Iranian-American journalist Hooman Majd separates facts from fantasies about the Iranian protests

June 25, 2009                                                                                                                            Salon

"A friend once told me that I was the only person he knew who was both 100 percent American and 100 percent Iranian," writes Hooman Majd in his book on Iranian culture, "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran."

The consummate insider and outsider, Majd served as the English-language translator for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's now infamous 2006 speech at the United Nations, and also wrote about the experience for the New York Observer.

The son of an Iranian diplomat under the shah, and grandson of a powerful ayatollah, Majd grew up mainly in the United States where he worked for many years in the entertainment industry before launching his career as a journalist and author. Although openly linked with the reformists -- he wore green Iranian slippers on Bill Maher's program last week and has also translated for former President Mohammed Khatami (to whom he is related by marriage) -- Majd's views on Iran are distinguished by their nuance and fierce independence.... (more)

A big gay Mormon wedding

October 31, 2008                                                                                                                 Salon

The Church of Latter-day Saints has pumped millions into Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage. But for one devout family, the politics are personal. 

"Love each other, be selfless, negotiate," George E. Redd III said to his son Jay on his wedding day recently. Gazing at his 36-year-old son standing next to his beloved, in the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco, Redd III quoted Paul, Ringo, John and George: "All you need is love, love is all you need."

It was hanky time inside the chapel, a cozy wooden Arts and Crafts building that could have been airlifted in from a village in Scandinavia, or perhaps the Shire. There's nothing like the father blessing the son at a wedding, with Irish folk musicians strumming in the background, to get the tear ducts flowing. Especially when the son's gorgeous spouse is another man.

A few weeks after the wedding, Jay, a movie director based in Los Angeles and San Francisco, told me that his father's Beatles reference had taken him totally by surprise.... (more)