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   Undertoad  Sunday Jul 21 01:37 PM

7/21/2002: Iranian impotence ad

By all accounts, Iran is a country in turmoil. Its leaders are Islamic fundamentalists, but the people are not so hard-line, and they are struggling for more freedom. It may well lead to outright revolution.

This ad is from an Iranian newspaper, and the Mullahs that run the government are none too happy about it. Why: because this impotency cure ad is just too open about sexuality. This kind of openness just can't be tolerated.

So on one hand, the ad is evidence that the culture is becoming more open. That alone makes it an IotD type of image. But when I saw the ad, I noticed something else interesting. The little cartoon guy pushing the tower back upright is in the style of American visual artist Keith Haring.

Mr. Haring died of AIDS in 1990, at the age of 32, having made his mark (so to speak) on art and culture in the US. If you've seen his visual style, you remember it. One of his more famous drawings (for S. Africa):

Haring was more style than substance. Although he was a trained artist, he got his start doing graffiti in NYC subway stations, and his style was so blatant that somehow he turned into a one-man artistic wrecking ball. His subway-to-modern-artist story had appeal, and soon his "little guy in motion" was found both at museums of modern art and on the side of Bloomingdale shopping bags.

But to see the little guy in an Iranian ad for impotence, 12 years after Haring's death, is a very strange cultural mix indeed.

Keith Haring "holding up" the tower.

(Iranian ad via Asparagirl; Haring images via

CharlieG  Monday Jul 22 09:41 AM

Re: 7/21/2002: Iranian impotence ad

Originally posted by Undertoad
[B...snip...American visual artist Keith Haring....snip...

My local Children's Hospital has an original Haring stybile on the fron lawn, and uses a Haring as their logo - I understand that Mr Haring dontated the logo
Schneider Children's Hospital

MillMan  Monday Jul 22 11:27 AM

not suprising...

To my knowledge Iran is the only country in the Middle East that has a condom factory. Some years back (the mid to late 80's I think) they also had a nationwide birth control education campaign that really helped them cut back their birth rate. Condoms were available free from the government. So it's not too shocking to see this in Iran, even if it's leaders are upset.

I can't remember the source I got this from, but I think it was from the book "The Arabs" by David Lamb. Either that or one of those random left wing sites on the internet

verbatim  Monday Jul 22 11:50 AM

Is that not the same art (or style of) that was featured in that human rights commercial a while back? Something like "get up, stand up for your rights"

dave  Monday Jul 22 11:53 AM

Originally posted by verbatim
Is that not the same art (or style of) that was featured in that human rights commercial a while back? Something like "get up, stand up for your rights"
Not too big into Bob Marley, are you?

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