The Motherland Needs a Word With You

Earlier this week, while taking a leisurely stroll along the information superhighway, I came across a peculiar image. Shot by Steven Meisel, it shows some of our best models dressed like something between a tea cozy and a Commie jackass. Paused by this discovery, I realized that it had gone too far. The Motherland was speaking though me, as if to say “Back up the Russia-philia train for just one moment, son”. I am but a messenger.

It is certainly not “wrong” to be inspired by an aesthetic, but when does inspiration breach on clownificated abuse? Example: I love Japan and its many offerings but draw the line at food & fashion inspiration. The second you see me throwing peace signs in photos, wearing a bejeweled eye patch or mixing half-baked Japanese slang into my speech, feel free to shoot on sight. So where do we draw the line when it comes to Russia-worship?

Borat advertising did it, countless graphic designers and industrial bands are guilty of If. The most common offense is replacing characters with similar-looking Cyrillic ones. One perfect example is this Repo! poster. If you were to actually read what film title spells out it would sound like “Yah-eh-roh Mdi”. What could have been a fine piece of art is now a buffoon. Take heed, designer.

More friendly observations below the jump.

We’ve previously touched on the misrepresentation of Russian women in the States. The Stoli Hotel website continues the trend of Russian-girl-as-easy-access with its virtual receptionist. Donning an inexplicable fur coat behind the front desk she expresses special interest in “personally welcoming you”. Once inside, another young lady would just love to give you a private tour of the premises. Would it been less effective to present the hotel as an all-things-Russian establishment instead of a luxury cat house? Browse here.

You’ve read Lolita and watched the original Solaris. You’ve seen the propaganda art and maybe you’ve sewn a few Soviet patches to your Steampunk frock. Perhaps you’ve even been to Russia and returned with your eyes full of stars and snowflakes. It’s all well and good until the fur hats come out. Remember, the Motherland is watching.

Bonus: McCain plagiarizes Soljenitzin


LOLWHAT

46 Responses to “The Motherland Needs a Word With You”

  1. Ben Blench Says:

    *Totally* agree about the Cyrillic abuse. Drives me nuts.
    Also, isn’t it strange the way nobody bats an eyelid if you cop Soviet propaganda styles, but Nazi swastikas and the like are a huge no-no? This despite Lenin, Stalin and the rest’s killing many millions more than Hitler ever managed.

  2. Alysa Says:

    Heheh, awesome post. Living with a Russophile, I have constant exposure to this stuff. Now Russia watches US!

  3. Zoetica Says:

    A fine point, Ben. It punctuates the offenders’ lack of real knowledge of Russia and its history. Maybe if everyone read The Gulag Archipelago, eh? That could be a start, anyhow.

  4. kristen Says:

    Hi Ben, agree with you on that but the difference is because Lenin/Stalin et all did it during a time of so called peace and thus was ignored by the rest of the world, where as Nazi crimes were done during war time and thus made far more public to the world.

    i cant stand parodies of any culture really. Though i seem to love parodies of historical looks…go figure.

  5. Camilla Says:

    I have a friend who made tour posters in that weird Anglicized Cyrilic. When I asked him why he was so into Cyrilic, and if he knew how to actually pronounce what he had written on his poster, he asked me what Cyrilic was.

  6. Amanda Says:

    ::hate:: the Cyrillic abuse, partly because it confuses me when I try and read it correctly.
    And an agreement to comments above by Ben. I’m always befuddled by the appropriation of Soviet things for fashion. And many people who take part don’t even realize they’re soviet styles in the first place!

  7. Peter S. Says:

    kristen,

    Good points. As well, Hitler’s crimes are seen as against a specific population and Stalin’s are seen as being against his own people, and Hitler’s rise to power is seen as an exploitation of anti-semitism, vs. the people rising up against a feudal monarchy. Gross oversimplifications, of course, but since many see it that way it makes it easier to accept Stalinist artifacts.

    I suppose the reality is that Stalin was in some ways worse than Hitler, but Nazi artifacts are associated with a single political party, and things like Constructivist work are (generally) seen as the expression of a larger artistic/societal impulse. It’s easier to distance that impulse from the cult of personality that existed at the time, and so to reclaim the positive aspects. (And for all that, the VW Beetle was a direct result of Hitler’s financial backing, a Nazi-related artifact that has transcended origin.)

  8. Tanya Says:

    I went to see The Decemberists, and a bunch of teens and early 20 somethings at the show looked like some clownish-hipster version of the impoverished Proletariat, in their colorful folk scarfs worn around the neck gangster style; striped socks (what?); brown leather boots and military canvas messenger bags; caps with ear flaps; and Communist slogan pins. I mean there were at least half a dozen of the types near me. Maybe I’m an old fuddy duddy; maybe I just hate the coopting of my culture, but I guffawed at them.

  9. Zoetica Says:

    Tanya, that’s one group I left out of the post, only because it’s not quite as widespread as the other examples, but I am 100% with you on the gut reaction. Right or wrong, I can’t help but chuckle.

    A Gogol Bordello show was the same for me, especially after I went backstage and found Eugene’s accent had disappeared. Still an excellent show, mind you, but I felt several degrees of amused embarrassment for the Valley-girl-in-kosynka [folk scarf] audience contingent.

    Hmm, what to call this Russian folk music & fashion revival?

  10. Mark Says:

    I tend to dislike pointless Cyrillic abuse too, and the issue of double standards in the relative ‘acceptability’ of Nazi and Stalinist iconography is really interesting.

    However, I also see hypocrisy in the fact that almost any instance of red Cyrillic still tends to be automatically and specifically associated with one of the darkest periods in Russian history, while my own nation (England) gets away with looking quaint whenever traditional fonts or design styles of our past surface.

    Of course, even though he could hardly be credited with having invented many of them as such, I do realise that Stalin did a lot to embrace, refine and cement the sorts of design shown in the Repo Man poster above. But I do still find it interesting that we don’t tend to associate, say, ‘Olde Englishe’ pub sign stylings – even where they crop up wildly out of context, especially in other countries – with one of our nation’s historical horrors. (Our long campaign of brutally heavy-handed colonialism?) In fact, the connotations of said styles tend to be taken as quite the opposite: quaint, quirky and harmless.

    However did we swing that one?

  11. Mark Says:

    Ps, Zo – can we call it Gypocrisy? ;)

  12. Zoetica Says:

    Mark, you raise an interesting point – I’ll credit a large of the issue to the power of design. Red, white and black, so loved by Soviet and Nazi propaganda, forever remain staples of potent advertising, Cyrillic is just along for the ride.

    Gypocrisy doesn’t quite flow for me, though I keep hearing “Gypsy Punk” around and that brings me even less joy. I’ll leave the terminology open to discussion!

  13. creativename Says:

    Mark,

    It’s because that design and type was not as eye catching and emotionally stimulating as the propaganda arts of Russia and Germany, and even the U.S.A.

    There is a reason it was successful propaganda art to influence people, and not just a typeface used during a certain time.

  14. Courtney Says:

    Brilliant article!

  15. David Forbes Says:

    A good post, Zo and this is a fascinating iceberg topic. I remember hearing The Decembrists interviewed on NPR once, and when asked about why they chose their name, one of the band members basically said “it’s exotic.” To their credit, they at least knew what the Decembrist revolt was.

    There’s a universal tendency among humans to mish-mash (ok, steal unrepentantly) cultures, especially whatever is perceived as the new thingy from “over there” or people just think it fits well into an aesthetic. It’s a tendency old as history and inevitable. At its best, it powers no small amount of interesting art, literature and even fashion. Everyone has some fun and, as you say, hopefully some people actually bother to crack a book, travel or otherwise broaden their understanding of the world in the process.

    But the line you point to, the border to “clownificated abuse” is a fine one, and it usually gets breached at rocket speed, along the way combining with cultural cluelessness, bad taste and some pretty nasty stereotypes. This, sadly, is just as universal and endemic. Hell, I still cringe at most pop culture depictions of Southerners, and those are usually coming from people who actually live in the same country.

    Not all of it is -phillic, “socialist” and “commie” still get used as slur words in political discourse all the time, even at the local level. They’re used completely out of any rational context, of course, a zombie reflex from the cold war (as are the oft-accompanying depictions of one’s political opponents in Soviet style right alongside Marx).

    McCain’s a perfect example. He’s stealing from Solzhenitsyn, sure, but he’s also pulling out all the old Cold War monsters-under-the-bed about Russia in response to the recent Georgia conflict.

    My nominee: Kossassery

  16. Jon Munger Says:

    Don’t EVEN get me started on the Gypsies. Try to take my gold teeth, will ya…

    Isn’t it funny how overprivileged suburbanites co-opt other cultures, the more oppressed and xenophobic the better. I’m waiting for Darfur-couture, myself.

  17. Thews Says:

    d3s1gn3rs 5h0uld u53 1337 [email protected] it looks equally funky and wont offend people, or confuse people who try to translate what they are reading

  18. m1k3y Says:

    k33p [email protected] n00bz @[email protected] fr0m my 1337!

    yay for Bears in Hats!

    does this mean i should shelve my CCCP tee for a while? hmm

  19. cappy Says:

    I totally agree about the stupid mixing of Cyrillic and western alphabets, however the problem to me is that they’re just too similar.

    I’ve been trying to get people to use the Shavian alphabet to fix this. :P

  20. marsiouxpial Says:

    i’m a bit torn on the subject- one could suppose that the pseudo-cyrillic is a tribute to the russian avant-garde art movement, the hotels website demeaning of all women and the use of sex appeal in advertisements,and the photo the result of aome poor souls attempt at artistic vision. as for john mc cain, oh, politicians will be politicians.

    but, nonetheless, the subjects used to illustrate the misguided allophilia ARE dreadful for the use of stereotypes and inaccuracies.

    however, i think they may have some hope- at least they are presenting a little culture, and hopefully, that smidgen of culture may inspire a person to research and discover the ever delightful russian culture, if they choose to look for any substance behind the image, or message. it may seem like a long stretch, but its perfectly plausible, as long as the theoretical person has an open mind and a thirst to learn.

    it shows at least people are interested in russian culture,if not well versed in it, and its a drastic change from former treatment of russia itself-
    glorification sure beats the days when russia was portrayed as everyone’s arch enemy…

    in short: there IS hope. it’ll take a while, but it’s there, i promise!

    it reminds me of japan’s interpretation of western culture-gyaru, anyone? the aspects that they find beautiful or interesting of western culture have been taken and make them into their own, regardless if they are going off stereotypes or not- it’s a sort of strange assimilation process that has both good and bad products.
    (one example i can provide of that phenomenon is this: the reason why one sees the word “FUCK” used liberally as a design on clothing, is similar to the reason why a person would use pseudo cyrillic- it’s merely aesthetics rather than a political statement- the word, if one doesn’t have knowledge of the meaning, is very pleasing to the eyes. the word is composed of two angular letters sandwiching two curved letters- its a very balanced word in that sense!)

    and a moment to whine and be egotestical:
    awwwwwwwh, i’m a “folk scarf” fan! i like to delude myself into thinking i look good in them, especially while trekking out in the high desert when the temperature is oh….100 degrees….

  21. Tanya Says:

    Zoe: Oh boy. Gogol Bordello. You’re talking to an ex-ardent and proud fan. First saw them when they were still fairly small, about six years ago. They made me insanely happy and I went to every single show after. I still love their sound, but no longer enjoy myself around the fanbase. Eugene did have a tiny bit of an accent the one time I hung out with him, but I’m sure it’s probably gone by now, or highly affected when it is there.

    Glad you know *exactly* what I’m talking about. Valley Girl babushkas. Oy.

  22. R. Says:

    Cultural appropriation is an evil I can’t tolerate. >_< There’s a part of me that wants to punch the offender in the face and a part that wants to give them a thorough lesson in culture and why it’s okay to admire it, but to steal shamelessly and abuse it is just wrong.

  23. Dave L. Says:

    “I’ll leave the terminology open to discussion!”

    Siberpunk? (First two syllables sound like they do in “Siberia”…I’ll get me coat.)

    And I’ll only stop wearing my Moscow State University shirt when it disintegrates completely.

  24. johnny Says:

    What an irony this life is. I am born & living in Serbia, cyrillic is our official script and yet i get very little opportunities to use it in my everyday job as web designer. And we all know how uber kool mega cyrillic looks.

  25. Dave Says:

    I loved Franz Ferdinand’s avant-garde homage with the “Take Me Out” clip. You can get it right…

  26. felina Says:

    R. Says:

    August 26th, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Cultural appropriation is an evil I can’t tolerate. >_< There’s a part of me that wants to punch the offender in the face and a part that wants to give them a thorough lesson in culture and why it’s okay to admire it, but to steal shamelessly and abuse it is just wrong.

    wow…..you must really hate white people with dreadlocks

  27. naomi Says:

    Both sets of my grandparents left Russia for England/America/Canada after a wave of pogroms in 1905. I wear a Soviet Army issue fur hat in the winter. Why? Because the Tsar & the USSR are gone, but my grandparents’ grandchildren are now grandparents. The best revenge is living & to me that hat is a trophy & a badge.

  28. stephanie Says:

    this is a VERY interesting discussion because I have had the same problems with my own culture being appropriated over and over again. most of the time the Japanese are just a simple stereotype. Not much has changed even living in an ‘uber’ liberal San Francisco. Being Japanese and a female I am still a sex object and my art (isn’t it supposed to be liberal?) school is full of misogynistic, uncultured students and faculty. I am very proud of my heritage and I always feel that pang of pain that Zoe feels as well as most of the responders, when something is ‘misappropriated’ from our perspective cultures.

    at the same time, when i see someone who actually KNOWS how to speak the language, understands the history, etc i am taken aback and am happy to see that it isn’t taken lightly. it’s a good thing to be cultured but i also think that it’s important for separate cultures to thrive. i hate the fact that the japanese language is being watered down with engrish and japanese words that i speak are simply outdated. cultures are lost once things are completely mixed together.

    as for the use of fuck in japan, japan’s religious background isn’t christian, but rather buddhist/shinto so swear words like we have don’t exist in the culture. it’s not as taboo as it is here and it’s a ‘cool’ english word. there is full nudity shown in children’s cartoons, shunga has existed for years but then the counterbalance is the strict social hierarchy, etc.
    marsiouxpial: i don’t think there is ANYTHING good about the gyaru culture!!! especially the ganguro!

    at some point we are all guilty of falling into being a ‘-phile’ of some culture or another because what you are not, is always exotic and interesting.

    mark: i think another reason why old english fonts is so popular is because it’s part of the West, the euro-american west which has been glorified, admired, etc to date. Historically Russia and everything in Eastern Europe is not part of the West regardless of skin colour. Everything ‘good’ is still clumped into Euro-America but things are changing!

  29. foxtongue Says:

    Which reminds me, actually, of a site I recently discovered that offers customized Chinese propaganda portraits in oil. “Maoart paintings integrate with virtuosity real people’s faces into faithfully reproduced propaganda posters. Based on a photograph provided by you and a poster of your choice, an artist renders you as a socialist hero.”

  30. gooby Says:

    I’m all about cultural appropriation. I think there’s “cool” stuff all over the world and I wanna incorporate it into my life.

    As a South American, I don’t enjoy going around in my vueltiao and my ruana every day. I have had many a mohawk in my time, and would not be able to tell you much of the mohican culture. I have worn many big fuzzy Russian hats because I liked the way they looked. I wear Chinese jackets with emblems I don’t fully understand on them, and Japanese silk dresses as well. And so much military chic that was rooted in symbolic reappropriation, which just became hot, and I am guilty of that as well. I have a room in my house decorated like my romanticized film influenced version of a Chinese Opium den, and other parts of the house done in Victorian.

    In my art, I draw from things I have seen from all over the world, from so many points in history, and I recreate them in a way that makes sense to me.

    The cubists were accused of appropriating African art, and though I am not that much of a Picasso fan, I AM a fan of many artists influenced by him. And lets not forget the African roots of Jazz and Rock as well.

    I am a thinky monkey, and am ok with cultural appropriation. Some people embrace the rich history and meaning behind their influences, some are clueless and wear what they think looks neat. I will reserve my rights to think that things just look bad, or to complain when I see something blatantly ripped off, or to giggle at the whiteys running through the park wearing bindis, bonking their doumbeks, but overall, I’m ok with it.

    Their grass is WAY greener. We find things exotic and romantic, we digest it all, and crap out something that someone else will eat and crap out as something else.

  31. Erin Says:

    Interesting topic. As a lolita, I know the feeling all too well, as I slog through endless internet posts of girls throwing up peace signs, listening to nothing but J-rock, reading only manga and eating only sushi. It’s all definitely a measure of exoticism, and while imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, it’s also very creepy and all too easy to see through.

  32. marsiouxpial Says:

    stepahnie: gyaru was the only thing i could think of for the cultural approporation of western culture and japanese culture due to my lack of sleep plus turkish coffee addled mind…
    and, man, you’re preaching to the choir….gyaru makes me feel all funny inside…

    and i know how you feel about being treated as an object- as a first generation iranian i am viewed as either a terrorist or some strange exotic creature who doesn’t know a thing about american culture. if i had a dollar everytime someone asked me if i celebrated thanksgiving, if i have a flying carpet, if i am muslim…. but that’s just how some people are. fear and ignorance make people that way- its something to pity rather than to be enraged with.

    and i completely agree with gooby! without culutral appropriation there would be no color in life! if it wasn’t so there wouldn’t be any japanese tea ceremony, the parsi of india, art nouveau,brazilian carnival, the hamsa in both jewdaism and islam, the hare krishna movement, buddhism in japan or china and so on, yiddish,among many other things. its what makes anthropology interesting- its not only the study of seperate cultures, but how they interact and the results of those interactions. one of the more famous acts of cultural appropiration is the silk road-the intermingling of the many cultures influenced art, religion, food,tehcnology-it’s how buddhism and islam transferred to china and the technology of china transferred to other parts of asia and the west!

    its a little xenophibic if one wants culutres to stay seperate and untainted. as in everything in life there is never a “good” or a “bad” thing- cultural appropriation DOES have is bad aspects (the americanization of many cultures, the loss of many languages) as well as its good. it’s a mixed blessing.

    the best example of the “good” aspects of cultural appropriation is the culture of brazil- it is the result of the intermingling of japanese , portugeuse, african, indigenous cultures which has created some of the most beautiful art, food, literature and religion that i have ever encountered. (as for the japanese aspect of the culture, the two countries traded for quite some time, and with trade of material goods comes trade of ideas. as an example,the japanese word for bread is portugeuse word “pan”, and without it, there would be no anpanman!!!!)

    in the end, all human desires, ideals, fears and superstitions are the same- eveything is universal.

    /ramble

  33. Stephanie Says:

    ahhhhh!!! anpanman!!!!! that’s so great that you know about that! see!! i’m all excited now, like i said i would be. man, some green tea and an anpan sounds great right now. i think it’s weird boozy cravings.

    marsiouxpial: i think your ramblings were well worth it. you put it better than did.

    i LOVE turkish coffee so no harm in that. i think the best thing to turkish coffee is the “blue bottle” brand in sf that we have here. funny about the cross cultural thing: they bought a japanese made machine that spews out some apparently fantastic coffee after about 20-30 mins of brewing. the machine itself costs thousands of dollars. i have not had the pleasure of drinking the coffee but my friends call the cafe the ‘crack house.’ :D

  34. marsiouxpial Says:

    hooray! i feel all warm inside! and its not because of heart burn!
    (i know a little something about japanese culture…but not in the “OMG HAI BAKKA NEKOCHAN I LIKE NARUTO AND POCKY OMG HAI” sort of way….)

    but i need to know- did you ever watch samurai pizza cats?! no one believes me that it exists!

    thank you!
    i can raaaaaaaaaaamble on forever….really i could…..see….the long paragraphs and verbose and boring prose was merely a teaser…(i’m a little iffy about the whole “soviet propaganda”=stalin shindig here. russian avant garde became immensely popular during 1917-1932, and many of the artists were involved politically, which never comes to a good end. after stalin came into power, he took control of the arts, and socialist realism, which is more thomas kinkade than cutting edge, was born, as they wanted a realistic populist style as to be better understood by the masses. thus, psuedo-cyrillic and strong graphics shouldn’t bring good old uncle joe to anyones mind, really…

    and….heh……nazi propaganda wasn’t in the modern art mode or cutting edge….remember hitlers hate for modern art, and his degenerate art show? he was into the realist, populist style as well

    and eugene hutz is inspired by his romani and ukranian heritage….and brother, that ain’t russian fo shos…..)

    see! i ramble….painfully so!

    turkish coffee is the reason for the season. no doubts about it.
    i used to live near san francisco! in a little and damned hamlet called fairfield….
    if i ever migrate back north, i’ll take your word and become a crack whore…..

  35. Tequila Says:

    Cyrillic script, The Soviet Union era, and Russia in general have such a varied and strong impression on The West that it’s no surprise some of it is so off the mark. It all went from being THE ENEMY to NOT THE ENEMY to WE’RE JUST NOT SURE ANYMORE in a span of about 20 years.

    The Cold War era seems so far in the past now that it can be downright campy to think about and explore for quite a few coming out of their teens. Cultural Appropriation as a result becomes more of an exploration of the unfamiliar than an ignorant exploitation of the misunderstood.

    We’d like to think people would do something as simple as go to Google and search up on Russia, its history, its languages, etc. before doing anything with them…but that’s just not the case. I think for many it’s like finding a parents record collection…it’s strange, unfamiliar, confusing, and without a clear start or end point. So the best way to explore is to jump in a bit ignorant about what’s what with hopes it’ll all make sense at some point. To be fair over time it does for most and with surprisingly positive results. One needs only see the love affair the US now has with Japan. That took quite a bit of time and started off nearly as bad as the stuff pointed at above.

    “…isn’t it strange the way nobody bats an eyelid if you cop Soviet propaganda styles, but Nazi swastikas and the like are a huge no-no?…”

    The Soviet Union lasted longer and essentially burned out. So its iconography went from intimidating, to symbolic, to campy, to now historical and a genre unto itself. The Nazi’s had to be taken to the gallows and hunted down. As a result none of that lost its bite even when it was played campy in stuff like Hogan’s Heroes. Plus so much of that was embraced by hate groups since then that the brutality continued even after the Cold War ended. Some guy in a CCCP shirt (just saw that last night at my local 7-11 actually) isn’t saying anywhere near what a person wearing a swastika is…

    Or are they? That’s kinda the other strange part of Cultural Appropriation in that over time everything changes it’s meanings or picks up even more. After all the Nazi’s appropriated the swastika, Soviet era creations like the AK-47 have become THE symbols for revolution anywhere, and well we’ve all seen the appropriation of tribal symbols for just about anything.

    With Cultural Appropriation now in high gear thanks to the ye olde internet… it’s allowed for anything from any culture to become trendy, influential, or utterly hilarious within a heartbeat. It may muddy the waters even more than the examples above but it could end up breaking down cultural divides faster as a result. It’s pretty clear most of us here already thrive on that so the responsibility does rest in those who know the history and meaning of things to educate those that don’t…unless they’re a sorority girl who thinks her tattoo means “inner peace” but actually stands for “flatulent cow”. We’ll just leave that one as is.

  36. SteveCooperOrg Says:

    я люблю медведи гризли в шапках

    Those hats are something else. I want one. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. And I want the bear and his little hat. *sotto voce* I want him so bad.

    Anyone care to offer links or thoughts on better culture mashups? What good fusion do you like? Or are these things always doomed to failuяe?

    And what about subcultures that takes from history, not geography, the way trad goth & new romo takes from victorian and edwardian fashion? The past is a foreign country, after all.

  37. Mer Says:

    Buh buh… but I WUB mah furry hat…

    (It’s vegan! Does that make me less of a douchenozzle?)

  38. BlueAnchorNatasha Says:

    Two points. The first being, that while I actually do read many entries, I have yet to comment. Its usually because Im so overwhelmed by how many interesting articles there are here. One could quite literally learn something new every day. Coilhouse is also a love letter to the literate. As far as Russia-love, I have to say that even though I am a bit guilty of heritage flaunting, even going so far as to name jewelry pieces after various members of the Romanov family and periods of Russian history, the moment I saw the Borat logo font, I wanted to slap some sense into everyone involved in the film. I still have not seen the film and have no intention of doing so. Cyrillic abuse is ignorant, its irritating and its just as bad as the American misuse of the German word ‘über’. Its not cute people, its grammatically INCORRECT. It makes me think, thats ok though people, you can make a jackass of yourself, Ill just pretend you dont exist. If theres one thing that sets me off, its misuse of foreign languages, whether it be whole words or phrases or the font in general. Cultural ignorance? Ohhh, dont even get me started on that one.

    Over and out!
    Natasha

  39. paul blume Says:

    a question for Meredith:
    ‘vegan’ fur coat?
    this intestests me…
    does it mean fake fur or the fuzz scraped off vegetables that have been in the refrigerator too long?

  40. Mz. Red Says:

    Here are some real ones…
    http://0rchid-thief.livejournal.com/658885.html

  41. Joseph Francis Says:

    I tried to do something red and black and Cyrillic for the trailer to ‘The Hunt for Red October’ (1990) – but it it didn’t fly.

    :D

  42. Morgan Says:

    i entirely agree. You raise very many interesting points here, and i enjoyed reading them.
    The girls in that photograph look absolutely ridiculous, so much so it actually irritates me. Speaking of irritating, Cyrillic abuse is aggravating and ignorant. People constantly get away with abusing culturally symbols like that, and i find it endlessly annoying.
    Thanks for writing the article, it was great to read.

  43. Because Says:

    And in answer we have this comic: http://wondermark.com/d/188.html

    And in answer to that comic, we have this shirt: http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TO&Product_Code=WON-ELEPHANT&Category_Code=WON

    (Hope the links work.)

  44. Daniel Gorringe Says:

    I think that aggravation over appropriation of culture misses two salient points:
    1) No matter what artistic methods (in this case, cultural appropriation) are used by large advertising and film promotion, it will be cheap and offensive.

    2) There’s a failure on the behalf of the Russians here to grasp the essence of English-speaking culture; theft. Our cultural motto is “I like that. That’s mine now.” Or should we still be wearing night shirts instead of pyjamas and speaking pre-goidelic Celtic?

  45. Ian Ridley Says:

    Wow, I didn’t really know those (what appeared to me to be) stylized letters in those fonts were actually Cyrillic. Now I’m really conflicted because, while I can’t help but drool over that propaganda poster aesthetic, it is indeed really dumb to mush together two different alphabets.
    It just looks so cool!

  46. Danno Says:

    “Maybe if everyone read The Gulag Archipelago, eh?”
    -Good grief. Where is my fucking brick? Ya’ll put your big girl panties on and stop bitching.