Russia challenges Olympic bigots
The miserable odds for the Olympics down there in the basement with the odds for the Emmys, the Oscars, etc., are even more testament to the end of a common culture here in the United States. There are no longer any shows capable of holding our common attention. There is no longer a majority! We are all caught up in our own little narcissisms; we don’t look beyond ourselves; we do not care.
I doubt even one of the big media events of my teenage years, the moon landing, is causing a stir these days. I also cannot imagine that the Oscars as a televised event will survive me, and I am almost 70 years old. I wonder if the Olympics will come at the end of this century, at least as something other than niche entertainment, kind of like pea racing.
Not that the Tokyo festival has not brought joy to our small religious community here in the country. The performance of the Russian athletes was thrilling, especially given the abuse to which the International Olympic Committee subjected the team. The doping scandal that officially excluded Russians from the Olympics this year – Russian athletes are supposed to be there as a group of essentially free entrepreneurs, not representing any country and banned from flying their flag and playing their anthem – was a stunt, in the end. the work of a filmmaker whose ambition was matched only by his anti-Russian malice.
No matter. Russian athletes nevertheless triumphed, behind only China and the United States in the medal count. Athletes from other countries have complained about the success of Russian “cheaters” who they say shouldn’t even be in Tokyo. But those of us who love the Russian Idea are elated as the Kremlin continues its age-old project of putting a thumb in the eye of a pompous and decadent West.
Glorious Russian challenge! This is what allowed those of us who reject communism to take root in Russian victories throughout the Cold War, cheering on Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Andropov as they merrily challenged godliness and the restrictions of Washington and the subject states groaning under the yoke of Washington.
It is because of Russia, moreover, that I am shared by the current fascination with Hungary on the New American Right, a fascination most evidently demonstrated by Tucker Carlson’s recent visit to the country.
On the one hand, the Orban government is also a big finger in the eye of the liberal West. On the other hand, my Russian Orthodox sensibility does not quite manage to “go beyond” the events of 1956 – this explosion in Budapest by a violent anti-Russian Magyar. The Budapest uprising was the first of Eastern European “color revolutions”, orchestrated from NATO cells in Vienna and funded by a CIA under the influence of former Hungarian Nazi emigrants. I want to love Hungary, but 1956, with its savage Magyar mobs hurling hateful slurs as Soviet military hardware shook the cobblestones of Buda beautifully, makes it difficult.
Budapest is a beautiful city, however. On a trip a long time ago, I tasted an excellent venison stew seasoned with paprika and accompanied by a glass of local lager beer and a serving of those dumplings known as nokedli, and was very satisfied. (This was back when I was still ‘chasing girls’, and Hungary, in its impoverished post-Communist state, offered ‘easy choices’.)