Gay Iranian catfight!

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    Dec 06, 2013 5:35 AM GMT
    Read on for how a trashy reality TV show this week put a dizzying new spin on divisiveness in the gay community re butch and femme, caste and class, immigration, overcompensating for oppression, national self-identification and what's too gay to "properly represent" in the U.S. and less tolerant countries.

    One of my guilty TV pleasures is "Shahs of Sunset," centered around a group of Iranians identifying as "Persian" in Los Angeles who are lifelong affluent and/or educated Muslim and Jewish friends and their similar circle, because it's an interesting cultural perspective you don't see very often. But what struck me with particular interest was this week's "gay catfight" episode:

    Basically, the most popular character Reza, a wry gay Persian Beverly Hills realtor from a mixed Jewish-Muslim family, went off on Sasha, a younger Iranian neighbor that his non-Persian live-in boyfriend Adam met at their apartment building's pool. Adam had brought Sasha back to their apartment for drinks thinking the two would hit it off since both of them were Persian and gay and told Reza about it during Reza's drive home from work. But upon meeting the invited guest Reza was offended by this, particularly since he considered Sasha "fresh off the boat" (since Sasha had arrived in the U.S. only five years earlier and his english was only nearly perfect) and not in his class (since Sasha was born in post-1979 revolution Iran, similar to how Cubans in my native Miami felt about refugees from post-1959 revolution Cuba). (Presumably Reza would normally not have come into contact with someone like Sasha because he was "slumming" in an $1800/mo rental he'd rented with Adam to "try out" living together, with the implication that Adam, who paid an equal share, felt free to invite a neighbor over for drinks without asking permission.) Reza is far from what anyone here would consider butch, yet he angrily criticized Sasha for being "too gay," not properly representing Persians and bringing down that community by flouncing around West Hollywood in ripped tank tops and daisy dukes. That led to the second catfight in the above clip (actually to me, the less interesting of the two) in a Persian gay bar that Reza's lifelong hot straight Jewish-Iranian friend Mike (they'd both grown up in tony Great Neck, Long Island), who admitted to once being a homophobe, suggested they visit because Mike thought (similarly to Adam re Sasha) that Reza would like it because Reza was gay and Persian (similarly offending Reza). There, after pronouncing the bar crowd beneath him and then spotting Sasha meeting and greeting friends, Reza called Sasha's brother, a new arrival from Iran who'd been a pharmacist there, a "faggot," reducing the allegedly low class brothers who'd fled to America to escape oppression to be free to be themselves to tears, and upsetting Mike. Teasers from next week's show reveal that Reza's long suppressed traumas literally came home to roost by Sasha's presence in his home, which in turn triggered his uncharacteristic bad behavior. Perhaps he was angry at how much more unsuppressed Sasha was able to be despite growing up in an even more oppressive version of a gay-unfriendly Muslim country - Reza's own, Iran.

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    Dec 06, 2013 5:45 AM GMT
    I'm not a fan of the show but find it somewhat entertaining at times, usually when MJ and Gigi are fighting. Reza is an ugly human being, IMO. I saw a promo for this episode and decided to check it out, for the first time this season. Reza was wrong at every turn. Who the fuck doesn't know that calling someone "fresh off the boat" is an insult? Then he calls Sasha's brother a faggot? The least someone could have done was throw a drink in his face!
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    Dec 06, 2013 4:36 PM GMT
    unfounded7 saidWho the fuck doesn't know that calling someone "fresh off the boat" is an insult?

    Yep, what was really interesting to me was that to illustrate how insulting that was Sasha retorted "You're fat, but I don't just come out and say it" (or some such), prompting Reza to completely miss the point and order Sasha out of his apartment in which Adam paid an equal share.

    Moral of the story? You can call a gay man fresh off the boat, but never, ever call him fat!

    P.S. - During the second catfight at the bar Reza's gal pal M.J. immediately and casually referred to Sasha as fresh off the boat, then when asking Sasha his side of the story kept interrupting to tell him that he'd been a disrespectful guest, primarily because he'd nervously rested his foot upon Reza's ottoman. Despite him yelling, Sasha came off as the more civil and intelligent of the three - though maybe it was because he was the least drunk. They drink like fish on that show!
  • coolarmydude

    Posts: 9196

    Dec 09, 2013 4:32 AM GMT
    "I missed that!"