The corollary of ‘What goes up, must come down’ is ‘What goes down, must come up’. With Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s popularity sinking below the horizon line—a demonstrator in Cairo recently threw a shoe at him—things can only be looking up. Way up.
This week, Ahmadinejad declared that he wants to be the first Iranian in space. “Sending living things into space is the result of Iranian efforts…” he said, referring to the safe return of a monkey that Iranian scientists had launched into orbit. Among scientists, there is some debate whether the monkey that went up, is the same one that came down. Apparently monkey #1 had a wart, while monkey #2 had slightly different facial features and no wart.
But we quibble. The big news is Ahmadinejad is stepping out. And isn’t it about time he launched himself Off-Off-Broadway? Within minutes of his reported plan, there was an international outpouring of encouragement, including a Facebook page called, “In support of sending Ahmadinejad into space”.
That poor monkey the scientists sent up had to endure the terrifying journey into outer space alone but why should Ahmadinejad suffer a similar fate? Traveling solo is no fun. Ahmadinejad needs a buddy. And who better than his chum, Saeed Mortazavi, once a high-ranking government official, who has also fallen on hard times in the popularity department. Worse than being hit with a shoe or being dissed in a tweet by Senator John McCain, Mortazavi has been arrested for the deaths of anti-government protesters and sent to (gulp!) Tehran’s notorious Evin prison where it is rumoured Mortazavi ill-treated prisoners in, like, a really major way.
The boys should take a page from the Hollywood celebrity book: when your fans have turned away, do something unexpected to revive your flagging fortunes. Katie Holmes dumped Tom, moved to New York and played on Broadway. Angelina Jolie stopped kissing her brother and wearing vials of blood and started adopting and having children. For inspiration, Ahmadinejad and Mortazavi may wish to rent Thelma and Louise on Netflix. It’s about time there was a remake.
If Ahmadinejad could just get over his bone-deep hatred of the West, he could join forces with billionaire Richard Branson who has already signed up 500 celebrities who want to be extruded into outer space on Virgin Galactic. He and Mortazavi could hook up with the likes of Aston Kutcher, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and Katy Perry, among other purdy luminaries. Or, you know, hitch a ride with a 13-year-old’s toy.
Not sure if Ahmadinejad is a Trekkie. If so, he might be disappointed to learn that William Shatner who played Captain James T. Kirk on the Star Trek TV series, will not be among the Virgin Galactic’s passengers. As he told The Sun newspaper in the UK, “I’m interested in man’s march to the unknown, but to vomit in space is not my idea of a good time. Neither is a fiery crash with vomit hanging over me.”
Image credit: APAimages / Rex Features