Last week, the Iranian government organized a conference on "Hollywoodism" in Tehran, at which an international group of activists, religious figures, filmmakers, and politicians discussed the ideology of Hollywood films. In particular, many of the participants argued that films like Argo promote an anti-Iranian, anti-Islamic agenda.
One of the more suprising participants in the event was Mike Gravel, the former two-term Alaska senator, best known for reading the Pentagon Papers into the public record, who ran in the Democratic and Libertarian presidential primaries in 2008. During the campaign, Gravel attracted attention for his anti-establishment views as well as his unconventional advertising. Since leaving electoral politics, he has spoken in support of WikiLeaks and called for a new investigation of the 9/11 attacks.
According to the New York Times, Gravel argued at the conference that it was "'fundamental' to discuss the American movie industry's ways of portraying Iran in order to prevent 'an insane war.'"
I spoke with the 83-year-old Gravel Thursday on the phone from his home in California about his impressions from the trip.[view whole blog post ]