Reading the news today, it appears that I was correct in my Thursday night prediction that Michael Jackson's death would remove post-election tensions in Iran from the world's attention. I'm not the only one with this theory, of course: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's favorite song on facebook has been "Thriller" since Friday, and he just posted some photos of himself practicing his moonwalk (yes, I'm facebook friends with an international pariah. Honestly, folks, it's just facebook, it's not like it matters.)
Now that no one cares, however, I'd like to take some time to educate the youth of our country, or at least readers of this blog under the age of 80, about just what happened in Iran:
1) In 2005, Ahmadinejad won Iran's "better beard" contest with whopping 62% of the vote over Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, later cleverly revealing it to actually be a Presidential Election. No one questioned the election's outcome because, as should be clear from the pictures below, Rafsanjani probably only got a few sympathy votes.
That Mahmoud has not been on the cover of GQ is hard evidence of a Western conspiracy.
Rafsanjani wishing he looked 32% of the way to cool.
2) During four years as president, Ahmadinejad won international fame for his dashing good looks and offensive comments, both key components of his reelection strategy, but managed to tank the Iranian economy so badly people had to stand in line for gas longer than it would take them to dig in their own backyards for oil if the government allowed it. A vocal minority of Iranians were very upset.
In a more troubling development for his campaign, an exiled dissident released the following defamatory statement:
"If you squint a little, he looks kinda like President Bush in this pic."
3) In 2009, Mir Hussein Mousavi made it through the Guardian Council candidate-vetting process to run against Ahmadinejad.
The Ahmadinejad campaign determined to take Mousavi seriously as a threat because unlike Rafsanjani, he actually had a beard.
4) Though poised to win the election fairly, the Ahmadinejad campaign appears to have elected to follow in the footsteps of the campaigns of other dashing political leaders like John F. Kennedy and finesse the totals a little...Kennedy, though, was smart enough to have dead people vote for him in Chicago, a party bastion where being considered dead has never been a bar to voting, rather than say, Utah, where a son voting for a Democratic candidate may be considered dead to his parents and friends.
Ahmadinejad's fixers were sloppier. The moral of this story, actually, is that election-riggers really ought to outsource to more experienced Western countries when it counts.
5) On election night, vote totals were released as polls closed. Poll workers who claimed to just be "really fast counters" felt hurt by subsequent accusations that counting millions of ballots should take at least a few hours. "Tricky Dick" Ahmadinejad was promptly announced the winner with 63% of the vote...distributed evenly across Iran's 30 provinces. The number of votes he received in the reform-oriented province of Hamedan, for example, was four times higher than in 2005, something akin to anti-Semitic American politician Pat Buchanan taking four times more votes in Jewish-retiree-heavy Palm Beach County than the rest of Florida in a purely hypothetical 2000 contest in our very own United States. In other, more conservative areas, his performance did not improve, probably as a result of poor design in the autofill program used to create the election re--er, I mean, probably because of complex political things we just don't understand.
6) Mousavi supporters questioned election results and were told by Iran's Supreme Leader, "I have an unworthy life, a defective body and little honour, which was given to me by you. I will put all of these on the palm of my hand and spend them on the path of the revolution and Islam." This comment, while doing little to explain irregularities in places like Hamedan, did inspire thousands of revolutionary guards to beat and occasionally shoot anyone wearing the protesters' green, including several members of Iran's minority leprechaun community.
7) The BBC tried to take over Iran.
8) President Ahmadinejad stepped up to the challenge by having more Iranians beaten.
9) Michael Jackson died.
10) The world mourned.
So, in conclusion, everything important is pretty much over and pretty much has been since 1982.
It still probably isn't a good idea to buy Ayatollah Khamenei a pet monkey, though.
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