The Alicia Silverstone movie Clueless is a clever update of Jane Austen's Emma, but I never thought of it as a milestone of Iranian culture.
Hey, ya learn something new every day:
The hit 1995 teen movie “Clueless” might be known best for introducing Americans to Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd, but first-time novelist Porochista Khakpour remembers it for another reason: It injected Iranian Americans into the U.S. popcultural consciousness.
“There’s that scene when (Silverstone’s character) Cher says, And that’s the Persian Mafia. You can’t hang with them unless you own a BMW.’” Khakpour, 29, delivered the line in an authoritative teen-queen squeak. It was a “hideous” milestone for Iranian-born, South Pasadena, Calif.-bred, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Khakpour, substituting for the stereotype of Iranians as veiled women and religious fanatics another unappealing notion — of an excessively wealthy, insular immigrant community “in shoulder pads and gold jewelry.”
Khakpour’s goal was to challenge both stereotypes in her first novel, “Sons and Other Flammable Objects,” which was published this fall. Her main characters, like her own family, are resolutely middle class and are more Zoroastrian than Muslim.