Pargol Hashemnia

November 15, 2009

The Life of Auxientius Patrucci

Filed under: Uncategorized — pargol444 @ 5:41 pm

"Auxientius Patrucci"

A stranger may not take more than a fleeting look at me-a quick glimpse and I appear to be an average black man. Look closer… the reality is that I am very different. I have an unconventional sexual preference and an exceptional gift for dancing the polka with spectacular ease and grace. Inside, I am in turmoil, relentlessly haunted by never-ending questions concerning my mission to answer the ultimate question: the purpose of life itself, for me and for my creator. Alas, success seems unobtainable due to the abstract nature of my creator. I am Auxientius Patrucci.

In a world of uncertainty, perhaps it is best to close my eyes and carry on blindly with my life without questioning my being or the purpose of my existence.

It was only when I opened my eyes into this dark world that I became fully aware of my isolation, and realized that I had only one person to depend on, my creator, “Pargol.” Sadly, I will never see nor meet her in person. Although I cannot see her face, I know she is there in the great distance as I can hear her voice. She is the one who brought me into this world, the one who controls every second of my life. However, it took me time to become conscious of my dependency on her, and my inability to survive without her existence. A while after I came into being, I realized that when she was there, I was there, and in her absence, there was nothing but silence and darkness.

It was Pargol’s decision to bring me into this world as a boy with an unconventional sexual preference. From the first breath I took, I was inherently different from the masses, having to fight harder than most in order to be accepted by others. Social isolation has added to the inner turmoil I face. Nevertheless, my sexual preference has been a factor in my flair for fashion, which I employ to complement my pale brown eyes, thick black eyelashes, plump red lips, slender nose, shiny bald head, and skin as black as night. I am fascinated that in spite of being only a month old, I appear to be a young adult who weighs 160 pounds and stand at 1.80 meters. My creator named me Auxientius Patrucci, which has absolutely no meaning to me.

My home is a place with a thousand lights just like the universe. It is called Las Vegas. To me it is still a dark place I yet need to discover. My omnipotent creator has bestowed upon me the talent of dancing the Polka impeccably. Although I constantly entertain and amuse others with my talent, I cannot help but feel like that is not my true mission. I dance on a daily basis with my partner Mortheus, and people constantly commend me for my gift. Mortheus and I perform every night at the Bellagio, and the pay is more than adequate. My colorful costume is conspicuous and demands attention, making me feel naked and vulnerable. I am far from comfortable in it, but it is what Pargol wants me to wear. 

Pargol encourages me to develop my cultural awareness by attending plays and frequenting museums and libraries. She insists that I learn new languages, travel the world and visit places of historical significance. She is concerned about my solitude and pushes me to be less inhibited and actually date other like-minded boys, even Mortheus, whom I abhor. 

In spite of the adventurous life I appear to possess, I often feel lost and lonely. Internally, I deliberate over the purpose of my existence. I had always thought Pargol had an answer to my questions. However, one day, when I bombarded her with my nagging demands, I realized that she did not have any answers for me, just as she did not know the reasons for her own being. It seemed like her relationship with her own creator mirrored my relationship with her: just as Pargol cannot get answers from her creator, I cannot get answers from mine. We are both blind creatures stumbling in the dark; tormented by existential questions that remain unanswered by the entity that created us.

The more I think about my life and witness the harsh realities of the world, and the seemingly pointless suffering which we endure, the more strongly I believe I was created merely as a pawn in an elaborate game, a mere puppet created for Pargol’s amusement. I am a means of escape from the dark shadows of her reality whereby she too is confronted by equivalent issues. Without her I would not exist, yet every so often I cannot help but hate her for creating me. I was never given the choice to come into this world, and for that I am enraged. I am a slave to her every whim and desire. Perhaps she feels the same way about her own existence. I have limited knowledge of Pargol and her creator, yet I am certain that her world is the alleged “real world,” conversely, I am imprisoned in a virtual life. Only I can know what it feels like to be trapped in a fish bowl for eternity.

I have spoken to authorities from all faiths, but it seems to me that religion is a way for us to escape from the questions that plague us rather than answer them. I thought I would get answers from a field more governed by logic and reason than by faith, so I turned to philosophy. I immersed myself in philosophical discussions with others and read a great deal of Nietzsche’s work, as well as the writings of Sartre and Schopenhauer, among others. Alas, the further I engage myself with the many nihilistic postulations, the further the shackles of torment tighten grip on me. It gives substance to my suspicions that life is meaningless and without purpose, and that people are merely carrying on with their lives, void of any understanding of the reason behind their being.

By abandoning the chaos, confusion and ignorance that has confronted me in my plight, I have finally come up with my own conclusion: in a world of uncertainty, it is best to close my eyes and carry on blindly with my life without questioning my being or the purpose of my existence. Perhaps it is best to ignore my mission. As such, I will continue my life as a full time polka dancer for the sake of my creator’s amusement and pleasure.

Yes, I am an avatar, forever doomed to misery…

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November 14, 2009

“The Clash of Ignorance” vs. “The Clash of Civilizations”

Filed under: Uncategorized — pargol444 @ 11:49 am

In “The Clash of Ignorance,” Edward W. Said argues against the popular designation of two distinct entities in current global politics, distinguished as ‘Islam’ and the ‘West.’ The author makes reference to Samuel Huntington’s 1993 article “The Clash of Civilizations,” in which Huntington postulates that the primary cause of conflict in future world politics will occur chiefly between nations and factions of civilizations. Hence, the root of conflicts will be cultural. In his article, Huntington defines two key sources of future conflict: ‘Islam’ and the ‘West.’ Throughout “The Clash of Ignorance,” Said fervently refutes both the classification and the clarity of these hypothesized groups.

Firstly, Said contends Huntington’s utilization of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 as a means of validating the existence of the separate and opposing entities illustrated in “The Clash of Civilizations.” In “The Clash of Ignorance,” Said dismisses Huntington’s exemplification of September 11th as an adequate means of certifying a clear distinction, asserting that the terrorists involved in the attack indicate only a miniscule minority, thus cannot be used as an acceptable representation of Islam. Furthermore, Said reinforces this argument by alluding to the stance put forward by the late Eqbal Ahmad. Ahmad, a practicing Muslim, who maintained that Islamic extremists ought not to be viewed as adequate representations of Muslim people but rather as an extremely distorted facet of the religion.

Moreover, Said contests the support that the Economist granted to Huntington’s standpoint. He opposes their claim that Muslims worldwide are “convinced of their superiority” by questioning the adequacy, or even the possibility, of their ability to research a sufficient sample of the billion plus global population of Muslims. In addition, Said contests the Italian Prime Minister’s, Silvio Berlusconi’s, assertion of “Islam’s inability to be a part of modernity.” Said states that Berlusconi’s claim is rendered invalid by tangible evidence to the contrary, referring to the various ‘western’ technologies that the September 11th attackers utilized and to the perceptible fact that some Muslims adopt Western style clothing.

In “The Clash of Ignorance,” Said endeavors to emphasize the lack of evidence required to confirm a clear-cut divide between ‘Islam’ and the ‘West’ by briefly referring to the numerous plural societies where people from both ‘sides’ live. In addition, he draws attention to the persistence of ‘Anti-Islamic’ perspectives in the ‘West’ and indicates police reports as evidence of the hate speech and actions against Muslims living in Western civilizations. Said contends that this ‘Anti-Islamic’ standpoint, which first manifested itself in 7th century Europe when the Arab-Islamic conquest instigated the destruction of the Christian-Roman Empire and the unity of Europe, has been reignited. However, he maintains that numerous aspects emphasizing the positive relations established in the past are wrongly overlooked; for example, the humanism, science, philosophy and sociology of Islam, which the West gladly embraced. Throughout his article, Said, revisits this notion of a failure to highlight the intricacies of a shared past and present  and speculates that it is easier for people to focus on the vast differences and adopt a ‘them’ and ‘us’ approach rather than attempting to acknowledge or accept the more vague similarities. Said draws further attention to this failure in acknowledging similarities when he criticizes the lack of parallels drawn between the atrocity of September 11th, which was made in the name of Islam, with similar, albeit lesser, atrocities which have been committed in the name of western religions, using examples such as the Branch Davidians and the adherents of the Reverend Jim Jones. In addition, Said attacks the powerful idioms used in magazines and newspapers arguing that the majority of articles fail to acknowledge the complex histories involved and that they fuel a resentful infatuation of being a member of the ’West.’

In drawing evidence from a Muslim source, Said substantiates his claim that Islamic extremists misrepresent Islam. This is effective in disputing the ways that Huntington and others utilized the actions of Islamic extremists to reinforce the alleged gulf between ‘Islam’ and the ‘West.’ Furthermore, Said successfully demonstrates some difficulties in separating ‘Islam’ and the ‘West’ by drawing attention to tangible evidence of integration between the two, such as the existence of plural societies whereby Muslims and Westerners co-exist, in addition to the detail of some Muslims adopting Western clothing and that of extremists accessing and using modern western technology. Finally, Said further engages his readers by avoiding an overt use of inaccessible terminology.

Nevertheless, the article is periodically tainted by Said making peripheral subjective statements which do not serve to strengthen his argument. For example, when discussing Huntington’s 1996 book, ‘The Roots of Muslim Rage,’ it appears that Said criticizes the author on a personal level when he states: “all he did…was confuse himself and demonstrate what a clumsy writer and inelegant thinker he was.”

Overall, the article as a whole is largely persuasive and decidedly effective in convincing its readers to contemplate the ambiguous nature and problematic clarity in reducing vast and complex entities under the labels of ‘Islam’ and the ‘West.’

November 2, 2009

The Summary of “Robots at War: The New Battlefield” by P. W. Singer

Filed under: Uncategorized — pargol444 @ 6:36 am

Currently, new technology is changing the face of war. In contemporary times robots are being introduced as an alternative to human soldiers in America. Also, robots are presently being used against the American enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus far, the machines that exist in today’s battlefields (such as Reapers, Predators, and Ravens) are somewhat basic, however, the era of more advanced “war-bots” will arguably alter people’s perspectives, possibly numbing them to the horrific realities of war.

In battlefields today a new unmanned system, “PackBot,” is being introduced. This 42-pound piece of machinery has enormous capabilities such as multiple cameras and sensors for surveillance, and tank-like flippers to enable movement. This model of robot is able to rotate, climb stairs, swim underwater, and even roll over rocks. In addition to all these functions, some people speculate that PackBots and other robots will be able to change the world’s future by making life and death decisions.      

In 2008, an estimated 12,000 robots were utilized by Americas’ military. It took a mere five years for the technology of robotic units to expand to its current level in the American armed service. So far, “unmanned weapons” and “exotic technologies” are in their prototype stages, however, Pentagon planners are exploring how they can adapt to the “largely robotic” battlefields of the future.

The development of unmanned systems in the current era is similar to that in World War I, where new technologies were rapidly introduced, and used in many battlefields. Interestingly, science-fiction literature, such as “Land Ironclads” by H. G. Wells, or “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne played an important role on this matter, inspiring governments to use higher technologies in their attempts to defeat the enemy. The introduction of these technologies changed the face of war forever, and raised questions on how to make the best use of technology and on how to deal with the emerging political, legal, and ethical issues that they introduced.

Furthermore, the traditional experience of war is rapidly changing as robots gradually replace soldiers in the battlefields. Concern is growing amongst the first generation of soldiers cooperating with robots. There is a rising anxiety with regards to what the future holds, and some predict that the role of humans during times of war could one day be limited to simply using a remote control. More than a century ago, General Robert E. Lee argued that it is ultimately advantageous for people to find war horrific and frightening, lest they would enjoy and crave it. Additionally, there is the issue of how humans will remain the masters of unmanned systems that have superior speed and intelligence.

The unmanned systems that are currently operating in Iraq come in various forms with alternative abilities. In general, there are two kinds of robots: ground robots and air robots. The TALON, made by Foster Miller, is a ground robot that allows users to exploit different weapons, including a machine gun, a grenade or a rocket launcher. On the other hand, there are air robots, essentially planes that fly without the presence of a human pilot. The most famous of these robots is the Predator, which is a significantly economical alternative to manned aircrafts. The Predator is an aerial vehicle that has the ability to spend up to 24-hours in the air at heights up to 26,000 feet. Predators are flown by “reach-back” or “remote-split” operations, whereby human pilots play a part by flying the planes via satellites from up to 7,500 miles away.

Today, the United States Army is using Predators as missiles, diverging from the original function as surveillance technology. Even so, the use of other surveillance robots has increased with no mission being held without using these unmanned systems. Also, individual soldiers use small UAVs, such as Wasp and Raven, which carry a tiny camera inside. Basically, a soldier is required to toss the machinery into the air to gather news by recording video images from the other side of the road or hill.

Moreover, robots are especially useful for performing dangerous, dirty, and dull tasks in place of soldiers. In general, soldiers are less capable of performing these missions due to numerous physical and psychological weaknesses. For example, a robot will not be psychologically disturbed when watching an injured soldier bleed to death during a mission. Additionally, robots with both superior and sharable intelligence have been created. This is of upmost importance as sharable intelligence can help robots and other technological systems be more prepared for any unexpected events.

Each branch of America’s armed services has ambitious plans for the future in utilizing robotic military technology. However, there are concerns about whether the United States Army is prematurely placing too much trust in the robots and their navigation systems. For instance, in July 1988 a passenger aircraft was shot down near the Persian Gulf by an American ship using the Aegis radar system. The unmanned radar system mistakenly recognized the plane as an Iranian Fighter plane and proceeded to attack. In spite of substantial evidence to the contrary, the ships crew failed to override the computers decision. This fatal event highlights the necessity for human involvement, and the need to impose a limit on the use of robots in the battlefields.

In addition, some scholars have conducted reports on the future of robots and speculate terminal outcomes that could result from a human reliance on them. These reports attempt to encourage the government to limit the amount of power that they grant the robots.

As stated earlier, one of the most controversial aspects of using robots in the battlefield is their replacement of human soldiers. By replacing humans, robots will allow both citizens and governments to view wars from a very different perspective, possibly permitting them to grow increasingly detached from the casualties of war. A high usage of robots may nullify the need for governments to seek citizen approval regarding wars, and the option of going to war may seem like an increasingly easy solution for settling issues. Also, it has been predicted that people would become so neutral to the subject of war, and the events on the battlefield that they would watch the war live from television at home, just as they watch their favorite sport game.

In conclusion, in the not so distant future, winning and losing in the battlefield will largely depend on the robotic military technology available to the fighting country. Hence, the country that can afford the technology to build and utilize superior robots will be the winner of the battle and get to play God, by having a massive impact on the world from far away.

October 31, 2009

Real Life Versus Young Computer-Based Generation

Filed under: Uncategorized — pargol444 @ 8:33 pm

Choose the future of interactive fiction

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2008/jul/17/choosethefutureofinteracti

This article looks at one of the latest interactive trends, namely ‘interactive fiction.’ In the age of the Internet, where the young generation has the power to control life and experience, they are now expecting the same from books. The author discusses the three ‘strands’ of this new craze.                                                              

The first strand is associated with “nostalgia.” It mentions that the interactive fictional books, such as “Fighting Fantasy” are beginning to be reissued. It should be noted that the interactive fictional books are closely related to the interactive video games of the past such as, “Dungeons and Dragons” which were popular in the 1970s.              

The second strand relates to the fact that although the interactive fictional books are again arising, the themes and the storylines have been changed form the cliché fantasy themes of the past. For example, these books include real-life themes such as, “If you want to have sex with your ex-girlfriend, consider getting back together with her, then think better of it, go to page 183.”                   

The third stand is the next step in the progression of interactive literature. The “wovel” (which is a contraction of “web novel”) is an online fictional book, which offers the reader the opportunity to gain control over the book and decide the conclusion. The authors of wovels publish weekly and wait for the readers’ responses and votes on what they wish to happen next in the story. Therefore, the author writes each chapter in accordance to the readers’ wishes.                                    

Despite the re-emergence of interactive fictional books, a question remains, “Do readers really want the responsibility of driving the narrative, or is that the author’s job?”           

No, Second Life is not overhyped

http://money.cnn.com/2006/11/09/technology/fastforward_secondlife.fortune/index.htm

Second Life is the latest development in 3-Dimensional virtual world programs. Some people see it as a game; others view it as a marketing opportunity. For David Kirkpatrick, Second Life represents the future for cyberspace. Second Life is more than just a game; it is a place where impossible can be possible. Second Life is a virtual platform, which provides the users with the opportunity to express themselves without the limitations of time and space. Users, or “avatars,” of this program can chose to interact with each other on a social forum, or spend time in their own company. In Second Life, there are established codes of behavior, but there are no enforcements and regulations that could support those codes.

Linden Dollars is the type of money that the consumers in Second Life use in order to do business transactions. Linden Dollars is a currency of its own, and could be converted to USA Dollars. Large companies are realizing that Second Life is a great source of money and are planning to invest on this program.                       

In addition, Kirkpatrick asserts that Second Life is affecting peoples’ real lives, as an increasing percentage of the population is tapping into this new technological use. Interestingly, even Reuters have employed a reporter to provide daily coverage of what goes on inside the Second Life.                                                                       

Second Life represents the future usage of the Internet technology, as it allows for a huge range of everyday functions to be carried out online. However, Kirkpatrick argues that although the Internet has great potential, it is still in its early stages of development, and will gain more capabilities in the future.                                                   

eLearning Technologies

http://elearningtech.blogspot.com/2008/06/second-life-learning-videos.html

Second Life is, amongst other things, a new learning experience for the young generation with their limited attention span. The owner of the eLearning website is Dr. Tony Karrer, who is the CEO/CTO of TechEmpower, a software, web, and eLearning development firm. Dr. Karrer fully endorses Second Life as a new form of education. His website includes tutorials about how Second Life can be used as an educational tool.                                                                                               

Second Life offers a new method of teaching, which is more effective, relevant and productive than the traditional learning methods. Second Life has revolutionary functions, which out shine the dry practices of real world institutions. In Second Life, users can become immersed in their chosen subject. The learners will actually gain the opportunity to experience new information on both practical and theoretical levels. For example, when learning about the construction of computers, the learner can actually have a tour inside of a computer and see its components, or discover history by traveling to the time periods in question. This type of learning experience quizzes the learners, and gives feedback in a much more entertaining way than tradition methods of assessment. Second Life is not limited to space and time like the traditional education methods that are being used in today’s classrooms.

The Yes Men                                                                                      

http://theyesmen.org/                                                                                                           

The Yes Men is a community of self-proclaimed hoaxers, who impersonate what they call “big-time criminals,” in order to publicly humiliate them. The Yes Men targets leaders of large corporations who put profits ahead of everything else. The Yes Men’s shared aim is to expose large companies, and highlight the truth behind the media propagandas. In the official website, the Yes Men specifically highlight the fact that they are part of the Left Wing extreme movement, and act against the injustices caused by Capitalism. This website contains different archives of videos, books, links, and blogs which all document the Yes Men’s missions in changing the direction of large corporations in becoming more responsible, and honest with the public. The website also features the Yes Men movie, which is about following “a couple of anti-corporate activist-pranksters” who, amongst other things, impersonate a spokesperson of World Trade Organization. This movie has a comical theme, which displays the Yes Men infiltrate important corporate events as guest speakers, as well as providing false interviews for BBC news. By attending these events, the Yes Men were able to force some corporations to resolve their weaknesses and change their path in order to practice justice, and fairness amongst the societies.                        

It should be noted that, on the Yes Men website, the Yes Men do not claim to be a substitute to protesting, but they do state that this is a new approach to changing the world.

So what does all this mean?                                                                       

All four sources that have been presented in this blog highlight how the distinction between the real world and fantasy is becoming more blurred. In the past, readers could escape from reality by opening a book. They could visit different places and times through stories that they would read. Now, interactive books enable readers to actually create their own fiction, rather than just reading other people’s works. Also, Second Life takes this one step further, and the users create a ‘story’ in which his or her online persona is the protagonist. The Second Life offers an improved alternative to real life; restrictions are removed and everything is beautiful. The Yes Men also includes the idea of fantasy in two ways. Firstly, it addresses the false ‘fantasy’ that is created by the corporate world. Secondly, its members take on new identities in response to addressing the problems of the real world. Despite these similarities, the Yes Men is different from the other three sources, rather than offering an alternative, its members seek to change the real world by assuming new identities. The Yes Men offers a resolution to the problems of everyday life, and not just an escape. In other words, the Yes Men facilitates participation in real world events for its users, rather than engaging them in a virtual life and using fantasy to give them an escape from the reality. Also, the Yes Men does not specifically target the young computer-based generation, as the other sources do.

October 3, 2009

8 Identities in 2 Hours and 45 Minutes

Filed under: Uncategorized — pargol444 @ 8:05 am

It’s 3am. I’m exhausted after a long day of university and essays. I had two papers due and had a mid-term exam. Worst of all, bad luck was following me and made me crash my car. Overall it was a bad day, one of many.

And here I am. Blue pajamas, hair tied back, big black rings under my eyes after two nights of no sleep. For sure, it’s not the best picture, certainly not the way that I want to be seen. I desperately need a few hours of sleep, so I get into bed, turn off the light, open my laptop, and visit www.facebook.com. As soon as I type in my password, I become a new person and gain a new identity. First things first, I change my profile picture. I use a picture from summer vacation two months ago. I’m at a party, my hair is done, and I’m wearing my beautiful brand name dress. I have a huge smile on my face, and enjoying myself in a party on a hot summer night. This is how I want to be seen.

A chat window pops up. My friend from Los Angeles wants to talk to me. He compliments my new profile picture. I say thanks without mentioning that it belongs to a time a few months back. True, it doesn’t depict me in my present state, but I cannot put on a picture of now. They’d think I’d gone crazy.

I log out. The next stop is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niOHVIuZz2k .I heard my friends talking about Ahmadinejad’s new animated video on his recent televised debate. Apparently his speech was hilarious. In order to be updated, I have to see this for myself. So I log in, search, and watch. They were right it was hilarious, so hilarious that I have to comment. My comment is funny and very direct. I’m not afraid to be controversial here.

The time now is 4am. How did it get so late? I really need sleep now. I should log off, but I’m feeling guilty about wasting time on these social networking sites when I have so much to do. So I go back to my real-life identity as a student and visit www.gurdian.co.uk to find some articles for my upcoming paper. Before I know it, it’s 5am and I’m still without sleep. This behavior is not healthy or normal. I begin to wonder if I’m developing insomnia, but I don’t know the exact symptoms, so I go to www.google.com and search for “Am I an insomniac?” There are 1, 450, 000 pages. Looks like a few people have this problem. So I take a quiz at www.quizilla.com/quizzes/1010889/are-you-an-insomniac. And no, I don’t have insomnia, but according to the results posted by GothicBeth2001, I’m one step away from becoming an official insomniac.

This would be a good time to end this session and get some sleep, but I’m reminded of the Al Pacino film Insomnia (2002). I’ve been obsessed with Al Pacino for as long as I can remember. I begin wondering if he has any new films coming out, so I visit www.cinemawithoutborders.com. Now I belong to a group of online film critics and fans. I don’t find anything about Al Pacino, but I notice a link to the Iranian Film Festival in San Francisco. I didn’t know Iranian film festivals happened outside Iran. I can’t believe it’s 5:30am and this is the best news I’ve heard all day. I have to tell everyone. I log on to my Gmail account and email this link: http://www.cinemawithoutborders.com/news/130/ARTICLE/1984/2009-09-12.html to my entire contact list. I’m now a news reporter, spreading groundbreaking topics to the world.

Suddenly, I pause and start thinking about the ways of modern life. In two hours and 45 minutes, I have been a social butterfly, political commentator, a student, a possible insomniac, a medical researcher, a film fanatic, a news broadcaster, and now a philosopher. Do I really have a separate online identity, or is the Internet just a forum to easily express the many aspects of my real identity?

This is all too much for 6 o’clock in the morning and it’s getting more awkward as it gets later and later, I really must rest. Hence, I close the browser, shut down my computer, and I finally get some sleep.

September 22, 2009

The Story of Me…

Filed under: Uncategorized — pargol444 @ 11:48 am

The name I was given is Pargol Hashemnia, and I come from a land of great beauty, charm, and history. My country is appreciated for its rich culture, prosperous past, and intellectual tradition. My motherland goes by the name of Iran.                          

I was born into a family of five. I have an identical twin sister and another sister born six years before me. We are a close family unit with a shared passion for the world of Arts and cinema. 

I have lived in this world for twenty-two years, one month, and twenty-five days. The early days of my life coincided with an eight-year long war between Iran and Iraq. I grew up in an environment where running for shelter was a daily occurrence. There were times that we would spend nights huddled together in a dark underground shelter. 

From the day I opened my eyes in this world I have been focused on my dream of becoming an actress and film director. As far as I can remember, I have always been encouraged to perform. When I started to talk, I started to act. When I went to the cinema, I longed to be the child star of the film. When I performed puppet shows with my friends, I was the director. Performing was in my heart, and I knew it would be my future. I was determined to become an actor, and started attending acting classes. I also participated in the drama club at school. I started receiving positive feedback, and was told I had talent. Receiving these appraisals from my teachers are some of my fondest memories. From there, I progressed onto the academic study of Digital Storytelling. It is now my third year of study, and my childhood dream remains unchanged. 

My favorite pastime is watching movies. Over the years, I have built a massive archive of films, with a wide range of different film genres. The most inspirational films I have seen are: Citizen Kane (1941), The God Father I (1972), Cinema Paradiso (1988), Gladiator (2000), and A Beautiful Mind (2001). I have learnt so much from watching these films. By observing the actors, I received vital lessons in using body language and speech to transmit their internal presence to the audience. Another of my hobbies is reading novels. Two of my favorite novels are The Da Vinci Code and Gone With The Wind. Reading novels is essential for me as an artist, as it highly amplifies my powers of creativity and imagination. 

The most inspirational character in my life is Nicole Kidman, who has started her career in 1983. Not only do I value her work as an actor, but also her great humanitarian works. She has achieved recognition in both fields. I aspire to make a similar contribution to the world. 

In the near future, after graduating from university besides my acting career, I plan on making independent films in Iran, my beloved homeland. I am focused on making documentaries and feature films that display a different image of Iran; an image that demonstrates the real beauties of this part of the world, without the negative stereotypes often shown in international media.

August 31, 2009

“Cinema Iran”

Filed under: Uncategorized — pargol444 @ 9:27 pm

While being a cinema enthusiast, I always like experiencing going to different cinemas wherever I visit. I find not only movies, but also movie theatres an interesting part of the culture of that specific city or country. Depending on the country, the age of the audience who attend movies, the kind of group they like to attend the movie theatre with (i.e. in couples, the whole family, friends), what type of movies they enjoy to see, even what snacks they like to eat during a movie, and even their purpose of why they go to the cinema differs. Somehow, the observation of a few movie nights can be a mirror to the society of that city or country.

In Iran, going to the cinema is one of people’s favorite activities, especially during the summer nights. It is very interesting to observe how the situation in Iran has shaped not only the actual movies, but also everything else surrounding the activity of going to the cinema.

It always starts in long lineups, waiting to reach the ticket booth to purchase tickets, anxious to get there before it gets sold out. There are usually a fight or two about tickets, either among people, or between the cashier and the customers. While entering the cinema, the typical audience are always present, a young couple who are sitting at the corner of the very last row in a cozy spot, anxiously waiting for the lights to go off, a gang of teenage boys who have only come for the purpose of making fun of the movie, including the lousy performance of the actors, and a retired old couple who enjoy spending their time in a movie theatre sleeping, just to pass the time.

As people take their seats, they can feel the cold breeze of the air conditioner, and the pleasant smell of popcorn fills the air. The place gets crammed with loud people who only allow you to hear what they say. When the film starts, everyone at once decide to be silent.

Most people give a couple of minutes to the movie for it to attract their attention and interest, either with a hilarious scene or with a fine looking actor, but if the film fails to impress them in that short period of time, they decide to either stay and interrupt others with humorous  jokes, or to leave the cinema as a sign of disappointment. On the other hand, if the film appeals to them during the first few minutes, they will stay until the end, give applauses at certain scenes, and stand up during the closing credits as a sign of respect and appreciation.

The whole experience of this night is a reflection of many aspects of the society, which has caved its way to the culture of the people, and has become an indication of the problems that exist in the society. For example, the long line ups are an indication of the fact that not only there are not enough fun activities for people, but also that there are not enough cinemas for a populated country such as Iran. The fights show that people are tired and frustrated, and feel that they have to even fight their way into the cinema, otherwise there is always someone out there who is ready to take their turn, or cheat in someway. The young couple that sits at the most coziest spot represents the young generation who cannot hold hands or kiss freely in the light of the day, and need to hide in a dark hall of a movie theater. The few minutes allowance for the movie to start, and grab the attention of the people is a mirror image of the stress, and frustration of the people, and of the fact that they have no tolerance left to spare for a movie. Therefore, within the first minutes, if the movie fails to impress them with a funny scene, or a good looking actor, then they cannot endure the pain of sitting through a movie they have decided they disliked, even out of respect for the other audience present in the cinema.

Somehow, the event of going to the cinema in Tehran is thrilling. There are so many that can happen in the process, and many interesting people to see, and never know how people will react to a certain movie, or if a fight is going to break out before the ticket booth or in the cinema. It is all a fascinating experience that could even be called an adventure.

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