In the past couple of weeks, we have been talking so much about Culture, the meaning of Art, and what is true Art and what is not, and all o’that. For years and even decades, Western media has making fun of Russians for being stodgy and unreceptive to “edgy” art and culture. A tin of soup on a pillow, a stuffed dog hanging from the ceiling of a museum – now, that’s real art, and the Russian bydlo are just too philistine to appreciate the genius of it! Every time ordinary Russian people went out into the streets and demanded: “Take this thing down, it’s crude, it’s not real art!” the Western press would explode in ridicule. “Those Russian peasants are so stupid and primitive, they just don’t get it!”
Well, now it appears that the shoe is on the other foot. Or, should I say, the “skate” is on the other foot! Because a Russian figure-skating team came up with something truly edgy, and the Western world is in an uproar! Westies don’t like this brand of edgy, it’s too naive and uplifting — they only like edgy when it’s cynical and degenerate!
To get the back-story and the typical Westie response, check out this piece in The Guardian. And note the headline: “…Dance by Wife of Putin Official….” God forbid they would drop the propaganda lede by not injecting it right into the headline!
In a display of egregious sexism, The Guardian’s headline reduces star ice dancer Tatiana Navka to her role as Hausfrau. She is just the wife of somebody. To be sure, Navka happens to be married to Dmitry Peskov, who works as a government official within the Putin administration. And nerdy Peskov was extremely lucky to bag this gorgeous and talented lady. But is her marriage to Peskov Tatiana’s only claim to fame? No. As a matter of fact, along with various other titles, Navka was the 2006 Olympic champion in ice dance, along with her then-partner Roman Kostomarov.
So, this is basically what happened: Russia has a reality TV show called “Ice Age”, which is similar in concept to an American show called “Skating With the Stars”. The conceit is that a famous non-skater (in this case, Russian actor Andrei Burkovsky) takes skating lessons and is teamed up with a real skater, in this case Tatiana Navka, an actual Olympic champion. The teams (each team consisting of one skating amateur paired with a skating pro) compete against each other, in front of a panel of actual skating judges, using technically simplified but artistically meaningful programs. In many cases choreographed by top-tiered dance coaches. The miraculous (and impressive) thing about this whole concept, is that the amateurs are able to learn fairly complicated skating tricks, including jumps and even lifts. The reason this is impressive — people who haven’t taken skating lessons may not realize just how difficult figure skating is. The top skaters that you see on TV, have been practicing for hours every day, for many years, to learn those jumps and spins and intricate footwork sequences. It is just as difficult as classical ballet. No kidding.
To continue: This particular pair-skating program was put together by a Jewish choreographer named Ilya Averbukh. His concept was this: That two Jewish parents are trying to raise their son in the Auschwitz concentration camp. They keep assuring him that everything is okay, and that all the horror they see around them is just a game. Eventually Papa is taken away to be shot, leaving Mama alone in her grief and horror. The music for the program is a song called “Beautiful That Way”, by Israeli singer Achinoam Nini. In other words, this was a very Jewish and pro-Jewish production; and the idea as a whole was taken from an Italian Academy-Award winning movie called “Life is Beautiful“. Which is about a father raising his son in a Nazi concentration camp. With such a pedigree and a pro-Jewish political underpinning, not to mention the edgy costumes and the sheer daring of it — this should have become a Westie favorite – no?
What Does A Propaganda Orgy Look Like?
No! The Westie press hated the program, heaped scorn on it, almost went ballistic with frothing-at-the-gills type propaganda. The Guardian response was relatively mild. For actual rabid pulling out all the stops, you need to check out what the Russia-hating “Beast” had to say. Note how Anna Nemtsova manages to insert every possible anti-Russian and anti-Putin propaganda meme, under the pretext of critiquing a figure-skating program. Which, by the way, she is not competent at all to judge, since she wouldn’t know the difference between a double-Axel and a twizzle if you paid her twice the going rate.
“the wife of Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov…”
“to the very top of the Kremlin’s power vertical…”
“the level of late-Putin era hypocrisy and cynicism…”
[quoting various anti-Putin Opposition flaks such as Yashin, who never won any votes in any election let alone artistic competition, and enjoys zero popularity among the Russian people]:
“today they give highest points to an entertaining dance program which features Holocaust symbols….”
“The show was awful,” Moscow-based Russian historian Irina Sherbakova told The Daily Beast in an interview on Monday. “It demonstrated how tasteless and deaf the authors were, that to them anything, even the symbols of the massacre that murdered six million can be entertaining, can be sold for money.”
“Shoah mockery …..”
“in 1935-1939, the period of Stalin’s Great Terror, during which the Soviet government murdered between 600,000 and 1.2 million people.”
Followed by a malicious slandering of the Peskov-Navka marriage and family:
“Peskov and Navka have been in the center of various public controversies before. Liza, Peskov’s daughter from his first marriage took her mother’s side and publicly criticized Peskov during her parents’ divorce. Last year anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny found that the spokesman’s Richard Mille watch was worth more than $400,000 — far more than Peskov officially earns on a public salary. To explain away the luxury item, he immediately said that Navka had bought it for him with her own money. Withal, he has survived the scrutiny and his wife is likely to survive ignominy.”
Hint: Navka is rich. She became a millionaire from being an athlete super-star and winning at the Olympics. Peskov married into money. Navka, in turn, acquired what Russian women consider to be a real catch of a hubby: He has a steady job and he doesn’t drink.
And here is another sentence from Nemtsova’s poison pen, consisting of only 31 words, but containing at least three stereotypical propaganda points, see if you can pick them out:
“Putin seems to like Peskov a lot, they are both convinced that Russian people can be fooled and brain washed,” said Stanislav Belkovsky, a presenter at Russia’s only independent TV Rain.”
But, sadly, all of this libel and propaganda is to be expected from Russia-hating Westie media outlets such as the Guardian and Beast. This is what they do. They can never have anything good to say about anything coming out of Russia. Unless it is a Russian saying bad things about his own country or government.
And Next, A Reeely Big Shoah!
Tomorrow I will complete this piece, when Russia fights back. Russia’s Champion being the fiery Kremlin spokespeson Maria Zakharova. Who basically tells these johnny-come-lately figure-skating critics where they can shove it. And also calls them to task for their blazing hypocrisy.
But first, let us actually watch the figure-skating program together, and you can judge for yourself if it is emotionally effective in what it is trying to say. Here is my personal opinion, for what it’s worth, and I have some knowledge of figure skating, as a skater myself (not a good one, but still something beyond the average person on the street):
I personally think that the Navka/Burkovsky program is brilliant. It is touching, genial, uplifting, and emotionally profound. Like the judges remark, the underlying theme is the fragility of human life, coupled with the resilience and strength of the human spirit.
The skating couple surmount the main technical challenge, which is that of pairing an amateur with a pro. Instead of egregriously dumbing down what Navka can do, they utilize the “child-like” theme with great effectiveness to mask her virtuosity. The child-like gait and show of seeming awkwardness are utilized and synchronized perfectly with the musical choice. Navka generously allows her partner to show off all the things that he can do, and he is amazing, especially given that he is not a pro; and yet shows that he has mastered basic throws and even overhead lifts.
Without further ado, here is the skating program itself, within the context of the TV show. If you like, you can just watch the first 3 minutes, which is the program itself, and skip the last few minutes, with the Judges comments and the scoring and so on. (Hint: All of the judges — and these are professional figure skating judges — gave them perfect 6.0 scores.)
And tomorrow we will discuss this show some more and work through Zakharova’s response to the anti-Russian propaganda orgy with which this program was greeted in the Westie press.
[to be continued]