Iranian space monkey

I hear the Iranian space program has taken another giant hop by blasting a monkey skywards. Animal rights groups have condemned the venture for traumatising the monkey and making it scared of heights (a fatal phobia for any tree-dwelling primate). The Iranians have called their critics hypocrites for not protesting when NASA sent chimps into space in the 1960s. The monkey is currently eating pistachio nuts and unavailable for comment.

I have two points to make to the Iranian government:

1. Chimps are not monkeys;

2. Why the hell are you trying to copy the Americans anyway? “Monkey see, monkey do” is not a valid reason for a major national enterprise.

If there’s one man who could persuade the Iranians to stop all their monkey business, it’s Patrick Duffy. Playing Bobby Ewing made him recognised throughout the world as the nice American you could trust not to kick your ass unless you really deserved it. In a recent interview, he described what happened when he drove though the red-light district of Paris on a family sight-seeing trip. “Booby, Booby!” cried the French tarts, as they mobbed his car and begged to kiss him.

This could never happen in Iran, of course. For one thing, all the prostitutes have either been imprisoned or forced into marriages where they have to work for free. But nothing in the world could stop the Iranian masses from taking to the streets and shouting “Booby, Booby!” if they saw Patrick Duffy in a car. Trying to kiss him would be a capital crime, but anyone who blew kisses in his direction would probably be let off with a whipping.

Such adulation for an American actor might convince the Big Beards of the Islamic Republic that producing a world famous TV show would do more for Iran’s image than sending a monkey into space. Can you imagine what an Iranian version of Dallas would be like? No, I can’t either, but don’t tell me you wouldn’t watch it. Maybe the J.R. character would wear a turban instead of a Stetson and barter oil for wives with cunning Chinamen. And maybe Lucy Ewing would be a sulky little minx in a niqab, always falling for clean-shaven gay men trying to escape the country.

Not all nations have revealed themselves to the world in TV shows, which makes them a fertile template for fantasy and myth. A few years ago, a Chinese newspaper told its readers about a town in Sweden populated by 25,000 lesbians wearing “thick waist belts full of woodworking equipment”. The men of China were incredibly excited by this news and googled furiously for pictures and tourist information. The Swedes eventually denied the story, but perhaps they should have founded the town to keep the Chinese interested.

If any Swedish lesbians want to set up a colony the Congo rainforest, I will use my good offices to cut through the red tape and provide them with tree-houses and open-air bathing pools. The gorilla habitat is extremely lesbian-friendly, and it’s about time Davy Attenborough had a new species to wax his lyrical tongue on.

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