Iran’s premier news agency went from FARS to farce over the weekend, after not only mistaking an article in satirical magazine The Onion for real news, but also plagiarising it. The article claimed a Gallup poll had found 77 percent of rural whites prefer Ahmadinejad to Obama. FARS apology is long on mitigation, highlighting how everyone (particularly British media, it seems) makes the odd mistake.
Perhaps this shows that nothing illustrates a culture gap more sharply than sense of humour. Stepping back a moment, it’s hard to imagine many Ahmadinejad supporting Iranians performing the mental gymnastics required for them to understand the joke. Essentially, one needs to understand that rural white is code for redneck, poor, uneducated whites susceptible to far right ideas and that the irony comes from this group — the group most likely to support nuking Iran — being so conservative they have more in common with Ahmadinejad than they could ever imagine. America being such a wealthy and powerful country, many Iranians probably do imagine whites especially to be educated enough to recognise Ahmadinejad as a fellow traveller.
What passes for mainstream, common sense opinions could not vary more widely.