By Curwen Ares Rolinson – You know, it is a curious thing. About a week ago, there was a certain level of uproar on social media in relation to a Russian MP (well, Duma) making a statement urging Russians against having sexual relations with foreigners in Russia for the World Cup.
It didn’t tend to get mentioned that the legislator in question – one Tamara Pletnyova – is of the Communist Party; presumably because it suits neither the narrative of some Westerners eager to tie anything and everything strange or potentially objectionable directly back to Putin, nor the sentiments of other tendencies to acknowledge that a Communist Party is uh .. apparently not a bastion of the sort of “liberal” values that get tarred as “Cultural Marxism” these days.
But I digress.
It has recently come to my attention that Burger King has been running a campaign that is diametrically opposed to Pletnyova’s remarks. In specia, offering a financial reward of some three million roubles, and a lifetime supply of Whoppers, for Russian women who successfully manage to fall pregnant by visiting World Cup soccer players.
Now, by this late stage in the capitalist experience, I should presumably not be at all surprised when a globe-spanning American fast food chain does something crass in pursuit of the discretionary spending dollar. Particularly not when it takes place in the context of some over-hyped international sporting event.
These are now, I suppose, mere “facts of life”.
Yet I find myself wondering why there’s such a difference in response between these two episodes of (soccer-ized?) sexual politics in the context of modern Russia.
Perhaps the reason I have seen less outrage about the latter is because people are less aware of it. After all, news of the former incident has been in circulation for mayhap two or three more days than that of the latter – an arguable eternity in these days of social media trending convocation.
Maybe the issues are seen (with some legitimacy, perhaps) to be qualitatively different. Despite both being in possession of some fundamental similarities in terms of conduct and circumstance being (un)covered.
Or possibly we have different standards for the conduct & rhetoric of politicians as compared to corporate entities. Particularly when the politician(s) in question hail from a country that is regularly subject to pillorying in Western media as some sort of archaic rural despotism from the 13th century … and the corporations in question are so inimically tied up in the so-called wave of the future which accompanied said country’s forced transition to a more “open” and overtly capitalist economy.
I guess, in that light, it would almost be surprising were an organization emblematic of the ‘victory’ of the West there to be held to the same standard as a vocal representative of the organization which the West ‘won’ against in the first place – an which still seeks to roll back the former as and when possible.
Maybe we will see some shifts in the next few days.
Because “them Racist Russians” is a much more politically convenient and useful trope to be exploited in the present geopolitical context than “those American-originated capitalist exploiters of women”.
Curwen Ares Rolinson has endured almost a decade’s worth of experience at the highest levels of New Zealand Politics; serving as a prominent public face of left-nationalism in his home country before making the transition to political journalism and work in the PR field. His writing has been published in a wide array of outlets – ranging from his award-winning “Sex, Drugs & Electoral Rolls” magazine column, as well as the Official Gazette of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela