One thing they never get right in the movies is that right before the Bad Thing happens, when it's clear that something is starting to go wrong, real people usually just laugh. Nervous chuckles and low speech, then screams, as the sky begins to fall. Unless you're in Siberia! In which case the laughing never quite stops. [Via]
"A former schoolteacher killed his friend after a drunken argument over which is superior, poetry or prose, investigators in the Sverdlovsk region said on Wednesday." Also: "The killing came four months after an argument over the theories of 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant ended in a man being shot in a grocery store in southern Russia."
"Arrived at the launch presser for an 'international project' promoting Russia as a haven for traditional values," writes GQ Russia editor Michael Idov this morning. "This is the sign out front. Good start!" More good news: "First person to be convicted under anti-gay ‘propaganda’ law arrested by his own parents."
The concept of people typing Dadaist humor on Twitter has existed since Twitter got its first big batch of smart-ass users in 2007, at that year's SxSW. Twitter was suddenly the place to get breaking news on inconsequential online-media events. Also, it was full of banter and inside jokes and drunken jabbering. It became fun, because a lot of bored funny people now had a way to narrowcast every oddball thought to people who might appreciate that kind of nonsense.
What do you think Rick Ross's favorite Fiona Apple song is? When you picture him in the audience at last week's show at the Hollywood Palladium, where he was filmed pulling up in his Porsche for his new video, what song do you imagine him singing along with, standing on his seat in the front row, clasping his hands in front of his chest, just totally into it? "Criminal" is a good bet. Or "Paper Bag," or "Anything We Want"—that's my favorite one on her new album. But I think "Extraordinary Machine" is actually more his style. That phrasing—I could actually see that being a song title [...]
"Russian businessman Mikhail D. Prokhorov… this winter became the first of the post-Soviet set of ultrawealthy financiers to run for president…. Being a billionaire in itself — Mr. Prokhorov owns 20 Jet Skis, a 200-foot yacht and a mansion outside Moscow — might seem a fatal handicap in an era of anger at the rich that is as prevalent in Russia as anywhere." —"Might." Each something gets the something it deserves.
Today's rather horrific bombing at Domodedovo airport in south Moscow—in the baggage claim, it looks like—is Russia's first act of terrorism in ten months. (Unless you count the Chechen Parliament attack in October. Or the Vladikavkaz bombing in September, or the bombing in Stavropol in May.) There are more! (No really. Anyone remember Dagestan? Ingushetia?)
"We’re bombarded with poorly written and braindead pieces of content that are engineered to go viral for the sake of virality, not to educate and improve the individual or society," wrote "Roosh V" on his blog the other day:
The internet has become a machine to fill gaps in your ego and self-esteem so that you receive the emotional benefits of validation…. The content you read now has moved from being primarily intellectual from the time of the Gutenberg press to primarily emotional. In the past, it was just too expensive to publish something with the intent to piss someone off or to gather lulz. Like with the first [...]
In Chelyabinsk the men are tough. So tough there is a meme among Russians depicting the tough men from Chelyabinsk acting out their audacious toughness: shouldering a dead horse through a peat bog, using a chainsaw to shave, having sex with a giant scorpion. When the meteor 60-feet-wide and weighing more than the Eiffel Tower shot towards Chelyabinsk at 41,000 miles-per-hour and burst into a fireball brighter than the sun, the tough men of Chelyabinsk looked up at the sky and cursed quietly. When the fireball exploded 14 miles above Chelyabinsk it did so with a force 30 times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The subsequent shockwave [...]
No less an authority than Harvey Fierstein makes a call to boycott Russia's 2014 Winter Games. Actually he makes a pretty good case, since Putin is about one step away from creating forced labor camps for gays:
"Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or “pro-gay” and detain them for up to 14 days. Contrary to what the International Olympic Committee says, the law could mean that any Olympic athlete, trainer, reporter, family member or fan who is gay — or suspected of being gay, or just accused of being gay — can go to jail….Earlier [...]
It was probably unrealistic to expect the apocalypse to start right on time at the end of 2012—especially if it starts in Russia, where Christmas is two weeks late. So, here it is, a giant meteor (or meteors?) filling the skies over the Ural Mountains, and injuring nearly a thousand people.
But what do the religious leaders of Russia's Orthodox Church have to say about this terrifying incident? Well, being gloomy Russians, they are just blaming it on the God they worship:
A meteorite which injured hundreds of people in Russia's Chelyabinsk Region on Friday was "the Lord’s message to humanity," a senior local clergyman said. "From the [...]
Russia wants to build a permanent base on the moon, which is mostly indicative of what a terrible hellhole Russia is.
"A Moscow court on Friday ruled that the country’s sole independent election watchdog had broken Russian law by publishing citizens’ complaints about campaign abuses during the run-up to this weekend’s parliamentary elections." —"Most of the reports concern the ruling party, United Russia, which is struggling to preserve its control of parliament at Sunday’s vote."
This is something we all should probably read to be more informed world citizens? It is on the state of Russia's operations against Georgia since 2004. It's remarkable how far everyone in power is willing to go to claim that oh gosh no, Russia has never had anything but super-warm feelings and a total lack of pipeline bombings towards its Georgian friends. Ta da! Wikileaks! Definitely good for something! (Also here is a primer on where and what Abkhazia is, for those of us who can never tell Khujand from Bishkek.)
When I played hockey as a kid in the '70s and '80s, I used to love watching the Olympics, where the game was faster and less constrained than the National Hockey League version; the ice surface was bigger and there was less tolerance in the international rules for the kind of grabbing, holding, and fighting that used to really slow things down in the N.H.L. I always thought of myself as more of a "finesse" player than a fighter, so the game as played in the Olympics seemed like a perfect reflection of who I wanted to be, both on and off the ice, and I can still summon some [...]
"An elderly shepherd in Russia’s North Caucasus survived a bear attack by fighting off the animal with kicks and headbutts, local television reported. Yusuf Alchagirov, 80, also tried to stab the bear when the beast approached him in a raspberry field in Kabardino-Balkaria, but said the animal knocked his knife away. The ensuing tussle culminated in the bear, enraged by the headbutt, throwing Alchagirov off a cliff and walking away, the man said on the regional affiliate of VGTRK television."
Every day, humans kill millions of animals. We kill them in the hideous industrial slaughterhouses, we kill them with our F-350s barreling down the county road, we kill them with gigantic fish-harvesting scrapers dragged along the ocean floor, we kill them at the "Humane Society," and we kill them when they've made the critical mistake of surfacing near our ugly houses. But it is only News when an "unlikely" animal finally has enough of this constant holocaust and decides to "kill back" a human.
Today's example comes from Belarus, a place we rarely hear about despite its romantic name meaning "White Russia." It was here, reportedly, that a large beaver [...]
What with Chloe Sevigny reading from the Pussy Riot closing statements tonight and a demonstration in New York's Times Square this afternoon, maybe it’s no big deal that several dozen people assembled outside the Russian Embassy for a Free Pussy Riot rally in Washington, D.C. the other day. Congress is on recess and it was an August Friday afternoon: perfect conditions for checking out of the office to check out an Amnesty International event. Glover Park is far from everything, but between Russian diplomats and fussy residents, someone in the neighborhood was bound to take umbrage with so many signs reading “pussy.” What could go wrong? Maybe something!
The rally [...]
For the first time, police in St. Petersburg, Russia, have made arrests on the strength of a new law banning the dissemination of information on homo-, bi- and transsexuality. Two men were arrested in the city center on Thursday after holding up a sign reading "Homosexuality Is Normal," according to the newswire Interfax.
Russia's second-largest city passed the controversial law on Feb. 29. The two men now face a possible maximum fine of 500,000 rubles (€12,800/$17,000). The maximum penalty is more than the average annual income in Russia.
Had I bothered to put “walk through Moscow in a tuxedo” on my list of things to do in this life, I could now safely check it off. The sidestreet in front of the theater was a static maze of Benzes and Bentleys, with no place to pull up. Arriving as I was in a regular taxi, the jam gave me a face-saving chance to get off around the corner and hoof it to the red carpet from there.
The Russian GQ had rented out the theater, a hideous 1990s edifice glowing at the sidestreet’s end, to hold its Man of the Year awards: “the unofficial start,” in the breathless [...]