In Sunday's New York Times, Deborah Solomon interviews Marjane Satrapi, author of the graphic novel (and now feature-length cartoon) "Persepolis," which tells the tale of a young girl growing up in and out of revolutionary Iran. The interview is okay until Solomon steps into presumptive territory with the question You're a Muslim, yes? Satrapi's answer: I'm not a religious person at all.
There goes that angle, you think, but Solomon clearly wants a way in to a discussion about fundamentalist Islam. When she brings up the veiling of women, Satrapi points out that women abide by strange codes of dress all over, which prompts this absolutely awesome exchange:
Are you suggesting that veiling and unveiling women are equally reductive? I disagree.
We have to look at ourselves here also. Why do all the women get plastic surgery? Why? Why? Why should we look like some freaks with big lips that look like an anus? What is so sexy about that? What is sexy about having something that looks like a goose anus?
Well, Ms. Satrapi, I hope you're reading this, because I'm about to tell you what.
- It is commonly known that the goose is the most attractive of all the birds.
- The goose is also the most pitiless of all the birds, against which men dash their ardour like storm-tossed ships into cliffs.
- The beak is hard and orange, the neck is a trifle long, the wings are a potential hazard and the webbed feet are ridiculous. But the anus - come on, that stuff's the best.
- Whereas the beauty and sweetness of song birds may inspire strong emotions, they tend to fly away and roost in inaccessible places.
- Angelina Jolie is actually a goose surgically grafted onto a human body. She hides her long neck and beak under a wig, from which her true eyes peer. What, you've never noticed?
And those are only the most compelling reasons.