Russian Newscast

I haven´t watched Russian television for about sixteen years. Here at our hotel in the DR, however, we have the most popular Russian TV channel (Channel 1.) This is the “official” Russian TV channel that absolutely everybody watches. It´s more important to the Russians than the BBC to the British.

So I decided to watch Russian news for the first time in all these years. The Russians always used to have very good newscasts, so N. and I turned on the Russian news.

I have to tell you, people, this newscast told me everything I need to know about Russia today. The newscast (once again, this is the most important source of the news for the Russian people because this channel broadcasts absolutely everywhere in the country*) was completely pathetic. It was tabloid quality and had nothing to do with actual news. The newscast consisted of several outrageous or gossipy stories that captured your attention but had no larger meaning and absolutely no transcendence. A man´s girlfriend stuck a knife into his skull but he survived. A bus turned over. A competition between flower arrangements took place.

There was absolutely  nothing related to politics or the general state of affairs in the country. Russia is suffering from horrible inundations right now, people are dying, citizens are forming volunteer groups to help the victims. None of that made the news. The inundations were mentioned but their victims weren´t. It sounded like the inundations were taking place in completely uninhabited areas.

The economy wasn´t mentioned in any form or manner. Nothing of any import whatsoever made the news. This newscast was extremely similar to the ones we used to watch in the Soviet Union. Even the jingle that opens the newscast has been borrowed from the Soviet times.´

To make the similarity with the good ole Soviet times complete, each news segment was accompanied by a little piece on how things are even worse in the US. The segment with the man whose girlfriend put a knife through his skull, was followed by a story about an American man who got stabbed in the head several times. The story on the inundations was followed by an account of how American inundations are always so much worse than the Russian ones. The positive segments, however, didn´t have any references to the US. For instance, the story about the flower competition did not mention that there are also great flower competitions in the US.

Europe, Asia or Africa were not mentioned in any context. The vision of the world you got from this newscast was that, on our planet, there is Russia, a place where things are not great, and there is the US, where things are even worse than that. And beyind that, there is nothing.

* N. and I don´t remember if the channel receives funding from the government. Does anybody know?

Greetings from the Dominican Republic!

Have you missed me yet? 🙂

I´m in the Dominican Republic on my vacation. Here are some of the observations I wanted to share with you:

1. Flight attendants have come up with a new way to torture the English language. Now, when you arrive at your destination, they ask you to “deplane the aircraft.”

2. It´s great to lose the watch and the cell phone for two weeks.

3. It is A LOT hotter in Southern Illinois than in Punta Cana.

4. When an airplane from Moscow arrives in the DR, a crowd of hugely drunk people spills out making me feel extremely embarrassed.

5. The Dominican men have no idea how to communicate with a couple where the woman is “the active subject” (asks and answers questions, orders food for both, etc.) This causes them intense discomfort and they keep trying to speak to “el señor” even when the señor resists.

6. The Internet in the DR has not improved in the 5 years that I haven´t been here.

7. Never again will I allow another 5 years to elapse witout going to an all-inclusive resort because this is the best kind of vacation for me.

Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

There is a discussion underway in the NY Times about whether modern men are manly enough. As my favorite colleague says, idiots abound.

The TSA employees do not understand that my visceral level reasons for not going through that airport scanner that takes and keeps the equivalent of your naked photograph is not shyness about the body, but the fact that to have that photograph taken, you must stand in the prisoner of war position, hands on your head, and so on. That we are being asked to do this for our safety, and that people believe it, is highly disturbing in my view.” It is highly disturbing in my view, too. And humiliating.

Louisiana proves that voucher schools are a huge, horrible scam.

Maternal martyrs of the 21st century.

A perfect example of how people turn their children into helpless toys to compensate for being pathetic losers professionally and socially. Please tread lightly before you make idiotic comments. There are people around here who had this done to them and are still living with the consequences.

An interesting theory why radical feminists hate transwomen so passionately. I’ve never heard this explanation for this irrational hatred advanced before but it makes sense to me. What do you think?

On the importance of challenging oneself intellectually. This is precisely why everybody should be reading Clarissa’s Blog with all of its outrageous statements and unexpected, frustrating, angering approaches to everything.

A lying article from Yale Daily News that is trying to sell the idea of a post-doc on the Humanities as something positive. Is there an idiot stupid enough to believe this load of steamy BS? Hey, GESO, where the hell are you? Why aren’t you doing something about this?

A really good and very funny post about different models of professorial behavior.

Comedian Daniel Tosh is a vile horrible creature. Let’s all do what we can to denounce him and make sure he never performs anywhere without being spit on. If there are people I hate it’s nasty jerks like this one.

A great visual on how anti-abortionists don’t even notice the existence of women.

This sounds like a total urban myth but, who knows, these pox parties might just be real. What do you think?

A really great post on the Kardashians and birth control.

If you don’t like beets for some bizarre reason, do read this post.

They really know what matters in revenue-strapped Kansas. The attorney general’s office there has paid $675,000 to outside lawyers to fight challenges to the state’s draconian new anti-abortion laws.” I have a questions to the idiots who voted these jerkwads into office: do you hate women that much? Really? The taxpayers who allow their money to be wasted in this way by politicians who need to feed their psychosis deserve all that is coming to them.

This blogger is such a wonderful, caring, understanding mother to her small daughter that it makes me want to cry. Is it too late for me to get adopted by her?

I really know how this blogger feels! What is it with the idiots who just can’t take “no” for an answer?

And the post of the week that celebrates emotional independence: “I’m done with being held responsible for other people’s emotional states. Whether that’s a parent, a significant other, or a friend. Once we reach a certain age, we are, each of us, responsible for how we choose to respond to difficult or taxing situations. I survived too many years of emotional distress for being blamed for something I couldn’t possibly be responsible for or do anything about, and I bought my ticket to freedom by learning to cope with my own emotions and hold myself accountable for how I addressed them.”