Thursday, April 13, 2006

The last hope for peace in the Middle East...

It seems to me that the unfolding crisis in Iran is largely the result of their leadership's unwillingness to abide by Dr. Phil’s Ten Life Laws. In the interests of world peace, let’s go through them one by one, shall we?

Life Law #1: You either get it or you don’t

You hear that, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Listen to the Texas pop-psychology phenomenon, because he’s not just talking to twangy housewives here. He’s also talking to you. Yes, you, President of Iran and all-around scary fellow! Open your heart to his homespun wisdom and his no-nonsense bromides, won’t you? You want to be the boss of a nation that “gets it”, right? Well, we’re right with you! Imagine us, the American people, as a great big studio audience. We boo you at first, sure, but we’ll applaud like crazy once you realize the error of your ways and free the blubbering, wounded boy beneath that stern, anti-Semitic mask you wear. We don’t want to hate you, Mahmoud. We only want you to let Dr. Phil help you “get it”. Just as long as the “it” in question is self-awareness and a newfound appreciation of your emotional center, not nuclear missiles.

Life Law #2: You create your own experience

Close your eyes, Mr. Ahmadinejad. Close your eyes and let Dr. Phil’s words sink into your soul: “If you choose thoughts contaminated with anger and bitterness, you will create an experience of alienation and hostility...” You can see where we’re going with this, can’t you? But don’t hurry yourself: take some time for silent reflection, perhaps aided by deep-breathing exercises. After that, you might feel that you owe some people a big, goopy apology. Not only for their sake, but also for yours. Far be it from us, the Global Arrogance, to suggest the journey you should take, but perhaps one of those apologies ought to find its way to a certain nation who’s feelings you’ve hurt more than any other. Need a hint? Their name starts with an “Is-“ and ends with a “-rael”. Just consider it, alright? That’s all that the United Nations and Dr. Phil asks of us.

Life Law #3: People do what works

It’s useless to pretend anymore, Mahmoud. We can see the cracks in your tough-guy facade, no longer can we ignore the quivering lip beneath your well-trimmed beard. As regular Dr. Phil watchers, we know these words are like an arrow of shimmery goodness shot right into the most delicate and secret part of your being: “...Be alert to the possibility that your behavior is controlled by fear of rejection. It’s easier not to change. Try something new or put yourself on the line...” We know that there’s a pretty ballerina stuck inside the zealous despot. We know there’s a deserty Netherlands lurking under your gloomy theocracy. Let it free, why don’t you? Sure, Saudi Arabia might laugh at you, but that’s their problem. Maybe by this time next year, your nation will be known as a hotbed of modern dance and you, yes you, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will become the first Middle Eastern ruler in a tutu.

Life Law #4: You cannot change what you do not acknowledge

Take to heart Dr. Phil’s clever line: “You’ve got to face it to replace it”. I don’t know if that rhymes in Persian, but in English–trust us–it manages to be both profound and pleasant on the ear. And don’t forget this bit of insight, either: “If you lie to yourself about any dimension of your life, an otherwise sound strategy will be compromised”. This strategy you’re now pursuing, Mahmoud, we worry that it may be compromised. You ought to step back, take thirty to forty years to work on Mahmoud’s issues and Mahmoud’s feelings before you try to take any more steps towards global hegemony. Otherwise, as Dr. Phil has foreseen, it might end badly. Take our American leaders as an example as to what might happen when one turns a blind eye to Dr. Phil. You don’t want to be like them, do you?

Life Law #5: Life rewards action

Huh. We better read further here: “Make careful decisions and then pull the trigger. Learn that the world couldn’t care less about thoughts without actions”. Hmmmmmm...

On second thought, let’s forget about #5, why don’t we?

Life Law #6: There is no reality, only perception

So true! Think of it this way, Mahmoud: there are no nations with nuclear bombs, only nations that perceive themselves as having nuclear bombs. If this is true, and we can’t see any reason for doubting it, why don’t you just spare yourself the expense and trouble and criticism of making nuclear bombs and simply act as though you’ve already made them? Wouldn’t that be easier for everyone? You’ve been so busy trying to catch up with the great western powers that you’ve neglected the one crucial proving ground of this race–your own mind! Don’t feel bad, though. Beating up on yourself won’t further your life-strategy any...

Life Law #7: Life is managed; it is not cured

Here Dr. Phil is trying to tell you to stop thinking of Iran as some sort of “sovereign nation” and instead picture it as more like a Stuckey’s franchise. Will you drum up more business by threatening to push Burger King into the sea, or do you earn customers through clean seating areas, friendly service, and free soda refills? It seems to us that any responsible and prosperous Stuckey’s manager could tell you the answer to that, Mahmoud. Just take us for an example: we elected ourselves a CEO president and look how well we’re doing! It’s a golden age for fast food over here!

Life Law #8: We teach people how to treat us

This one strikes at the core of things, doesn’t it, Mahmoud? Especially this Solomonic utterance, which we urge you to imagine being spoken in Dr. Phil’s nasal hillbilly tones: “If the people in your life treat you in an undesirable way, figure out what you are doing to reinforce, elicit or allow that treatment”. Right now, countries the world over are being mean to you for wanting to build atomic bombs. How have you asked for this treatment, Mahmoud? Have you provoked it simply by wanting to build atomic bombs? And maybe, just maybe, by being more than a little unfriendly about it? So why are you always blaming others for reacting to your provocative, attention-seeking gestures? Why is that? Is it because you’re insecure? It’s okay, Mahmoud: we’ll loan you some affirmations and a stack of our pre-highlighted self-help books. They’ll do wonders for your outlook...

Life Law #9: There is power in forgiveness

So maybe you and the rest of the folks in Iran ought to forgive us over here for all that shady Mossadegh/Shah business way back in the annals of ancient history. Why, that stuff is so far gone that seven-eighths of us don’t even know it happened! And if the average American doesn’t know it happened, you know it must not be very important...

Life Law #10: You have to name it before you can claim it

In other words, you have to know what you want before you can achieve it. Oh sure, Mahmoud, we can hear you feebly objecting: “I know what I want! I want bunches of nuclear bombs!” But do you really? Deep down, really? No, and even a big hunk of denial like you can’t pretend that it is. What you really want, Mahmoud, is respect. So why don’t you just ask for that? Why go through all this pretense of getting big, evil weapons like we have? Why don’t you just stop by America one of these days and say, “Hello, my name is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and I am President of Iran, an Asian nation with a rich history and many mineral resources. We humbly request your respect...” We wouldn’t laugh at you, Mahmoud. We would welcome you with open arms. After all, we’ve been listening to Dr. Phil for years now, and–as you can see–he’s made us a country of self-assured, accepting, flexible, confident, can-do people with life-plans and workable visions for the future. He can do it for you too, Mahmoud, if you’d only let him. Won’t you let him?