The Culture Wars continue in force, especially in Russia. I saw this piece in PolitNavigator and the sensationalist headline reads:
On New Year’s Eve Channel 1 showed underage prostitutes from the Ukraine.
Every year Russian TV Channel 1 puts on a star-studded and highly glitzy but also family-friendly variety show counting down to the New Year. Here is the program for the 2017 one. As the clock counted down from 2016 to 2017, viewers were treated to performances by such show-biz stalwarts as Dima Bilan, Sergei Lazarev, Polina Gagarina, the rock group “Leningrad” and many many others. You can click on the link and watch the whole show, or just click on individual segments to see the bits you like. There is something there for every taste. Including, apparently, pedophiles!
So here is the segment which had the blogosphere buzzing. More specifically, popular Russian blogger Lena Miro blogged this about one of the musical acts; and readers will note that Lena’s avatar presents with a very sexy pose, but also remember that Lena is a grown-up woman, so it’s okay to gawk at her avatar’s lovely tushie. Here is what she writes:
Who is Fresh?
Channel 1, I believe, has completely lost its moral compass. On New Year’s Eve they decided to show their viewers who is fresh.
Let me introduce you to the children’s (singing) group OpenKids.
This is a Ukrainian group, consisting of five girls. Two of them are 16 years old, two are 14, and one is 13.
Together with the (rap) group Quest Pistols, the children sang and danced a number called “Coolest of all”.
Here are some quotes from their song: “Who is fresh here?” “Go on, show us what you’ve got.” “Show everyone how you feel.” “Who said it’s not allowed?” “Who is fresh, well, who is fresh?”
These underage Ukrainian girls dressed up like cheap prostitutes showed us who is fresh, and lots of other charming things.
I have no pretensions to the Ukrainian parents of these girls. For this particular country it has long become a custom to send their daughters to earn extra money in Russia. I also have no pretensions to the adult group Quest Pistols, for whom these little girls worked as backup singers. I also have no pretensions to the drunken viewers vomiting up their antipasta salad – they probably didn’t even notice what was on the TV.
The single question which agitates me is this: Does the management of Channel 1 know about a law existing in our country, which prohibits the propaganda of pedophilia?
In my opinion, these little girls, simulating sexual desire, sensuality, and wiggling their bodies on the stage, represent precisely the propaganda of pedophilia. The pervert watches and thinks: “The kids want it.” And he draws the conclusion: It’s okay to have sex with them.
It is repulsive that naked children on the stage, have become the norm for our society, and nobody is paying any attention to this!
Vice instead of morality. Children have become “fresh” meat for the perverts.
The comments to Lena’s blog shows that most readers agree with her, that this so-called “musical number” went too far and probably broke the law.
Judge For Yourself
When Lena accuses Channel 1 of breaking the law, I believe that she is referring to this law which Western critics have dubbed the “anti-gay” law. But in reality the law is broader than just the articles against promotion of homosexuality to minors. It seeks to ban any type of propaganda of sexuality to minors, including pedophilia. This is Russian society’s reaction to being flooded by Western popular culture which features, among other things, the sexualization of children.
Playing the devil’s advocate for a minute: One has to keep in mind that “show business” has its own rules, and its own laws. As someone familiar with the world of dance and figure skating, where little girls are taught to wear make-up and dress in skimpy costumes from a very early age — but it’s really okay, the girls are supervised by their moms, and those are just the rules of the genre — I personally have a very high tolerance for permissiveness in this regard.
In both Ice Dancing and Ballroom Dancing, little boys and little girls, who are well under the age of puberty when starting their training, are taught to simulate courtship gestures and even sensuality, to a certain extent. Like, holding of hands, kissing the girl’s hand, pretending that you like each other dearly, etc. Again, it’s just the rules of the genre. And each genre has its own professional “tricks”. Ballet involves overhead lifts. Hip-hop involves shaking your booty.
But then there is a certain line. It’s one thing to hold hands or pretend to kiss. Another thing altogether to simulate fellatio. Where is the line drawn? When a male ballet dancer has to clutch his partner perilously cloth to her crotch in order to lift her overhead, that’s just normal for ballet. But it’s something different altogether when a rap singer grabs his own crotch to simulate masturbation. Nobody can define exactly where the line is drawn, but as an American Supreme Court judge was famously known to have said: “I know it when I see it!”
But judge for yourself:
Here is the number performed live by OneKids along with Quest Pistols, another Ukrainian pop group, on the New Year’s Eve special show on Russian TV Channel 1. This is apparently a hit song for both groups, who get a chance to showcase their athletic and dancing skills, as well as their singing. The Channel 1 version of the performance is highly cleaned up for family viewing. The little girls clearly toned it down and omitted some of the sleazier sexual gestures which you can see in the video renditions of this song. You can find such videos on youtube. Not wishing to promote pedophilia myself, I picked the “official” version of the video to show you, instead of some of the “racier” versions which are out there:
Above video features some impressive acrobatics and break-dancing, while also including all the usual cheap tricks of our modern hyper-sexualized MTV culture. Lots of crotch grabbing. One must note, though, that all of the female crotch-grabbing is done by the grown-up girl who performs with Quest Pistols. She’s the one with the blonde cornrows hair. It gets confusing though, because she mixes in with the littler ones, and the editing is quick and snappy, so it all blurs together: Adults and little ones. The littlest of the littler ones — she may be 13, but could pass for ten. And she is shown being carried off on a mat by the grown men like some kind of trophy!
Still, even that, I think, doesn’t really cross the line into pornography, although it comes close. And at least they omitted that little gem on the Channel 1 version.
So that Russian viewers, as Lena says, can watch the show in an alcoholic haze and not even notice that they are being sold all the tropes and gestures of hyper-sexualized Western mass culture!