Perhaps in Marjane Satrapi’s comic-strip memoir, Persepolis, her father felt that the quote above was rather sound. Having lived in Iran through the fall of the Shah and the Iranian Revolution, the new government that was installed was founded on strict religious beliefs, thus the women were forced to wear veils in public and anything secular was prohibited. And though Iranian politics and sentiment do not mix, sentiment was the only thing that allowed Marjane and her family to live within the confines of the Iranian government.
Some families in Iran, like the Satrapis, threw parties despite the dangers of being caught by the Iranian government. Marjane explains some of the Iranian’s views: “Without them it wouldn’t be psychologically bearable,” or “Without parties, we might as well just bury ourselves now”. On the way home from one particular party, the Satrapis get stopped by a law enforcement officer and he follows them home. Marjane and her grandmother pour out all of the alcohol in the house, for it is forbidden, but then her father pays off the officer and is disappointed that all the alcohol is gone, saying, “My G-d!..I need a pick-me-up…”
Marjane has a certain way of putting a dark-comedic spin on such horrifying events, and this dark humor is patch worked throughout the entire memoir, giving it a certain life force – unearthing the horrifying nature of the fighting and repression in Iran, yet allowing the reader to actually continue reading without feeling the need to down a whole bottle of anti-depressants, as Marjane does in the film. Instead, she uses her own humor as a medicine for the reader, which is exactly how the Iranians themselves got through these difficult times. For instance, Marjane’s childhood friend, who lost his arm and leg in the war, made jokes as a way to cope as did many of the soldiers.
At the end of the first part of Persepolis, Marjane’s family sends her to Vienna to further her French education and to allow her free spirit a bit more freedom from the repressive Iranian government. Thus politics and sentiment can mix, if one finds the right concoction. Marjane herself said that she would move away from France today if public smoking was illegalized, finding the correct mixture of politics and sentiments for herself yet again.