Argo, the Shah of Iran, & “West Struckedness”

Last weekend my wife and I went to the movies – a rare occasion for us. We were both coming of age in 1979 when the Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy and held their U.S. hostages for 444 days. The movie was great and I highly recommend it. But, what grabbed my attention was the then Shah of Iran’s lifestyle. In the first few minutes of the film it was mentioned that the Shah had his lunches flown in from Paris on the Concorde. And, the Shah could also throw a party. His formal coronation in 1967 and the 1971 fete for the 2,500 anniversary of the Peacock throne were over-the-top affairs. The Shah and his wife were heavily into bling long before the word became part of our lexicon. He drove fancy cars, a Lamborghini that some how ended up in the hands of actor Nicolas Cage, and kept a seal in the palace fountain.

No doubt this type of behavior raised more than a few eyebrows in this Muslim nation. Businessmen, the clergy, and members of the middle class were offended by the Shah and the moneyed elite who adopted western style attire, drank intoxicating beverages, and consorted (openly!) with members of the opposite sex. One Iranian intellectual labeled this love of all things western as “West Struckedness”. Another writer described all those who emulated western lifestyles as “diseased”.

There may be at least a kernel of truth in such accusations. Apparently our love of Shiny Objects knows no cultural or religious boundaries. Read my book, Shiny Objects, for other examples of “creeping materialism”.

Source: The Contemporary History: Iranian revolution,, accessed on 10-23-2012.

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3 Responses to Argo, the Shah of Iran, & “West Struckedness”

  1. Eeva-Liina says:

    This post made me think about Gaddafi, and the attires he used to wear. The preference for fancy bling certainly has no boundaries. One thing that I do think that differs is the tendency and willingness to openly boast with your wealth. For example in Finland it is more common to rather hide your wealth than openly show it.

    had a very amusing slide show of Gaddafi’s wardrobe.

  2. Eeva-Liina says:

    Now that was Time that has the amusing slide show.

  3. Connor Yearsley says:

    I actually saw “Argo” the other night and really enjoyed it. At first I was reluctant to see it because I was afraid it would be more heavy going than I was in the mood for at the time, but I was surprised that there were actually humorous moments in it. The thing that had the biggest impact on me was how the movie portrayed the Iranians. It made me wonder why anyone would’ve have voluntarily been there. I think it’s interesting that calling the U.S. “The Great Satan” was their definition of diplomacy.

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