Discover more from \_ooFWIRED -- hosted by Mark Changizi
My first mass hysteria was the Iran Hostage Crisis
And I was the target
t only occurred to me today, as all things Russian are becoming taboo:
I myself once experienced a mass hysteria. And it was directed at me.
The Iran hostage crisis.
My dad came here from Iran as a medical resident at UPenn in the mid-60s. Devilishly dark, handsome, and immaculately well-dressed, Americans loved him. He was “Iranian,” but that meant nothing much, other than the baseline level of being distantly middle-Eastern looking.
By the time the hostage crisis occurred in 1979 he had a practice, a wife, and two kids, one which was ten-year-old me.
With the taking of those 52 hostages that year, the world overnight went from “Iran, what’s that?” to “IRANIANS ARE THE UNCLEAN ENEMY!!!”
My parents told us we were no longer “Iranian.” We were “Persian.” Iranian carpet stores changed their names, but that wasn’t an option for a doctor with a medical practice. How many of his patients will now be unwilling to see him? How many potential new patients will be prejudicially frightened away? How many doctors will now refrain from referring to him? (Answer: Lots.)
I felt the alienation as a sixth grader. Iran and Iranians were the epitome of dirty & evil, and it came up often in conversation. (No one was mean to me personally that I can remember. The unclean person you know — THAT’S an exception.)
I thereby got steeped in the anti-Iranian hysteria. I was part of it, sitting amidst my friends, fellow students, television jokes and memes, listening. I was thereby able to feel all the stimuli pushing people toward hatred. And I can’t say it didn’t get a little in my head. (Although I did end up marrying my wise Persian wife, which my Twitter followers may have seen here and there.)
But I was also structurally immune to it. After all, my family was the target.
On Covid, I have been blessed that I was immediately able to see that infection-induced hysteria is what really hit us in March of 2020.
I attribute it in some large part to being aloof,
and to where I sat within the network. https://www.getrevue.co/profile/markchangizi/issues/who-was-immune-to-covid-hysteria-not-scott-adams-341539
But surely another key factor is that I experienced mass hysteria’s explosive repercussions first hand at an impressionable age.
I suspect it the CHANGE that matters. Get born as the “unclean”, and it’s more difficult to consciously appreciate it.