Saturday, May 1, 2010

More Manliness From Vladimir Putin

The Vladimir Putin, Man of Action calendar is just about complete. The Russian prime minister has made it a habit during his term in office of being photographed engaging in a number of incredibly “manly” situations, including: riding in a jet fighter, participating in a judo match, wading bare-chested through a Siberian river and catching a tiger in Russia’s Far East. He added another one to the album this past week while visiting the Arctic where he helped a crew attach a radio-tracking collar to a wild polar bear. The actual reason for the visit was to highlight Russia’s efforts to study the effects of global warming on local fauna and also to subtly reinforce Russia’s claims to a sizable chunk of the rapidly melting Arctic Ocean. The visual with the polar bear was good, but for me I don’t think it was quite as good at the image to the right of a fur-clad Putin riding a horse this past February through a crisp Siberian winter morning in Khakassia. That image made me think of John Wayne, unfortunately it made me think of John Wayne in one of the worst movies ever madeThe Conqueror, where the Duke played Genghis Khan (seriously) and delivered lines like: “rejoice mother, there shall be feasting tonight” (again, seriously). I can only assume that none of the visual directors in the Kremlin has ever even heard of The Conqueror

On a more serious note, for my take from last year on the cultural implications of Vladimir Putin’s he-man pictorials, click here.
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