Thursday, May 22, 2008

Latest Low Blow Against Kasparov

I do pride myself on maintaining a family friendly blog here, but this bizarre incident is too shocking to let pass without notice. Go directly to the YouTube video, since you will have to see it to believe it. Truly surreal and almost funny, until you realize that it is an evil Putin trick. According to Mig Greengard, in a comment on one of his blog posts, this was the work of pro-Putin forces out to discredit Kasparov by making him look like a fool. Mig apparently refused to give this more press, however, by making a separate post, though that would have been helpful.

Note: I have corrected my initial post on this subject and hope other bloggers do as well. I have also changed the link. The original video I saw of the event had a misleading translation.



Blogger Tom Panelas said...

This post has been removed by the author.

Tue May 27, 04:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Tom Panelas said...

I just find it hard to see how this juvenile prank works to discredit Garry.

Tue May 27, 04:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Michael Goeller said...

I agree, and I'm sure many Western viewers recognize that such pranks are part of Kasparov's challenge, which makes us only root all the more for the underdog. But among Russians, where Putin is widely adored as the "strong man" and -- due to prior media coverage controlled by the state -- Kasparov is viewed with skepticism, such pranks have a profound effect. Compare the "Swift Boat" attacks against Kerry: among people outside the US they were widely recognized as a ridiculous diversionary tactic by supporters of Bush to try to defuse or confuse the Vietnam War difference between Bush and Kerry (B used his father's political connections to land a cushy domestic assignment while K served heroically in the War). In the US, the Swift Boat attacks against Kerry very likely won the election because they added to the skepticism about how tough the seemingly effete Kerry really was. Here we had a true hero, in Kerry, but people continued to view Bush as the true tough guy best able to lead us through the Iraq conflict and the post-9/11 world. Yeah, right.

All such incidents are like a candidate getting sand kicked in his face. They portray him to be vulnerable and weak. A symbolic "c*** s*****." Any intelligent person does not see it that way, but that is how the amygdila-driven masses perceive these things. That's why Gore could not run again: he got sand kicked in his face in the last election. He's a wimp in the collective imagination, ESPECIALLY among those who know that a correct count of the Florida votes shows that he won (as the recent HBO film "Recount" reminds us). Of course, it doesn't help that he porked up and grew a beard for a time either....

Consider the incident early on in his political career where Kasparov was assaulted with a chessboard. I think the Western coverage of the incident was not helpful because it did not contextualize it. In truth it was a "Swift Boat" attack, but it was portrayed as simply a disgruntled chessplayer who wished Kasparov would stick to what he does best. The truth was it was Putin's supporters telling Kasparov: "Go back to playing chess if you know what's good for you." But most people thought it was a sort of comeuppance. I'd be curious how that incident played in the Russian media. But I imagine it was like "egg on his face" or like a pie in the face: it made him look like a loser or a clown.

In any case, I think most Russians just see Kasparov as a buffoon in media portrayals of the flying p**** event -- especially when the Putin supporters change the translation of the incident or add off-screen comments to make it almost seem like a Saturday Night Live skit. Dirty tricks of the Web 2.0 world.

I wonder if any American candidates or their supporters are getting ideas about how to do similarly confusing things during the upcoming presidential race?

Sat May 31, 09:31:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some Russians watched it and they said it was a prank, an oafish joke, that they found very funny. They scoffed at the notion it was Pro-Putin forces, more like anarchistic juvenile comedy.

Wed Jun 18, 10:17:00 PM EDT  

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