I've been looking at the Lonely Planet Iran guidebook... "...wages are lamentable by Western standards..."
Is it possible to measure how curious and knowledgeable about the outside world Iranians are? A review of Amir Taheri's "The cauldron: the middle east behind the headlines" suggested:
"And,yet, it is remarkable how misunderstood the Middle East is in the West. ( The reverse is even more true: as the author of this book shows , Middle Easterners know even less about the West and much of what they know is fantasy!)"
I couldn't find that quote in the book when I looked at it in the US. I think it is true (I need to add many nuances though - later!), but quotes like this about a certain Californian at the Lonely Planet thorntree don't increase my confidence...
``An example of American decadence: Got a neighbor three houses away who has 3 SUVs! One for himself, one for his wife and one for his 16-year old daughter. Each SUV sports an American flag. He also has an American flag attached to his garage and one on a flag pole in his front lawn. He's constantly yelling at his wife and daughter, and he allows his two dogs (German shepherds) to run the neighborhood and shit on other people's lawns. He worships George W. Bush to the point of telling everyone that Bush's profile should be carved on Mt. Rushmore, and he thinks we should nuke Iran because "they're a bunch of commies!". Michael Moore would have a field day with this guy! ''
I saw a lot of SUVs and houses with large American flags and Republican stickers in the Deep South. I'll see if I can find a good picture.