Russians React To Megyn Kelly Firing – Part I

“He was a large, broadchested, powerfully-made man, of a full glossy black, and a face whose truly African features were characterized by an expression of grave and steady good sense, united with much kindliness and benevolence. There was something about his whole air self-respecting and dignified, yet united with a confiding and humble simplicity.” 

Blackface Minstrel shows de-humanized Negroes to the point of unrecognizability.

Thus does Harriet Beecher Stowe introduce her titular character in one of the great classics of American literature.  And it speaks to something truly evil in American history, and in the American character, that this great literary personage, the very emblem of human goodness, was transformed, via blackface minstrel shows, into a laughing stock and target of scorn and hatred.

Dear Readers:

So, yesterday NBC News confirmed that Megyn Kelly has been fired from the “Today” show.  While there may have been multiple causes for the cancellation, including high costs and low ratings, most pundits seem to believe that the immediate cause was an unfortunate utterance from Megyn concerning the issue of “blackface”.  By even using this one word, Megyn touched the “third rail” of American journalism, and therefore had to be burned at the stake.  Actually, everybody knows that there are two “third rails” in American journalism.  Two taboos that can never be broken:  (1) You are not allowed to criticize Israel, and (2) You may not use the n-word.  (Or talk about blackface — so maybe that is a third third rail!)

The issue at hand was Halloween costumes, and somebody posed the question whether it would be okay to go as Diana Ross.  Megyn should have kept her silence, instead she opened her mouth and inserted her foot:

“But what is racist?” she asked a panel on her show. “You truly do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface at Halloween or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. That was OK when I was a kid, as long as you were dressing like a character.”  And with those three innocent sentences, Megyn sealed her own doom.

Megyn The Victim

The world of American High Journalism (aka the Ministry of Propaganda) is a brutal, Hobbesian dog-eat-dog kind of environment.  Megyn herself has been a true victim on more than one occasion.  In her capacity as a female person.  For example, Fox News Bestial Chairman Roger Ailes treated his beautiful female anchors as just so much meat on the chopping block.  Megyn and the other pretty blondes were perennial targets of his revolting porcine libido.

From the frying pan into the fire!  Megyn next got herself sexually harassed by the Master Himself:  Donald Trump!  As a presidential candidate, Trump initiated a brutal feud against Megyn. Showing that he has no class whatsoever, Trump’s highly disrespectful remarks about Megyn even included a coarse reference to menstruation.

But this time, gotta admit it, Megyn did it to herself.  She knows the rule now:  You can say the word “black”, and you can say the word “face”.  And you can even put these two words together in a sentence, for example:  “I stand face to face with the black starry night.”  But what you can’t do is even say “blackface” as one word; let alone defend its practice.  Farewell to Othello!

But What Do The Russians Think Of All This Nonsense?

Well, I reckon it’s safe to say that certain Russian pundits are having a field day with this, because they think the whole issue is ludicrous.  Which it is.  For example, the anchor of the Russian “Vremya” show (“Time”), Kirill Kleimenov, invited Megyn to join his show as a co-anchor.  Kleimenov enticed Megyn with the promise of “the adoration of millions of our men, and the envy of millions of women!”

Well, I reckon Megyn’s Russian is probably not good enough to co-anchor a Russian show; but I am betting she could get a gig on RT’s American channel, if she were so inclined!  Otherwise, the Russian pundits are probably just indulging in some Schadenfreude at America’s expense.  And they just don’t get it, why Megyn had to be fired for such an innocuous remark.  So they laugh their heads off at American “Political Correctness” run amok.

Kleimenov: Would hire Megyn as his co-anchor.

Okay, one must be “fair and balanced” in this matter — just like Fox News!  God knows I frequently criticize Idiot-Americans for not understanding Russian culture and history.  But, by the same token, Russians don’t really understand American history either.  And they don’t “get” the whole race issue.  Why would they?  Russian history did not include African slave-running, African slavery, African colonization, racial segregation or Jim-Crow.  There is no essential beef between Russians and Africans.  Russia has only a very small African-based ethnic group.  Oh, I don’t deny that these people sometimes elicit stares or experience “street racism”, or that individual Russians might entertain prejudice against the darker-hued.  But in terms of institutions, vicious caste-based discrimination such as American Jim-Crow, never occurred in Russian history and is simply alien to the Russian mentality.  Which trends to be inclusive and multi-humanistic, in that sense.

True story:  An indignant American tourist asks a Russian tour guide:  “Why do we see so few blacks here?”  [as if that were proof of racism or race-based immigration policies]  Tour guide replies:  “Because we never had colonies in Africa.”

Russian history (not unlike the Roman Empire) is a history of absorption of various ethnic groups, or at least the elites of various ethnic groups, into a single multi-national entity.  As ethnic Russians expanded South and East into Siberia, as they encountered numerous other peoples, the fighting was usually succeeded by the inter-marrying.  First make war, then make love, that was the rule.

The main division was the class division:  Princes vs Serfs.  And a Prince could be anybody, of any race or ethnic group, even an African, like Abram Hannibal.  When Europeans first encountered Africans, they thought they were a species of apes.  When Russians encountered them, they thought:  “Hmm, these people seem interesting…”

Russia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nation.

In a way, and this will go counter to the standard American thought-process, Russian history is much more benign than American history.  For sure, there was a lot of fighting, and a lot of wars; but there were no genocides of indigenous peoples; and definitely no race-based slavery.  So, Idiot-Americans, you need to put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Having said all of that, I now have to make a serious U-turn and describe a recent dangerous development.  Namely, the attempt of certain evil-doers to import American-style black-white racism into Russia.  All part of the insidious Globalization process!  And I also have this opinion piece by Petr Akopov, to review.   In his analysis of the Megyn Kelly affair, Akopov makes some good points, but also falls into a couple of traps, as I will try to show…

[to be continued]

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10 Responses to Russians React To Megyn Kelly Firing – Part I

  1. Mark Chapman says:

    Just for the record, I, too, think it is ludicrous. I don’t like Megyn Kelly, and am not inspired to a chivalrous dash to her defense.Of course she does not know how minstrel shows and the use of blackface once portrayed negroes as lazy and simpleminded – why should she? That was long before her time. How is anyone supposed to move beyond that period if everyone who wants to use the word ‘blackface’ must first study black history to determine if, at some time long, long ago, the concept might have been offensive?

    Liberalism is out of control in the USA today – remember the girl who settled upon a cheongsam for her prom dress, but was not Asian, and had to endure no end of holier-than-thou bullshit about ‘appropriating someone else’s culture’?

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/05/01/chinese-prom-dress-draws-rage-but-utah-student-said-she-meant-no-harm/567846002/

    Do the blacks own blackface? Is it copyrighted or something? Using it as a Hallowe’en costume probably is not appropriate, but she didn’t do that. She merely mentioned the idea, and used the word ‘blackface’. And I daresay a significant number of white people have gone to Hallowe’en parties over the years dressed as Michael Jackson, who was black, although that might come as a surprise to some people. I mean, considering how he went out of his way to appear white, or at least to modify any typically negro features. I don’t remember any white actors or business leaders crying that Michael Jackson was appropriating their culture.

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    • yalensis says:

      I neither like nor dislike Megyn Kelly. She is probably a nice person, and I doubt if she meant any harm. My main concern, and I will probably write some more about this tomorrow, is that certain (unnamed) individuals are attempting to import American-style racism into Russia. Actual racism, I mean, not this silly stuff!

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  2. Nat says:

    I think what Russians are laughing at about this particular story in the US is not whether this is an undeserved or exaggerated accusation of racism but what constitutes freedom of opinion/freedom of press/censure in the US. The US is big on promoting these values. Is expressing a racist (let’s imagine truly racist) opinion ground for firing someone otherwise competent in their job? Even more so in the context of a discussion table where participants/journalists are to give their personal opinions on the issue discussed.

    The other reason why Russians are discussing Megyn Kelly’s firing is because they know her from her interviews with Putin and from moderating the St.Petersburg forum (also with Putin as an attendee). I’m not sure they would have even discussed it if it happened to another US journalist.

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    • yalensis says:

      Those are good points. I should have mentioned in my post that Megyn was already a known celebrity in Russia; and hence the interest in her story.
      As to the other issue, “freedom of speech”, that is a very thorny one, of course.
      Following your hypothetical example of “What if” Megyn or somebody else had said something truly offensive (and not her actual remark, which was not offensive at all, IMHO).

      Employers do set standards of conduct for their employees; for example, in most workplaces it would not be acceptable to use racial language. Having said that, this particular employer is a NEWS agency, and one might think that journalists, of all people, should be the champions of free speech. Especially in this type of round-table forum. So long as people follow some basic rules of conduct, like don’t use the n-word, I absolutely agree that people in the U.S. mass media should be allowed to have a free and open discussion about racial issues, even at the risk of offending other people. And African-Americans, by the way, are not such delicate flowers, they have heard it all before, and from what I have seen, they know how to take a punch, and they know how to dish it back!

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      • Nat says:

        I remember some time in 2014 (it was during the Winter Olympics, which is why I remember the date), I was discussing with a 20-something Navalny fan who was completely outraged at the latest proof of Russia’s backwardness.

        Tv Dozhd had put a poll on its website to ask viewers if they thought the Leningrad blocade was worth it, and if surrender wouldn’t have been “smarter”. There was quite the backlash at the phrasing of the poll question and as a result, cable providers started to pull their financing off TV Dozhd. The young man I was discussing with thought this was completely unacceptable and that it would never happen anywhere else; that in the US or in Europe, you can say absolutely everything you want on tv and not face any consequences. I tried to tell him there were of course taboo subjects everywhere, and you actually could be fired or have a show cancelled for expressing the wrong view on certain subjects, but he was adamant that no, in US/EU you can say even the most scandalous opinions on tv and not be affected. His naivety really surprised me, Navalny fans are supposed to be people of their generation, using the internet, aware of the global world, but he turned out completely ignorant of how the world actually is elsewhere.

        Which is why I mentioned the “free speech” issue and why I think some Russians are mocking this Megyn Kelly story. “Should Megyn or somebody else be able to say something racist freely on tv” wasn’t meant to get an answer on the issue itself, it meant to question the US hypocrisy on the issue. I myself agree with you, certain things like using the n-word are a basic rule of conduct, and it’s foolish to think you can say something racist, sexist, unpatriotic, etc, with no consequences. And the list is expending, the way the US society is evolving, you can’t now say something against gays if you are famous or a news person and expect no consequences. However, that’s exactly what the US media demands from other countries and reports on with an outraged tone when it is not met: total absolute freedom of speech with zero backlash, and if there are consequences, then the whole country (not just the concerned tv channel) is deemed undemocratic. Hence the mocking now in Russia and the multiple job offers to Kelly: Come to us, where journalists are free 😀 Or as was said back in years of the Snowden saga: Russia is not kind of country which gives up those who fight for human rights 😀

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        • yalensis says:

          Aha, I get it! I sensed that there was an element of Schadenfreude in the Russian offers of TV jobs to Megyn. And Russians have every right to gloat at the American hypocrisy,which truly exceedeth all bounds. The fact that America even imagines it can preach to other countries about “freedom” and “liberty” is completely ludicrous in and of itself.

          As to the pro-American Russian kreakles/Navalnyites, I know of exactly which type you speak, these people are unfortunately rampant in Moscow and St. Pete, and they drive me crazy with their ignorance. The term “Useless Idiots” springs to mind…
          🙂

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          • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

            They’d all be billionaires already if the bloody regime weren’t keeping them down.

            Ask them! They’ll tell you.

            Like

            • yalensis says:

              These kreakles missed the boat! If they were born just 10 years earlier, they could have looted the oil and gas fields. Now all they have is crumbs from Khodorkovsky’s table – [sobbing noises]..

              Like

        • ErGalimba says:

          And you have identified the problem: the conflation of the rights of the individual as a member of society e.g. to minimum pay, work, housing, with the rights of the atomised individual in some sort of legalistic and vacuum – the “right” to display minor individualistic statements of difference, and to decant any rubbish, but concurrently that of receiving a subpar pension, poor education, and no support for children. In other words the destruction of a meaninful concept of political and social and economic rights or more accurately the dominance of property rights over all others, including more modern ones.

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          • yalensis says:

            To be sure. American concepts of “rights” are thick with the more abstract rights, and thinner with the more concrete. For example, Norman Rockwell’s famous paintings about The Four Freedoms only include one economic freedom, “Freedom from Want”. The other 3 are more abstract.

            And even those freedoms don’t exist in modern-times America. If somebody had to paint these today, it would be:
            (1) “Freedom of Speech – so long as you express the correct opinions.”
            (2) “Freedom of Worship – Be free to Worship the Almighty Dollar!”
            (3) “Freedom from Want – Insist on getting everything you want, no matter who gets in your way!”
            (4) “Freedom from Fear – don’t be afraid of ghosts, but be sure to check under your bed for Russians!”

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