Iran’s leader is hot or the pitfalls of genital logic

Ahmadinejad is hot Helen Razer –The National Times – October 14, syringe 2009

“Ahmadinejad is hot, drugstore ” said my partner as we were watching the telly. This revelation shocked me on several counts.

First, I was aghast that she could find anything positive at all to say about a man of whom the world’s most learned commentators largely disapprove. Current events are not my strong suit. However, I’m vaguely aware that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rigged an election. And even in the case that this apprehension is entirely wrought by Zionist and/or CIA agitprop: surely, one’s libidinal interest should not be aroused by the 6pm news?

Thinking of the current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran as “hot” struck me as somewhat ideologically flawed.

But then again, it really didn’t. It’s not as though I haven’t had “a thing” for a wide variety of right-wing leaders to date. I was particularly besotted by Felicity, the wife of erstwhile Victorian premier Jeff Kennett, for at least two painful state terms.

Second, I was surprised, as ever, to learn that there are those in the world who think about sex as frequently or as inappropriately as I do. It has been a key downfall for many years and I do not wish the ill on anyone but my most steadfast enemies. Frequent, inappropriate musing about the attractiveness and sexual style of others does nothing but cloud the capacity for clear thought. As my entire written oeuvre can attest.

“He’s really hot,” she said. That’s the sort of talk that presages nothing but descent into dumb-dumb.

Heavens. Don’t I know.

Once, I was a promising student. During the latter part of my studies at Sydney University, this custom of frequent and inappropriate musing kicked in. One day, while striving to maintain focus on becoming a literary historian with a particular interest in corsetry or something, I encountered a filthy book. The Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille is recommended as a true “transgressive text” by many important thinkers. What Susan Sontag and those other clever writers neglected to tell me, however, was that this disturbing tract would cause me to view everyday scenarios with the decadent eye of a dirty old woman.

Let it be plainly said: there are many tableaux in this putrid pamphlet that are unspeakable. That Bataille, otherwise an inconsistent writer, here arranged his words very well does not excuse the foulness of this text. But more than being a handbook of instruction in the perversion of kitchen objects, it is a work that demonstrates the possibility of sex in even the most banal circumstances. Bataille taught me nothing if not to entertain the likelihood that most things could be fetishised. The upshot of this was that I spent most of my honours year imagining everyone in their underthings, failed to complete my dissertation and sought the only career that fallen academics can. Viz. popular writing. So, the academy was denied another promising theorist and print media was granted yet another mildly under-educated dirty old woman. All because of sex.

All because of that urge that prompts one to look, for example, at a possible despot and say, “Ahmadinejad is hot”. This sort of genital logic can but end in tears. Or, at least, in distractedness, personal professional loss and a culture that produces no one with any real erudition in the matter of corsets in English Literature.

I was shocked on a third count, too. Naturally, I was forced to look at the television to assess the bonkability of this chap.

And, I had to agree, Ahmadinejad is kind of hot.

Helen Razer is a Melbourne writer.