Answer to Photo Quiz

So, remember this picture from the other day?

It turns out that the picture was taken in… (drumroll please)…

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran!

I only bring up this picture thing again to make a small point (Fade in after-school special music; we’re gonna learn something more valuable than mere geography here, kids). The point is probably cliché, but it is interesting to see where our prejudices and stereotypes can sometimes take our imaginations.

Now, I’m not sure how I came across this image, but I think it had something to do with looking at a map of Santiago’s metro system, and one thing led to another, as is often the case. Suddenly I was looking at the Wikipedia page devoted to Tehran, and the pictures, especially the one above, really caught my eye. “Weird,” I thought. “That’s what I’d imagine some place like Salt Lake City would look like.” But in fact, Salt Lake City looks like this:

…which ironically looks like a mental picture I would have formed of Tehran, before I saw the first picture.

So what’s my point? That cities dominated by different branches of right-wing fundamentalist politics can deceive our stereotypes? Well, that’s part of it. But I also think that there’s something to be said about these stereotypes themselves. After all–be honest here–how many of you, if asked to form associations upon hearing the words “Tehran” or “Iran,” would have come up with something positive? How many would have thought of Ahmadinejad, or terrorists, or Arabs, or dusty deserts? I, for one, probably would have.

Yet here we have a picture that shows us that despite our preconceived notions of our world, the home of our supposed enemy doesn’t look that scary after all… in fact, it looks like a pretty nice place to go on a resort vacation and get in some quality time by the fireplace after a long day of skiing.

And Salt Lake City looks like a suburban skate park.

So, if anyone’s headed to Iran any time soon for a bit of tourism, give me a call. I’ll bring my curiosity, my camera and, of course, my snow boots.

PS: Interestingly enough, according to this site’s Clustrmap, Sitzblog has even had one visitor from Iran! (Scroll down on the page that opens to see individual country statistics)

(Both pictures copyright-released and available on Wikimedia Commons)

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Sitzman

Errand-Running Monkey at Sitzblog
Hey! I'm Ryan Sitzman, the person in charge of Sitzblog. If you want to know more about me, you can check out my profile on Google or go to my personal site, RyanSitzman.com. You can also click on any of the redundant little boxes to the left and it should take you to my profiles for all kinds of social networks. Thanks!

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