hit the film festival circuit with success. A Girl Walks Alone at Night was black and white film of Iranian vampires in the desert of California; a story full of indie music, skates and love. Appropriate Behavior is a self-portrait comedy based on the life of actress and director Desiree Akhavan, the film was aptly described as a movie that Woody Allen would do if he was a bisexual Iranian girl. Both films were very different portraits of Iranian-Americans but both portrayed Iranian-Americans more as Americans than exotic foreigners, just like that it also seems that young Iranians love America.

It is true that the government of Iran is repressive, but the sanctions are worse for the civilian population than for the well-connected rulers. The Iranian youth had a lot in common with the American youth, and if it matters with the global hipster youth, if they want a revolution it is one in which they can dance, like Emma Goldman used to say. A hipster perspective on Iran sees that Muslim country as having more similarities to the West than even American allies like Saudi Arabia. How you can hate a country with such great art? If not impossible, one had only to learn to love peace. If culture can be vital to diplomacy one has to wonder why a deal like that was never reached before. Maybe this is a good start of the fall of the neocons and the rise of hipster approved realism.

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