Attended a Marjane Satrapi lecture at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the best parts of which were cocktail party-style anecdotes and Satrapi’s visible enthusiasm for life. She displayed remarkable humility when asked about current events in Iran, saying that she hadn’t been back to Iran in 13 years and was not qualified to opine. Having started out as a talented chronicler of her personal story, with the graphic novel Persepolis, she now offers opinions on how the 7 billion other folks on Planet Earth may live in harmony. She tried to comfort the audience with the thought that only at most 18 percent of the world’s population are fanatics. The audience reacted warmly, presumably indicating that very few had reflected on the fact that 18 percent of 7 billion is 1.26 billion and that there is no evidence that the remaining 82 percent are sufficiently passionate about politics to oppose them. Satrapi talked briefly about the rise of the Nazis in Germany, attributing Hitler’s popularity to economic difficulties. She essentially argued that all cultures and religions are equally good or bad and that all people share a universal experience. She drew a parallel between Christian and Islamic fundamentalism, pointing out that the Christian who kills an abortion clinic doctor is the same as a Muslim terrorist (not sure how this squares with the obvious facts about what typical Christian fanatics do, e.g., join a monastery or spend their lives ministering to sick people in a malaria-plagued jungle). Satrapi criticized suicide bombers for irrationality, saying that humans have a natural survival instinct (she did not point out that some suicide bombers may earn economic benefits for their families (see Der Spiegel)).
If nothing else, the lecture demonstrated that one thing is universal across all cultures: when an artist acquires Hollywood fame, he or she will begin to claim special knowledge of how world peace may be attained.