Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Media and Communism, Distilled Through Sochi

Thanks to the wonders of DVR and the internet, I have been able to keep up with what NBC considers to be highlights of the XXII Winter Olympics at Sochi, a place long considered to be the Soviet Riviera in its Workers Paradise because of its resorts – only for the party elite, mind you, because "some animals are more equal than others" – in an area that is strangely sub-tropical (despite its location on the same latitude as Cape Cod).

Note , by the way, the reports of wonderment about the temperature, with an example this morning about the women's cross country skiing events seeing participants in sleeveless tops due to the fact that it was as high as 60° on the course. No one has so far put together the fact of the weather in association with the "sub-tropical" location. It would be like holding the Winter Olympics in the southern Piedmonts, around Dahlonega, Georgia (though, paradoxically enough, Dahlonega would be a better location at the moment, other than the blizzards).

Despite my frustration with the choices of NBC in programming (and thankful that this time at least I am no longer subjected to the blatant political drivel of Keith Olbermann), I am an avid viewer as always of the Olympic Games, and since the split of the scheduled years for the Summer and Winter Olympics, I have a welcome respite every other year from the dark gulf between football seasons.

If we are to rely on the journalists – and we have no real choice, unfortunately – the major story so far has been how miffed they are at their accommodations.  True, it's already bad enough that so many third world countries advise you to not drink the water, but to be warned to not touch the water, because it's "dangerous", does attract a bit of interest.  But some of the stories, involving some not-uncommon situations I have seen in my time outside of CONUS, make one wonder if these press types have ever been past Newark.

None of them are old enough, it would clearly seem, to remember the Soviet phase of Russian history, and they clearly aren't inclined to break free of their J-school indoctrination to actually, you know, study the Cold War, assuming that they are even aware that anything amiss occurred outside of the era of McCarthyism.  Otherwise they wouldn't be surprised at the shoddy work done by the descendants of the generations ('survivors' would be a more accurate term) of workers who lived with an attitude of "They pretend to pay us; we pretend to work."

That same mind-set would partly explain the NBC narration of the opening ceremony.  We don't know who wrote the copy, but Peter Dinklage (of the current Game of Thrones fame) read the script which included the astonishing lines that the Soviet Union was an "empire that ascended to affirm a colossal footprint, the revolution that birthed one of modern history's pivotal experiments."  This sets the tone that correlates with the scene of the opening ceremony wherein, after a ponderous red-lit panoply of huge, flying machine parts and rockets and sickles and busts of Marx, it peters out to a small girl hovering over the quieting scene, letting loose a red balloon that drifts away, symbolizing a strangely poignant feeling of a child's loss.

It is an odd symbology that marks a 20th century so beset with killing, the most deadly epoch in the history of mankind.  The huge socialist empires in Nazi Germany, Communist China, and the Soviet Union, driven by cults of personality, contended to see which could kill the most.  The lesser socialist regimes – such as Cuba, North Korea, the Congo, Cambodia, Nicaragua, Viet Nam and others – did their part to keep up, but the scale of death from the three empires was astounding in its magnitude.  The Nazis slaughtered millions in a relatively short time, the Chinese killed millions of mostly their own people, but the Soviets kept up their carnage for longer, from the Russian Revolution, the Civil War, the destruction and starvation of the Kulaks, the Gulag, and the Reign of Terror so efficiently carried out by the KGB in its variety of forms and names.  The Russians cite some 20 million dead in World War II – what they call their Great Patriotic War (the Western Front was really a big side-show, looking at the numbers involved – as the Germans certainly did), but a significant percentage of that 20 million was self-inflicted.  To paraphrase Lenin: so many spoiled omelets, so many broken eggs.

But it's not surprising to hear this political dreck from the same effete Commentariat, like Barbara Walters swooning over Fidel Castro.  (This is the same Walters who last Christmas publically expressed her disappointment – there's a connection – that Obama wasn't "the next messiah".)  But what do you expect from the Establishment Media?  These are the same sorts who wrote puff pieces about Saddam Hussein in order to maintain a comfortable presence in Baghdad.

Mark Twain's words still apply, even though the news is no longer confined to sheets of paper: "If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome and discussion is open and encouraged. I expect that there will be some occasional disagreement (heaven knows why) or welcome clarification and embellishment, and such are freely solicited.

Consider that all such comments are in the public domain and are expected to be polite, even while contentious. I will delete comments which are ad hominem, as well as those needlessly profane beyond the realm of sputtering incredulity in reaction to some inanity, unless attributed to a quote.

Links to other sources are fine so long as they further the argument or expand on the discussion. All such comments and links are the responsibility of the commenter, and the mere presence herein does not necessarily constitute my agreement.

I will also delete all comments that link to a commercial site.