Safety School

Hosted by

Hello, this is Svetlana Maksimovroskrlsaya with Social Studies for KCRW.

I thought I would be able to avoid Mahmoud when he came to New York last week, but sadly I had already committed to session with him and I have strict no-cancellation policy for both me and my clients. In short, I had to go through four-hour nightmare of post-talk pep session with him over his performance at Columbia University. He's never happy with anything this guy. First thing he does when he sees me - He starts complaining that Columbia was not his first choice, that he had really wanted to speak at Harvard or Yale.

"Columbia is poor man's ivy league," he tells me, "and their campus does not have secluded east coast intellectual feel because it is in center of the city, its not really campusey."

"Be happy that Leo invited you to speak in the first place", I told him. "Last month you were complaining to me that you were the only one not invited to Ayatolla Al Khameini's weekend getaway remember? You couldn't even get PSA slot on your own television network, now you are complaining as if you had speaking engagement at SUNY Binghamton!"

"Yes, I know," Mahmoud says, blinking his puppy dog eyes at me. "But this Leo guy he made false promises. He assured me that if I came to speak, there would be chocolates and fruit cup in green room but when I got there they only had one cheap Hershey bar and the fruit cup had too many melon chunks, you know they always try to jip you with big melon chunks and not enough other fruit like raspberry because melon weighs more and then you end up paying for heavy melon pieces and not getting diverse selection of fruit in cup." Oh my God, my head was exploding at this point.

"You are such a nudge, Mahmoud, With you glass is always empty. Let me ask you something. Did you not make mockery of United States by performing in prestigious venue for the very people you help destroy? "Yes. OK."

Did you not successfully get out propaganda about Israel and your peaceful nuclear program in eloquent fashion?

"Yes, fantastic."

"So if we look at this objectively Mahmoud, this was successful mission, despite the fact that it was not at your first choice of schools and the chocolate was sub-par, right.


"So what can we learn from this experience, besides the fact that academics are in love with their own ridiculous ideas of how evolved they are?"

"Well," Mahmoud said, "besides learning what you just said, I also learned that I have to be less self critical and focus on my talents, like good manipulation skills and strong facial expressiveness, I have to be positive and most importantly I have to learn to be content with the opportunities that are given me."

"Exactly, Now eat your matzo ball soup, before it gets cold, I know you hate when the Matzo balls congeal."

I am telling you it was nightmare. After the pep talk I had to suffer through Annie Hall and two hours of watching Mahmoud do Woody Allen role play, putting on Yankees cap and other inappropriate accessories.

I don't know why he's so obsessed, I have not seen good Woody Allen film in years, Match Point was horrible, with this Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers, so over-sensual this guy, like his lips are constantly sucking on some imaginary sex lozenge or something.

Interesting choices Woody Allen makes what can I tell you. Speaking of which, there was very cute but pointless short Asian girl in this new Julie Taymor film Across the Universe which I just saw last night. I was actually looking forward to this film because I love Beatles and I usually like Julie Taymor's work, Titus was fantastic film and Frida I liked also, even though Salma annoyed me with her whole "no moustache" decision, I mean come on, it was integral part of Frida's persona – why do you think she looks like Tom Selleck in her self-portraits? I mean how could you ignore moustache? And I remember saying to her at the time, "Salma you are making Hollywood vanity mistake." But she denied it.

"I am serious characters actress" she said to me, "And I thought moustache would be distracting from my performance."

"Distracting?" I said. "You thought moustache would be distracting? You are four feet tall and have breasts that reach Oaxaca, that is distracting?!"

Anyway, I have to go. Its almost five o'clock and I am now in mood for little afternoon mescal. This is Svetlana Maksimovroskrlsaya with Social Studies for KCRW. Adios.



Iris Bahr