Monday, March 22, 2010

The Herd of Ostracized Minds

I haven't had an exciting social commentary piece for a bit. Yay! Today's soapbox article is brought to you by an editorial in the popular Moscow-events-calendar journal "Afisha," Yuri Saprykin's "The Great Cross-post." First some translated passages.
…The spirit of the times breathes where it will – while the “trololo” song tears the Anglo-Saxon world to pieces,
[Either referencing this, or using it in a figurative “Song-of-the-Week” sense]
in the Russian realm of the Interwebs extreme social commentary’s become wildly popular – Shevchuk’s speech, Noize M C’s song about patricians in Mercedes, Andrei Loshak’s column on OpenSpace.
[I’ve included the links in case anyone reading this is Russian-speaking and interested. Otherwise, I can explain, quickly, that they're all referring to a car accident where an oil company executive and two famous hospital workers were in a car crash; the executive walked away, but the hospital workers didn't. It's a case-in-point for their dissatisfaction with current affairs.]
Loshak himself drew the general conclusion from these citizens’ activity – the current political regime has spun the situation to complete absurdity, the people need to organize themselves, the Interwebs are a most important instrument for said self-organization, the viral spread of Shevchuk’s speech and Noize’s clip proving that importance. The people are tired of lies and want to hear the truth. It’s all true, it’s all just like that.

We’ve all anticipated that musicians, specifically, ought to be the ones to deliver the long-awaited truth. There’s the general understanding that in the 80s rockers desperately stuck it to the man with their truths, and now they’ve sold out to Surkov, which is why they’ve turned to singing about puberty’s difficulties. And that’s why, they say, now our hopes lie on Russian rap…

Now for a lyrical digression: the conversations about how late 80s Russian rock repulsed societal evils sound off-key to anyone who actually lived through the end of the 80s. Which, exactly, are the evils you have in mind? The war between heaven and earth? The fatherland of illusions – what’s on the inside, what’s out? Time to change names?
[All (relatively) famous lyrics.]
Russian rockers, as a rule, preferred to express themselves metaphorically, and it just happened that the metaphors were precise and hit the nail on the head…

So, with all respect to Shevchuk and Noize – what have they said that we didn’t already know?...

What and to whom do want to communicate when we include links in our blogs to Noize M C’s clip? OK, so we disagree with transpiring events and we’re protesting against goons in their Mercedes – and then what?...

And the most important – such a citizens’ protest as this allows a socially inactive, quiet and uninteresting, aggressively-obedient horde of people all around completely to ignore problems – and they’re those exact people who work in schools and health clinics, who watch First Channel in the evening, who die under Mercedes’ wheels – the kind it’s sometimes unpleasant to run into in the metro.
What's more exciting to me than the actual argument is the rhetoric of alienation that pervades the entire piece. It's the Russian interwebs that are socially active, while English-speaking Internet users are mindless Youtube goons. That older generation of people who talk about the rockers in the 80s are falsely nostalgic. And the people who are contributing to societal apathy, to the perpetuation of any problem X with which young reader of Afisha Y disagrees, those are the people in the last paragraph. They're they, an alienated and alienable group of OTHERS who are so much societal dead weight.

Because anyone who reads Saprykin, or Loshak, or listen to Noize or Shevchuk - that group of "they" is going to agree. They're going to agree to such an extent, in fact, not only do they agree but even if the idea is totally knew to them they'll realize that they've always felt that way...

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