Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Iranian official warns of "Westoxication" and "destructive cultural and social consequences" of Barbie, Batman, Spiderman, and Harry Potter

It's not difficult to see where Barbie and Harry Potter would be verboten in Iran. And Batman is the Caped Crusader, after all. But what about Spiderman? At any rate, he's an infidel. "Iran official sees 'destructive' Barbie influence," from Reuters: TEHRAN - Imports of Barbie dolls and other Western toys will have destructive cultural and social consequences in Iran, the Islamic Republic's top prosecutor was quoted as saying on Monday.

Iran's conservative clerical establishment often rails against the perceived dangers of U.S.-inspired culture and consumerism, branding it "Westoxication."

But young Iranians are often keen consumers of such music, films and other goods from the West. Iconic toy brands can be bought in children's shops in the capital Tehran and elsewhere.

"The appearance of personalities such as Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter and ... computer games and movies are all a danger warning to the officials in the cultural arena," said Prosecutor General Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabadi in a letter to Vice President Parviz Davoudi published in the Mardom Salari daily.

Najafabadi, a high-ranking cleric, said Iran was the world's third biggest importer of toys and suggested this posed a threat to the "personality and identity" of the new generation.

"The unrestrained entry of this sort of imported toys ... will bring destructive cultural and social consequences in their wake," he wrote.

He added many toys were smuggled into Iran and accused importers of concentrating on profits at the expense of cultural values.

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