Today I was researching imagery to use in the “America 1979” fund raising video. I remembered a friend telling me about a bumper sticker that cropped up in 1979 that read “We Play Cowboys and Iranians.” I was hoping to find visual proof of this bumper sticker, that so far has not been preserved online. But I did find a few images of Mickey Mouse giving the middle finger with the text “Hey Iran!”
We all know that Afghanistan and Iran are separate countries, and that 32 years has passed since this Mickey Mouse image was issued. So why continue to use this image?
It’s hard to tell why these individuals used these images. It seems to me that the villainization of Iranians (and all Middle-Easterners) that began in 1979 with the hostage crisis has never died, and remains an undercurrent in the portrayal of the middle east in the media, and in the psyche of many Americans.
I couldn’t possibly end this without mentioning a forum thread from 2008 that I found, about a poster that featured a “guy holding the sword next to the Iranian hanging from a noose” and ends with “let’s get together and shoot another one!”
I made this short film about an Iranian American family living in the US during the time of the hostage crisis, to show what what life was like. You can rent it below.