The Jerusalem Post (apparently along with the rest of the world’s news media) has informed us that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has started his own blog. The blogsphere’s newest sensation (or at least, its newest sensation as of a day or two ago) can be found at www.ahmadinejad.ir (WARNING: see postscript below before accessing this site, especially from Israel!), and is apparently available in a bunch of languages including English, French, and Arabic as well as its original Farsi. According to the Post’s story (supplied by the Associated Press), Ahmadinejad’s first entry recounts “childhood memories, the country’s Islamic Revolution and Tehran’s war with Iraq” – possibly a bad move on the newbie blogger’s part, since that much material could easily be stretched out to cover three or four blog posts, keeping the punters coming back for more and building up that all-important Google PageRank rating.
I must admit that my own efforts to peruse Ahmadinejad’s blog have so far proven frustrating: at best, I get a “Server Error” screen. Iran’s President, despite a level of intelligence sufficient to impress veteran CBS interviewer Mike Wallace (who gushed, “He’s an impressive fellow, this guy. He really is. He’s obviously smart as hell.”), has evidently not quite figured out all the technical wrinkles involved in fine-tuning his blog’s HTML code; perhaps he should have taken the easy approach and set up a Blogger.com blog as I did, using one of their standard templates. I don’t mean to criticize, Mr. President – it’s just a friendly tip from one of your new blogging colleagues. Please don’t nuke me!
One of Ahmadinejad’s local colleagues, (ex-?) blogger Keivan Mehrgan (formerly?) of Tehran, dismissed the President’s blog as “nothing more than a publicity stunt” – implying, I suppose, that the blog’s contents are not a genuine personal project of the Iranian leader. I think that the possibly-late Mr. Mehrgan is (or was) being overly cynical – for even if Ahmadinejad did receive a little help in getting started as a blogger, I have no doubt whatsoever that he will soon become as avid a blogger-hobbyist as the rest of us. I fully expect to see him sweating his Technorati rank, refreshing his SiteMeter visitor statistics page every half hour (struggling not to do it every fifteen minutes), and laboring to evolve in the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem from “Adorable Rodent” to “Marauding Marsupial”. (I blush to admit that I’m still a “Crawly Amphibian”.)
It’s a cheerful thought, isn’t it? An Iranian President busy blogging would hardly have time or energy to send nuclear-armed missiles our way, rearm Hezbollah, or otherwise destroy the Western world that provides the bulk of his readership, would he? Sedentary hobbies are notoriously good for keeping Presidents peacefully occupied: look at Franklin Roosevelt, a famous stamp collector. He never got the United States into a war, or even nuked anyone! (OK, he might have used a small, primitive nuclear device or two had he had the chance, but he died a couple of months before the Bomb was ready. In any case, stamp collecting is deathly dull compared to blogging, so my thesis stands.)
Hey, I finally got through! I’d better post this and read what my new blogging buddy has to say. Do you think I can get him to link to me?
P.S. A comment on the Jerusalem Post article referred me to this page, claiming that President Ahmadinejad’s blog tries to install “Trojan Horse” code when Israeli users click on the links at the left-hand side of the blog’s homepage. Users from other countries did not report this problem, so it may be that if you try to click around the site and you’re not in Israel, you won’t experience any nastiness. Wherever you are, though, I would suggest avoiding Ahmadinejad’s blog – or at least treating it with extreme caution – until and unless all such hostile code is purged from the system.
(This post can also be found at the Guns and Butter Blog.)