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I don't set goals. Like, that's what I want to be doing however many years from now. I do what I love to do at the moment. If I wake up tomorrow and decide I want to dance, that's what I'd do. Or design clothes.
I'd heard a lot of Asian people were rooting for me, but I had no idea. I was stunned. They were... impassioned, especially compared to Japan. I couldn't even have anticipated that kind of welcome.
In the beginning, I was searching for myself in my music. My music was for me. I didn't have the mental room to be conscious of the listener; I wrote to save myself.
I understand it's my role to realize people's dreams. I'm O.K. with that so long as my songs are my own. No one can take my songs away from me.
I read and watch movies. I can't go to the movie theater much anymore, though, because I get recognized. It's worse sometimes if I wear a costume and try not to get recognized. I watch most of my films on airplanes.
Every culture has something to be ashamed of, but every culture also has the right to change, to challenge negative traditions, and create to new ones.
The best work of literature to represent the American Dream is 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It shows us how dreaming can be tainted by reality, and that if you don't compromise, you may suffer.
This is a good time to ask apologists for the Islamic regime, who degrades Islam? Who imposes stoning, forced marriage of underage girls and flogging for not wearing the veil? Do such practices represent Iran's ancient history and culture, its ethnic and religious diversity? Its centuries of sensual and subversive poetry?
Look at Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution and the slogans that they used: anti imperialism; anti colonialism; the struggle of the have nots against the haves; the state monopoly over economy, which was very much patterned after the Soviet Union. All of these things did not come out of Islam. Islam is not that developed.
Basically, fundamentalism is a modern phenomenon. In the same way that Hitler evoked a mythological religion of German purity and the glory of the past, the Islamists use religion to evoke emotions and passions in people who have been oppressed for a long time in order to reach their purpose.
People would react to books by authors like James and Austen almost on a gut level. I think it was not so much the message, because the best authors do not have obvious messages. These authors were disturbing to my students because of their perspectives on life.
Religion was used as an ideology, as a system of control. When they forced the veil upon women, they were using it as an instrument of control in the same way that in Mao's China people were wearing Mao jackets and women were not supposed to wear any makeup.
Those in the west who dismiss the repressiveness of laws against women in countries like Iran, no matter how benign their intentions, present a condescending view not just of the religion but also of women living in Muslim majority countries, as if the desire for choice and happiness is the monopoly of women in the west.
The biggest crime in Nabokov's 'Lolita' is imposing your own dream upon someone else's reality. Humbert Humbert is blind. He doesn't see Lolita's reality. He doesn't see that Lolita should leave. He only sees Lolita as an extension of his own obsession. This is what a totalitarian state does.
I see people who talk about America, and then undermine it by not paying attention to its soul, to its poetry. I see polarization, reductionism and superficiality.
I would like to say how much I resent people who say of the Islamic Republic that this is our culture as if women like to be stoned to death, or as if they like to be married at the age of nine.