I recently watched, and slightly participated in, a Facebook discussion that was a naming convention for a fictitious musical group. A gaggle of sassy ladies (and one male Buddhist) determined that their band would be named The Smudge Judgers. This conversation started when one of the participants wondered aloud (actually, posted a comment… which is the same as wondering aloud on Facebook) if she should remove the previous night’s make-up smudges prior to going to church, or should she just throw on some lipstick and go with it. It seems church is a place where people are judged not only by their actions but also their smudges. *tons of discussion could be done on the differences between smudges on one’s face and the smudges on one’s soul
Like most fictitious band discussions (whether on Facebook or in an 8th grade home room), this one turned from the naming to what instruments each member would play and then jumped into the different song titles. An accordion, flute, and tambourine were the stand out instruments… and “Better Than Cheese Grits, Baby” was the title of their first hit single. I offered to not only manage the group but I also offered to be their first groupie willing to do anything for a backstage invite. *I’m a sucker for a predominately (hawt) girl band with a token male Buddhist… if anyone can find a real band with this type of line up, let me know because I am their number one fan… I am also a sucker for a ponytailed woman in running clothes (I call it lingerie) which is slightly hawter than a woman with a guitar
This fictitious band is no more strange than Russian rock music videos, which always feature hawt eastern European/slavic women. This one seems to feature the Russian version of Britney Spears and the universal woman’s love affair for shoes… or maybe its the Russian version of Madonna’s “Material Girl.” Either way, there is no doubt that perestroika and glasnost has begot some Russian music video assesomeness.
Along with these fantasstic videos, the demise of the former Soviet Union has also allowed the rise of the open rule of criminals. During the Soviet’s communist rule, Mr. X (George Kennan, while writing at the National War College) stated that the “… security of Soviet power came to rest on the iron discipline of the party …” and the “… the major part of the structure of Soviet power is committed to the perfection of the dictatorship and the maintenance of the concept of Russia as in a state of siege.” Vladimir Putin’s actions mimic this concept. Once it was disguised as a political and economic system, now it is nothing more than a single man’s desire for absolute rule.
This New Yorker article, through a great example of professional Russian “fighting,” explains the mood shift in today’s Russia. Like the supposed Arab Awakening *I think that link and map was done with crayons, Russia is now in a supposed Winter of Discontent. As in the Middle East, the have-nots and the “our time to eat” groups are shouting out their angst. It is possible that this is the delayed birth of democracy in Russia, it is also possible that this is just another round of the disenfranchised wishing to be in power. This always results in a different, and possibly undeserving, group becoming more disenfranchised.
The transplanting, or exporting of, democracy is a sticky widget. Foreign policy as social work isn’t easy and rarely successful. Self-imposed change from a grass-root efforts may even be harder. If there are 50,000 protesters outside the Kremlin, then there are 50,000 reasons for protesting. *as I have stated before, the only reason I would join a protest is to pick up the ladies or hawt South Carolina female band members Attempts at directing mass movements probably leads to further political and social disappointment. I am no Putin apologist, but I do wonder what is the “democratic” Russian alternative to an organized kleptocracy. Historians are still waiting to pass judgement on the results of the Arab Awakening. What remains to be seen is how the aftermath of mass demanded change is managed.
Some have argued that chaos does not lead to democracy. Others argue that economic development assists in democratization. Some Russians even state that hunger drives it. No matter the results, change is blowin’ in the wind. How long this Siberian blast lasts and what everlasting effects remain is yet to be seen. Sooner or later, police and military leaders will ultimately decide like they did in Egypt. One could easily argue that those with the guns ultimately decide the strength of political institutions. It all may end with the rich Russians retaining power… supposedly 40% of the other Russians are poor. That is a lot of hungry, poor, and vodka swilling people in a very sour mood.
Approximately 20 years of toying with democracy does not lead to a free society. Democracy, and true freedom, didn’t come easily to the United States… so it is futile to expect the Russia, and the Middle East, to grasp firmly to the democracy banner. Now is time to enjoy the show. Now I’m gonna sit back and wait see how Occupy Kremlin goes, and wait until the Smudge Judgers come to a local venue. *so I can throw my panties onstage