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Iran: Warnings Of U.S. "Cultural Assault" (KFC On The Menu)

Selfie sticks and holiday cheer in Tehran in December
Selfie sticks and holiday cheer in Tehran in December

Look no further than fried chicken for signs that American influence is returning to Iran in the wake of the deal to end sanctions in exchange for limits on the Iranian nuclear program.

That was the message from influential Republican Guards General Mohammad Hossein Sepehr, who cited the opening of a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Tehran amongst his warnings that "America wants to infiltrate our society, culture, clothes, food, conduct, distractions and the way we pray."

Never mind that the KFC branch in question may have been the one shut down in November, 24 hours after it opened, though it was never clear whether it was an actual franchise or a knock-off, which is anything but unusual in Iran. The KFC's owner had said his eatery was a "halal" version of the global food chain.

The Revolutionary Guards general insists that the West is waging a "cultural assault" on Islamic Iran and its values. It's been a longstanding leitmotif of Iranian public discourse that began with the 1979 revolution, and the message is back in force with a vengeance as Iran emerges from isolation following the international nuclear deal.

Sepehr's comments joined other such declarations in recent days, expressing hostility toward the United States and warning it to mind Iran's many limits.

Another Iranian general accused the United States of trying to "strike at" Qasem Soleimani, the Revolutionary Guards general running Iran's operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, though the report by the conservative Fars news agency did not clarify whether he was accusing Americans of plotting to kill him.

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Influencer Union? The Next Labor Rights Battle May Be For Social Media Creators

With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor.

​photograph of a smartphone on a selfie stick

Smartphone on a selfie stick

Steve Gale/Unsplash
David Craig and Stuart Cunningham

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

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