Ahmadinejad apparently is not funny, but this
is -- in a "gotta feel sorry for the poor Iranians who voted for him" sort of way:
A stray electronic missive has been blamed for a spate of arrests and a national scandal in Iran after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took umbrage at an unwelcome text received on his mobile phone.
According to whispered accounts in Tehran, his ire was stirred when someone sent him a joke suggesting he didn't wash regularly enough.
Although officials claim he possesses a lively sense of humor on this occasion it suffered a serious failure. Realizing the joke was doing the rounds of Iranian mobile phones, the president lodged an official complaint with Iran's judiciary department.
That in turn has acted as a pretext for an official purge of the SMS system in the country. Ahmadinejad has since told his staff to pay close attention to all jokes circulating about him by text.
An anti-regime Web site called Rooz Online claims that under the crackdown the head of the country's mobile phone company has been sacked and four people arrested and accused of colluding with the Israeli foreign intelligence service, Mossad.
But poking fun at the president has becoming a national pastime in Iran. In a fusillade of seditious traffic, the regime's senior figures and its most sacred policies are all fair game -- with Ahmadinejad a particular target.
One joke tells of a man who dies and goes to hell, where he sees the famously strait-laced Ahmadinejad dancing with the Hollywood star Jennifer Lopez. "Is this Ahmadinejad's punishment?" he asks.
"No," goes the reply. "It is Jennifer Lopez's punishment."
"While the outcome of the recent arrests in connection with SMS messaging is not clear yet, what is certain is that SMS jokes have put some people into serious trouble," Rooz Online wrote.
Actually, I thought there were several points about this story that were a little "funny":
- the idea that officials would claim Ahmadinejad "possesses a lively sense of humor"
- the thought that anyone in the Iranian police state would send an "Ahmadinejad doesn't bathe" joke to the very man who controls the secret police and knows where everyone lives.
- the idea that there are hordes more Ahmadinejad jokes circulating via SMS in the country's phone network -- or at least there WERE hordes of them until somebody snitched. There goes a ready made opportunity to destabilize the Iranian government on the cheap! Where was the CIA while all this was happening?
- how flattering it is that when the Iranians think of farcical political humor, they immediately turn to the Mossad for blame. Well poisoning, zionist death-rays, blood libels AND political attack humor. The Mossad truly is a full service intelligence agency.