Argo: “The best bad idea”

We’ve all found ourselves in that situation where none of the options available to us are particularly appealing, easy, or even likely to achieve what it’s hoped they will. Regardless, we have had to make a decision and choose ‘the best of a bad bunch’ (I normally find this happening at every general election).

A colleague of mine yesterday asked me, if all words were put into a melting pot and boiled off, which would be the last to go? In his view, the sediment at the bottom of the pan would be “choice”. I happen to disagree with him, however he’s right in that a huge percentage (not all, but nearly all) of our day to day lives comes down to the choices we make.

Last night, I saw Argo, the new Ben Affleck film, based on the true declassified story of the six Americans that were rescued from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis. In the absence of any other feasible options, the US government ended up sanctioning what was referred to in the film as “the best bad idea”. Without opening up the debate as to whether there’s ever really a bad idea, only ones that succeed and ones that fail, this bad idea turned out to be pretty darn good.

With Canadian passports, the six posed as a Hollywood film crew on scout for movie locations in order to sneak out of the country without arousing suspicion. The true story was considerably less dramatic than the motion picture version (“quelle surprise!”), as the Iranian customs officials apparently “could not have cared less” that six individuals with North American accents were trying to leave without any record of when they had arrived.

Quite frankly, the relative ease with which the six evaded capture and boarded a plane to return safely to the land of the free doesn’t do justice to what was a pretty creative and expertly executed escape idea.


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