Monday, July 21, 2008

Pravda - Russia's Snarky News In English

Wow. And I thought I was in love with the European press. And maybe I was (maybe I still am), but it's hard to say because I've just been introduced to the Russian press that is Pravda. Welcome!

Pravda appears to be mostly commentary/opinion masquerading as news. It also appears that those writing for Pravda are not real thrilled with the United States nor with Americans. It makes for rather terse and snippy reporting, that is evident. And it's because of that sort or style and some of the headlines that make it difficult to know whether or not to take it seriously. But whichever it is, it's hilarious. The headlines and article titles read like a US tabloid. It's amazing. Here's a sampling from today's issue of Pravda:
  • George and Laura Bush to divorce after election because of Condi Rice? (I doubt this. Maybe because of Ham Fried Rice, but not Condi Rice.)

  • Mikhail Gorbachev advertises Louis Vuitton bags to make his living. (Bill Clinton hawking Crocs on eBay!)

  • Muscular bronze stallion with weird human genitalia advertises provincial hotel (Arnold? Is that you?)

  • Relations between Russia and USA get into Cold War spirit again (Ah, that Cold War spirit! I thought I smelled the Bay of Pigs in the gentle summer breeze.)

  • Condoleezza Rice's sexual worries in the White House (I don't think they're limited to just the White House.)

  • Crazy wealthy Russians will soon purchase the whole French Riviera (And maniacal, cash strapped Americans will soon charge all of Machu Picchu to their AmEx!)

  • Homosexual mobsters can never escape deadly bullets (That's because they're just gay. They never said they were gay AND magic!)

  • New Yorker's cover choice deeply hurts feelings of Barack Obama and his wife (Not just hurt feelings, deeply hurt feelings. They make him sound oh-so manly, don't they? They've got him all built up so that you can't WAIT for him to be our next President, right?)

  • What is it with the US Secretary's of State? (Quite possibly the funniest and most unexpected piece of Russian journalism I've read all day.)
One odd thing (aside from the headlines) that I've noticed about Pravda is that whenever you click on a link and it takes you to another page within the site, there always seems to be (for no reason whatsoever) a picture of Anna Semenovich. When you click on it, you get an enlarged version with the caption, "Anna Semenovich is another Russian pop star who sticks to the following point of view: "If you have no voice to sing and no talent to dance, just show your breasts instead." I see. And judging from the photo, Anna Semenovich has no voice to sing and no talent to dance.

Pravda also has a forum where readers can voice their opinions. The tagline for the forum says, "The forum "The place where the truth hurts". Thanks for the warning, oh-so hilarious, online Russian news forum guys. Thanks.

Now, on to the "reporting!"

According to Pravda, "Many US tabloids have been flooded with rumors of George W. Bush’s family misfortunes recently. The latest gossip is about George and Laura Bush to divorce after November elections." Now, I pay a fair amount of attention to the news and I'm not recalling these rumors. Why is that? "Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper wrote with reference to The National Examiner tabloid..." Oh. THAT'S why. The Russian press quoting an Italian newspaper getting it's information from a tabloid. Yeah, that's rich.

Pravda continues with,"The tabloid dwells upon the reasons which could lead to the possible divorce. The newspaper believes that George . W. Bush has been having an affair with US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice." And, "Ms. Rice became the center of tabloid gossip in the USA two years ago in July. Many US newspapers wrote back then that Condi had a love affair with President Bush." Again, I do not recall that. A quick Google search would seem to back that up.

Then they throw in the dirt! "Evil tongues recalled the story of a Freudian slip which happened to Ms. Rice during an official meeting in Washington. Condoleezza Rice, who is always meticulous in the choice of her words, reportedly said the following: "As I was telling my husb—" before abruptly breaking off and correcting herself: "As I was telling President Bush." Ah, those darned Freudian slips will get you every time. (In case you're unfamiliar with the term, a Freudian slip is when you mean to say one thing, but you're really thinking about a mother another.)

Now, from that fact filled article, you can transition over to "Condoleezza's Sexual Worries In The White House." (And who wouldn't want to make that transition?) It is under that heading that the Pravda explains all by proclaiming with it's headline, "Condoleezza Rice's Anti-Russian Stance Based on Sexual Problems." (Because, of course, a common side effect OF sexual problems is the sudden come uppance of an anti-Russian attitude. Everyone knows that.)

It is in this article that we learn how snarky the Russian press can be. Blunt and snarky. It is also in this article that we learn how women are perceived to be and what women are thought that they should be. Again, blunt and snarky. Pravda asks these questions, "Ms. Rice's criticism can be explained with the politician's personal peculiarities. Why is Condoleezza Rice so fond of her “strict teacher” role? Is it her technique that she follows to stay in the center of political attention?"

Pravda then answers them by quoting the leader of the Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia (the ol' LDPR), Vladimir Zhirinovsky. "Condoleezza Rice released a coarse anti-Russian statement. This is because she is a single woman who has no children. She loses her reason because of her late single status. Nature takes it all. Such women are very rough. They are all workaholics, public workaholics. They can be happy only when they are talked and written about everywhere: “Oh, Condoleezza, what a remarkable woman, what a charming Afro-American lady! How well she can play the piano and speak Russian! What a courageous, tough and strong female she is! " Can you detect the oh-so subtle sarcasm in his remarks? Veeerrrry subtle indeed. And what a charming picture he paints for the reader as well!

Then, this sociological genius continues with, "This is the only way to satisfy her needs of a female. She derives pleasure from it. If she has no man by her side at her age, he will never appear. Even if she had a whole selection of men to choose from she would stay single because her soul and heart have hardened. Like Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, or Alexander the Great of Macedon Ms. Rice needs to fight and release tough public statements in global scale. She needs to be on top of the world." But wait! There's more!

"This is not the place, where one can sublimate their personal sexual problems. Complex-prone women are especially dangerous. They are like malicious mothers-in-law, women that evoke hatred and irritation with everyone. Everybody tries to part with such women as soon as possible. A mother-in-law is better than a single and childless political persona, though." I take it that he and his mother-in-law don't exactly see eye-to-eye on everything. But I wonder what can be done to help a single and childless political persona with a hardened heart and soul? Well, you know our cited expert here has a suggestion. You just don't know how bizarre it is. Yet.

"Condoleezza Rice needs a company of soldiers. She needs to be taken to barracks where she would be satisfied. On the other hand, she can hardly be satisfied because of her age. This is a complex. She needs to return to her university and teach students there. She could also deal with psychological analysis. "

Wow. I don't care who you are, if you need an entire company of soldiers to attempt to satisfy your elderly 51-year old sexless self, you've got bigger problems than you're probably even aware of. No, if you need something like that, you don't just need "psychological analysis", you need to be observed around the clock, seven days a week. And not in any old setting either. No, if that is the condition that you are in, you need to be studied, intensely, by droves of psychotherapists. You need to go to Vienna or something and be studied there! (And I'm really not thinking that Condoleezza Rice would fit into that category. Oh, don't get me wrong. She's kind of an odd duck. And she might need a little lovin', but not by a company of soldiers, for cryin' out loud.) Wow. Bring on Pravda! The promoters of truth! (And hilarity!)

I sense that they're a bit hostile towards, oh, women in general, but they really don't like Condoleezza Rice very much at all. (Nice of them, though, to offer up suggestions on how to melt her heart of ice.) But this is very amusing for me. Pravda - Russia's News About Other Places In English! What could possibly go wrong?

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