As long as Russia refuses to bend to the U.S. Empire, it will be demonized across the media
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
The author is writing a series of articles for RI about propaganda in the entertainment industry. His website, Prole Center, advances socialist ideas
Propaganda is a deadly poison, as Andre Vltchek bemoans:
“How do we achieve victory? How do we convince the masses, those billions of people? How do we open their eyes and make them see that the Western regime is dishonest, toxic, poisonous and destructive? Most of humanity is hooked on the Empire’s propaganda; that propaganda which is not only spread by mainstream media outlets, but also by pop music, soap operas, social media, advertisement, consumerism, ‘fashion trends’ and by many other covert means; cultural, religious and media junk that leads to total emotional and intellectual stupor and is administered like some highly addictive narcotic, regularly and persistently.”
I think I have the answer to Mr. Vltchek’s question, or at least part of it. We have to show how the Empire brainwashes the young and manipulates their thoughts, feelings, emotions and opinions into adulthood. Part of the problem is that people don’t recognize when something is in fact propaganda and or course, the best propaganda that which is not recognized as such.
A fundamental component of American propaganda is the creation and maintenance of an enemy, one clearly differentiated as an outsider or “other.”, by race, religion, or customs. As for Russians, they have incurred the wrath of the U.S. ruling class like no other - first because the Soviet Union led the world socialist movement which threatened the capitalist system, and now because the Russian Federation resists U.S. world dominance. What gall!
Americans have been conditioned to fear, despise and condescend to all things foreign, but none so much as Russia and Russians. This happens in a number of ways, for instance by evoking a sense of the exotic or foreignness by slipping Cyrillic letters into the titles of movies, novels or other propaganda. Also, Russians are perpetually portrayed as being excessively stoic, sinister, duplicitous, oafish and even as cold-blooded monsters. (Remember Ivan Drago from Rocky IV “I must break you?”)
That was the 80’s, but movies continue to feature scary Russian mobsters, oligarchs and politicians. In he opening sequence of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a maniac is stealing an armored car. He has a barbed wire tattoo on his forehead and it took me a while to realize he was Russian because all he did for five minutes was snarl and roar unintelligibly. Spider-Man finally corners him in an alley, disarming and subduing him and using his web-slinger to pull down his pants, revealing polka-dot boxers; for a brief moment you can see a hammer and sickle tattoo on his leg. Nice touch. “This not end, spider!” the Russian thug shouts just before being knocked unconscious as in a cartoon.
In The Equalizer with Denzel Washington there are more evil Russian mafiosi wearing-heavy facial tattoos!
Even NYT and Guardian journalists, while making clear that they are no friends of Russia, could not help but find the ubiquitous Russian villain nauseatingly cliche.
“The way Hollywood sees the world today, nothing could possibly be scarier than crossing swords with the Russians. On film, Russians [sic] gangsters will stop at nothing. They will kill your family, they will kill your girlfriend, they will kill their own employees, they will kill high-ranking members of the New York Police Department and, if you get them mad enough, they will kill your dog.”
And this from the NYT:
“Screenwriters even managed to vilify Russia in “Gravity,” a movie that features only three on-screen actors and takes place almost entirely in orbit. The space debris that imperils the American astronauts was caused by a Russian missile.”
According to these journalists, Hollywood is simply catering to consumer demand, which of course is ridiculous. Assuming they believe what they write, they claim the hideous tattoos, ridiculously exaggerated accents, and screaming, slobbering and murderous ways are merely a coincidence. Well, they’re coincidence theorists.
Without having to conduct an exhaustive study, I easily came up with over two dozen films, television programs and a video game that show Russians in a negative light. I had to search far and wide to come up with two Hollywood movies where Russians are portrayed, if not as heroes, then at least with some positive characteristics or a nuanced view: Eastern Promises and Predators (2010).
Here’s a short list of media works featuring those nefarious Russians:
A Good Day to Die Hard
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy
Iron Man 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (video game)
Red Dawn (1984)
Air Force One (with Gary Oldman)
Child 44 (with Gary Oldman . . . again)
James Bond movies (going well into the 90’s)
The November Man
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Previously in this series:
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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