Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pesky Persian Problems

The View from the Podium

Pesky Persian Problems
It has recently come to my attention that the Iranians are doing everything they possibly can to convince the entire world that they are massive tools.  They're building sophisticated centrifuges, enriching uranium, hooking-up wannabe suicide bombers with the latest in high explosive evening wear, and they even sent their president, Achmed Ahmadinejad (or "Achmed I'm-a-nut-job", as Jay Leno calls him) to attend the funeral of that perennial friend of the United States, Hugo Chavez.  They also have retained some international ambulance-chaser/paparazzi-pimp of a lawyer so they can sue the "Argo" production company for making the Iranians look like stupid douche bags when they didn't catch  the CIA (played and directed by Ben Affleck) when they helped the American diplomats escape after the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun in the 1970's (I totally remember that from high school, and they WERE stupid douche bags).   And that's just recently.  Everywhere you look, the Iranians are trying to bunghole somebody, somewhere.

My penis is this big.  No, really!  Silence, I kill you!!!
It wasn't always that way.  Before they were called Iranians and discovered the forbidden delights of Bactrian camel-humping (don't try it), they were known as the Persians and were fairly progressive folks.  They came from a really tough corner of the ancient world (Mesopotamia: cradle of Civilization --over 6 thousand years of mud-brick-dwelling, and still counting),  and managed to create the largest empire the world had ever seen --that is, just before Alexander the Great defeated them and created the largest empire the world had ever, ever seen.  And do you know how they did it?

You're not dealing with a jalapeno on a stick, baby!
Not the way you might think.  You see, the Persians were the first people in history to treat people they defeated with respect.  Instead of burning their cities, enslaving their populations, raping their sheep and butchering their women (or sometimes even worse!), the Persians tolerated local religions, kept cities intact and farmers working in the fields.  They worked with the locals in order to incorporate the newly defeated kingdom into the cultural, religious and economic life of the Persian Empire.  It was like a wicked-great thing to be part of this empire --the Chaldeans, Babylonians, Medes and even some Greeks loved  being defeated by the Persians so much that they became rock-solid loyal subjects of Cyrus the Great, a.k.a. King of Kings.
I am a total ancient Stud-Muffin

But the people who had the biggest man-crush on Cyrus were the ancient Hebrews.  This is what they stuck in their Torah about the Big C:

Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whom he has taken by his right hand to subdue nations before him and strip the loins of kings, to force gateways before him that their gates be closed no more: I will go before you leveling the heights. I will shatter the bronze gateways, smash the iron bars. I will give you the hidden treasures, the secret hoards, that you may know that I am the Lord.
(Isaiah 45:1-3)

The reason for this bro-mance was that Cyrus allowed the Hebrews to leave Babylon where they had been captives for a long time, and go back to Judea.  He even helped them rebuild their wrecked temple.  Rock-on, Cyrus!

To be fair, some people didn't overly love being governed by a Persian satrap (a kind of governor, not a rodent).  These crybabies included the Ionian Greeks, a bunch of whiners who had left Greece proper during the Greek Dark Ages and settled the west coast of Turkey.  They wanted to be left alone to practice piracy, buggery, alcoholism (the wine-trade was really important) and those other Greek  virtues that we in the west hold so dear.  
Another Greek virtue is the nude-junk-fondle

The city-state of Athens thought a few drachma could be made supporting these Ionian rebels, so they did, forgetting that by doing this, they had just gone to war with the biggest empire on planet Earth at the time. After they changed out of their soiled underwear, the Greeks met the Persian threat the way they met most threats --by fighting with other Greeks over the question of who's going to have to stop the crazy-huge Persian war machine.  Athens lost (won?), so they had the honor (terror?) of facing the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE (Before Crap Existed).

You've probably heard about that battle, especially how far the battlefield was from Athens (26.2 miles), because that's what we remember every time we run a marathon race in the modern world.  You may even have heard of the Athenian runner, Phidippides, who brought the news of Athenian victory back to the town.  What you probably never heard (unless you were awake in my class at SNHU that afternoon) was that Phidippides had to run TWO marathons that day, and fight in the Battle of Marathon in between runs!  No wonder the poor bugger dropped dead after saying, "Rejoice, for we conquer!"  --I'm tired after driving 26.2 miles...

Dude, you want me to run BACK??? WTF?!?
And that was the beginning of the West's Pesky Persian Problems.  10 years after Marathon, the Persians were back, kicking ass and taking names.  They managed to torch Athens and kill King Leonidas and his 300 BFF's at Thermopylae before being outsmarted by Themistocles and the Athenian navy at Salamis.  Later, during the Peloponnesian Wars, they helped the Spartans crush the Athenians (payback's a bitch).  Still later, the Parthians were a perpetual thorn in the Romans' eastern side; even later, the Persians battled it out with the Byzantines.
The translation reads,
"Gonna whup me some Persian butt!"

After the arrival of Islam, the Persians had yet one more reason to hate the west.  We were, after all, sending armed crusaders to occupy the third most holy city in all of Islam.  Fortunately for the West, the Persians got creamed by the Mongols and were a bit out of it for most of the Middle Ages.

After a while, the Iranians asserted their dominance over the Iranian Plateau and established a pretty good kingdom, which the West basically ignored until oil was discovered there in the 20th century.  What we did next was probably what has the Iranians so pissed-off at us currently: the CIA and MI-5 (think Bond.  James Bond) got rid of the current king who thought it would be nice if all the foreigners left his country the heck alone, and put Shah Reza Pahlavi  on the Peacock Throne with the understanding that Iran would supply the West with crude oil at $0.0002 cents per gallon, which Mobil and BP could refine into gasoline and sell for $4.5999 per gallon.  The Ayatollah took offense to that sweetheart deal, and here we are today.
I once went this many years without farting.  And without having sex.  With another person.  Really!  Silence, I kill you!
I think a really good solution to our current round of problems with the Persians, who really are terrific people, once they moved to Southern California and bought up lots of Los Angeles real estate, is to say we're sorry, pay them a fair rate for their oil, help them build their nuclear reactors to generate electricity (no, really!  Silence, I kill you!), and give tons of foreign military aid to Mongolia.  The Mongols messed them up once, they can do it again.  And do try to be sincere when we apologize.  Who knows: they might re-evaluate their opinion of us (currently, they think we're the Great Satan.  This is not true, as everybody knows that the Great Satan is really the former board of directors of Countrywide Mortgage).

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