Episode 32 Occidentosis

The Shah and Empress of Iran, along with Walt Disney, prepare to ride the Matterhorn at Disneyland. Their early- 1960s visit was meant to express the Shah’s pro-western sympathies at the height of the Cold War. Yet powerful voices in the post-colonial world were already questioning western values, including the unchecked materialism and consumerism that a place like Disneyland represented. In Iran itself, Jalāl Āl-iAhmad diagnosed the problem as one of ‘occidentosis,’ i.e. the corrosive effect of western culture and institutions on non-western peoples and cultures.

Our History

Have you been feeling a little hollowed out lately? Listless? Not much appetite? Everything starting to taste like a badly overcooked Trump steak marinated in yesterday’s bathtub water? Well, you might just have a case of occidentosis. But not to worry friends, the semester is almost over and the saucy boys are making a history house call. Our diagnosis? You’re just a little queasy from the rollicking Matterhorn ride known as Western Civilization with cheap thrills that fail to deliver. Seems we’ve all been binge eating too much bad amusement park food served up western style, full of consumerism’s empty calories, seasoned with cheap retail democracy, and deep fried in a greasy batter of corporate hooliganism. Not to worry, the HAG doctors are serving up a healthy diet with plenty of good food for thought. So pull up a chair, grab your forks, and dig in to another episode rich with history’s essential nutrients.

Jalāl Āl-i Ahmad.

To listen to Episode 32 Occidentosis click on the podcast link below:


Sources Referenced and Items of Interest

Jalāl Āl-i Ahmad, “Occidentosis: A Plague from the West” (1960s)

Aimé Césaire, “Letter to Maurice Thorez”

Jimmy Carter, “Energy and the National Goals – A Crisis of Confidence” (1979)


“It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation. The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America.”

Jimmy Carter

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