Edward Snowden Insults My Intelligence

Russia seems to play a prominent role in current events these days.  We have their anti-gay policies, their annexation of Crimea and desire to take over all of the Ukraine, and their harboring of Edward Snowden.

Yes, this “hero” Snowden thought for some reason that certain other countries might be more admirable in their actions than the United States.  While I’ve expressed negative thoughts about the NSA actions he revealed, I don’t quite get why he didn’t contact someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee (for example) who, if I’m not mistaken, has a legitimate right to learn that information and the power to perhaps slow the abuses.

Have the abuses slowed?  I thought not.  And now he gets to see lots of worse stuff in Russia.

And so, inspired by Snowden’s naive belief that foreign countries act for the common good instead of in their own national interest, I would like to present a song.  You may recognize it as a parody of the Tears for Fears classic:

Welcome, Comrade Ed.
There’s no turning back.
Even while you sleep,
We will use you:
Acting on your information,
Glory be to Russian Nation!

Everybody wants to rule the world.

It’s our own design.
You’ll have your remorse.
You helped us decide,
Helped us take the most
of freedom and of treasure.
Ukraine could not last forever.

Everybody wants to rule the world.

There’s a room where the Feds won’t find you,
Full of mice ‘til the walls come crumbling down.
When they do, I won’t be behind you.

So glad we’ve almost made it.
So sad you can’t now trade it?
Everybody wants to rule the world.

I can’t stand your dear old country.
It is ruled by rabid monkey.
Everybody wants to rule the world.

Say that you’l never never never never mean it
when you say borscht is spleen! It
is not what we’ll use to rule the world.

The world’s freedom and its pleasure
Can no longer last forever.
With your help we will soon rule the world.

Russian Teddy Bears Insult My Intelligence

Ever since the Olympic opening ceremony, people have been complaining about how the mascot looks drunk, how it gives children nightmares, how it destroys the Olympics’ intended spirit.

Here’s the cute little perpetrator:

Photo courtesy of the Presidential Press and Information Office via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2014_Winter_Olympics_opening_ceremony_%282014-02-07%29_01.jpeg   It has been cropped from its original version.

Photo courtesy of the Presidential Press and Information Office via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2014_Winter_Olympics_opening_ceremony_ %282014-02-07%29_01.jpeg (It has been cropped from its original version.)

I’m sorry, but this fellow doesn’t seem like a worthy opponent for Godzilla, or even for a three-year-old boy.  In fact, he kind of looks like a more adorable version of Dick Cheney… which means we should expect a couple of heart attacks if the bear continues getting all that exercise.

Heart attacks don’t scare children, especially if the victim is furry and cartoonish.

That ain’t right.  The Olympics deserve a mascot who can inspire the masses to emulate the athletes, namely in that they end up moving very very quickly.    And I will skip over the tired old jokes about Russia… you know, the ones that lampoon how everything in Russia seems drunk and belligerent.

I prefer not to pursue such cheap humor on this blog.

Instead, I would like to introduce a more suitable animal who should have been chosen as mascot.  Meet Dvar the bumblebee, a veritable VIP in Russian cultural circles and connoisseur of warm weather.

This image was slightly modified from the original on "Oramah Maalhur."  The bee is unchanged.

This image was slightly modified from the original on “Oramah Maalhur.” The bee is unchanged.

Oh, and he sings too… this entity so great that he was once rumored to be a creation of the almighty terrorizer of children, Michael Jackson.

He reveals himself in dreams to the anonymous band that adopted his name and they distribute his musical revelations to the world.  What better symbol could have emerged for an event named after the residence of ancient gods?  And the singing even sounds like it came from a children’s show.

All hail Dvar!

Ethnocentrism Insults My Intelligence

Ah yes, the Olympics have arrived and the Russians have been celebrating… except gays and lesbians and guest workers and thirsty people and anyone who wishes to use a restroom with exactly one toilet in it.

That list goes on longer, I know, but I’m not here to rehash commentary that has appeared in a million places during the past few days.  Instead, I’d like to talk about our friend, Vladimir Putin.

The original is Putin’s official photo, courtesy of http://www.kremlin.ru . They grant permission to modify the image, but I doubt that this is what they had in mind. If i disappear tomorrow, no, I was not planning to take an exciting and sudden vacation in Siberia.

The original is Putin’s official photo, courtesy of http://www.kremlin.ru . They grant permission to modify the image, but I doubt that they had this in mind. If I suddenly disappear tomorrow, that “exciting” vacation in Siberia was not undertaken by choice.

As you can probably tell, I intend to discuss the outrage people are expressing over his statements and policies on homosexuals and homosexuality.  Many are claiming that the whole issue has given Putin a black eye and destroyed his ambitions for showcasing Russia’s greatness during the Games.

Granted, Putin deserves a black eye, but I wonder if he doesn’t come out ahead in all of this.

Hear me out.

It’s easy to forget that the LGBT issue is only controversial in certain countries.  He’s in line with the economically and politically critical Arab countries (and Iran) as well as numerous African countries and India, among others.  He was already on the outs with many Western European countries and the U.S.

Need evidence of those preexisting rocky relationships?  Let’s chat Ukraine.

To me, the whole controversy benefits Putin; he’s driving  a cultural wedge between us and more restrictive nations that will place him on the side of the countries whose friendship he wishes to maintain in the midst of his exploits in the Caucasus (and other places).  There’s more to geopolitics than the U.S. and Europe…

Of course, that makes him relatively immune to contrary arguments.  His LGBT policy, in such a scenario, amounts to little more than the political calculations of a shrewd tactician.

And the protesters are dancing and singing Kumbaya (and some are competing) and asserting that they’re changing the world because their message is getting out.  And in doing so, they forget one of the central Olympic tenets, namely that the Games represent a meeting of all nations and cultures.  That includes the many countries that impose a death penalty on homosexual activity.

Nevertheless, the protesters have managed to raise awareness of the issue among Americans who were already aware of the issue.  For that, the world owes them a profound debt of gratitude.

Broken Promises Insult My Intelligence

See?  I said I’d be back at the end of my last post.

And silly me!  It seems that I forgot to tell you who the band is.  (The title of this post is “Broken Promises Insult My Intelligence,” not “Lying Insults My Intelligence.”  Very important distinction… )  They’re a Tuvan group called Yat-Kha.  In case you’ve never heard of it, Tuva is located in southern Siberia near the Mongolian border.  The language is Turkic in origin and the culture more closely resembles Mongolian than Russian.

And the vocals, a longstanding art form, are known in English as throat-singing.  Here’s an unofficial video of a song and I’m sure you’ll agree that they don’t growl their lyrics:

Reality check: someone who was “desperate” to join the Western mainstream would not sing so much of an English-language song in Tuvan.  (This was one of the songs the review cited as desperate-sounding.)

And in the interest of full disclosure, here are links to the reviews I mentioned in my last post:

(the main review)

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2003/may/09/popandrock.shopping4

(the second review)

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2010/oct/28/albert-kuvesin-yat-kha-cd-review

And the picture in my original post was of an instrument that Yat-Kha sometimes uses in their songs.  It’s called an igil.

Lastly, I promise not to be so obnoxious in the future until it suits my purposes again.  The Weekly Writing Challenge wanted me to leave you hanging over a cliff this time around.  I hope the view was nice and that you have not become flattened like Wile E. Coyote.

Unless you taste like pancake…

Meep meep!