Monday, August 20, 2012

Pussies, Punk and Steroids

"In its pride of numbers, in its strange pretensions of sanctity, and in the secret readiness to abase himself in suffering, the spirit of Russia is the spirit of cynicism. It informs the declarations of statesmen, the theories of her revolutionists, and the mystic vaticinations of prophets to the point of making freedom look like a form of debauch."
                                                   Joseph Conrad, Under Western Eyes (1911)

"Because all you can deprive me of is 'so-called freedom'. This is the only kind that exists in Russia."
                                                               Maria Alyokhina, Pussy Riot (2012)

Relax! The battle against communism is finally won. No more cold wars. No more labor camps. No more Archipelago Gulag. On August 10, 2012, the US 4 x 100m women's relay team won the Olympic gold medal in London, in a new world record time of 40.82 seconds, finally beating the previous record of 41.37 seconds, set by the team from East Germany in 1985. US sprinter Carmelita Jeter, running the anchor leg, gave the Soviet system a final hell of a chase.


gotcha!: Carmelita Jeter

The German Democratic Republic - the GDR - was the elite country of the Soviet system. Consistent with their German mentality, they took communism seriously, while others were laughing it off, like the Mediterranean minded Bulgarians, shaking their booties at Black Sea beaches. The GDR pushed and promoted high-performance sports like no other country before. Their premium athletes were groomed to be "diplomats in training suits", establishing again and again the supremacy of the non-capitalist world order, by winning championships and setting new records. Careful selection and exceptional dedication of these athletes would help to compete, but not to win. The GDR therefore launched a nationwide doping program, forcing athletes to swallow the scientifically developed anabolic steroid Oral-Turinabol to enhance their performances. And boy, how it did work! The effects were best visible on women. Some were able to run world records for the eternity - Marita Koch in 400m for example - some like Heidi Krieger were ultimately undergoing a sex change, making her Andreas Krieger, to give his new found gender a new body. During the heydays of the GDR doping system, an East German woman run faster, hit harder, jumped further than any other woman in the world. The superiority of communism was a men's dream, but it was women who proved it!

Nothing lasts forever. Check out the video below from the 1988 Olympic games in Seoul. Again, it's the women's 4 x 100m relay. The final stretch is highly symbolic: Evelyn Ashford, representing the USA, is dashing towards victory. The GDR, always the perfect pupil, is still trying hard, while the USSR is limping badly. One year later, the Berlin wall was down and the Soviet Union was soon to be history. 


dash to victory: Evelyn Ashford

Communism is dead? The Gulag a thing of the past? Not true, if you ask Pussy Riot, the Russian all-women punk band. Their protest performance against president Vladimir Putin in a Moscow church earned them two years in a labor camp, evoking sentiments that Russia is back on Stalin time. Under Putin, the Russian state and the Orthodox church have become a unit again, one securing the power of the other. Protesting against Putin on the altar of a church: how much more to the point can you strike? But in a country where freedom is just another word for cracking a joke, the public support for Pussy Riot in the ensuing trial was limited, at best.


"come, taste freedom with us": Pussy Riot

The Ukrainian bare breasted, feminist-activist group Femen; Pussy Riot in Russia, and their raw punk songs: Eastern European women are giving all they have to express their discomfort about the state of affairs in their societies. Doing so, displaying female sexuality in a aggressive form, they wake up the basic fears of men: fear of pussy, fear of tits and fear of women singing punk. An existential threat is banging these men in power, used to give orders, used to be obeyed. The Pussy Riot trial in Moscow last week was the first witch trial of the 21st century. We love women as long as they accept our control. We burn them, jail them, send them to Siberia as soon as they become uncontrollable, rioting, feminist beasts.


basic fears: Femen

It takes roughly 40 seconds and a 4 x 100m relay to make a man feel good about his power. It takes 45 seconds and three women shouting out a punk song in a a church to make a man feel impotent. It took Carmelita Jeter 27 years to run the communism down. We can't wait another 27 years, not even two years!, for men to lose their fear of pussies. Free Pussy Riot. Now!



4 comments:

  1. comments from Twitter
    - Great closing paragraph. Never a truer word spoken.
    - i did like your new post...it was uncomplicated and original compared to a lot of the others who just print facts without their opinion
    - It's on again with a twist of pink in it I mean punk.

    ReplyDelete
  2. comments from Twitter
    - really nice post, I like the symbolic!
    - "Mediterranean minded Bulgarians shaking their booties at Black Sea beaches" - hahaha, I'm proud Bulgarian now, LoL
    - mixing GDR sports and Pussy Riot: superb!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Again..interesting parellels..and very vaild too. You have a knack for spotting them. And how you tied it up with the impact woman's liberation has on oppressers is quite neat!

    ReplyDelete
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