Escapist entertainment

How does the Iranian government try to get their people's mind off Rafsanjani's Friday sermon? By showing Indian (probably Hindi) movies on TV instead:

Iranian state TV is currently broadcasting via its five channels:

1) a discussion on havij bastani (an Iranian desert with carrots and ice cream)

2) a 1986 Japanese cartoon

3) an Indian movie

4) an even cheesier Iranian movie

5) a documentary on the Iran-Iraq war

I’ve had almost every Friday lunch I can bring to memory listening to the Friday sermon playing in the background. IRIB1 made sure to start the live program a full hour before the sermon began to showcase the environment and the “revolutionary spirit of our people.”

Apparently the spirit was a no-show this time as there is no sign of it on TV.

Meanwhile, how the Chinese government gets its citizens distracted from the economy? By whipping up H1N1 hysteria to go along with ever-present xenophobia:

Apparently, a passenger three rows in front and five seats across from me on the flight had tested positive for H1N1 ... The set-up promoted the narrative that H1N1 was being spread by "foreigners." Quarantined businessmen told me they'd had contracts canceled by their Chinese colleagues, and my Shanghai hotel informed me that my room rate would be triple what it had been if I wished to return.

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