Putin talks 'cancel culture' while leveling Ukrainian cities.
Taking a page from the MAGA playbook.
In case you’ve been wondering where I am, I’ve been under the weather this past week and haven’t been in any condition to write. But I’m drawing so much inspiration from those Jersey City boys from St. Peter’s I just had to get back up on my feet again. So here goes.
Look who’s talking ‘cancel culture’
In a speech for a literature awards ceremony, Vladimir Putin took a phrase straight from Jim Jordan’s MAGA playbook.
“Not so long ago, they canceled children’s author [J.K.] Rowling whose books were spread all over the world in the hundreds of millions of copies, because she did not please fans of so-called gender freedoms,” Putin said. “Today they are trying to abolish an entire 1,000-year-old country, our people.”
You don’t have to imagine how Rowling felt about that. She’s got enough to deal with given her recent statements attacking transgender folks and same-sex relationships, without being dragged into Putin’s culture war.
First, let me say that I have no doubt about Putin’s main point. Yes, there are forces in the U.S. and Europe that have been waging cold wars and proxy hot wars against Russia since the day Lenin and the Bolsheviks took power in 1917. Although in recent years, since the collapse of the Soviet Union and even before, that relationship has looked more like inter-capitalist, big-power rivalry than outright regime change.
Don’t forget, Russia is still a favorite of our previous president and has been among Europe’s biggest trading partners, which is why Biden is having such a tough time getting buy-in from Germany and France on some of his sanction efforts. And there are many corporations, including Koch Industries, that are still doing business in Russia and see the war in Ukraine as just a temporary glitch.
Secondly, to borrow from Rowling’s own statement, Putin’s critique of “cancel culture” loses all credibility at a time when he is trying to bomb Ukraine cities and Ukrainian culture back to the Stone Age.
Who’s really killing Russian culture?
One last point here about Putin and cancel culture in Russia. Prima ballerina Olga Smirnova has announced that she will leave Moscow's Bolshoi ballet and Russia in protest of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. The Bolshoi Ballet dates back to 1776. Today, it's the world's biggest ballet company, with more than 200 dancers.
Smirnova will now capture the attention of audiences in the Netherlands. She has announced that she will join the Dutch National Ballet, where she'll debut this spring in the title role in "Raymonda," a classic Russian ballet.
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