Pygmalion

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THE SPINE OCTOBER 9, 2006

Pygmalion

I am thinking about a Spine on the Iranian writer Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran), a hooligan Columbia professor Hamid Nabashi, and the latter's lurid fantasies about the former. If I get it done, it'll be posted either later this evening or tomorrow a.m.

Pondering about Iran, I realized how much difficulty I had for so long pronouncing President Ahmadinejad's name. Imagine, I said to myself, if you have trouble saying his name, how can you hope to understand his country? Apparently, lots of other people also have trouble pronouncing his name--including people at the British foreign office. To remedy this embarrassing situation, the ministry some months ago issued a memo instructing its staffers that, when they had actually to say "Ahmadinejad," they should think: "I-am-a-dinner-jacket." I heard about it and I've never faltered since.

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