5 Rings Around The Collar

(Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images) | Getty

Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images) | Getty

Russia gets quite a beating for their handling of much coveted Winter Olympics 2014 across nearly every channel of mass media .

The celebration of sportsmanship, the spirit of, well, you know, like, you love everyone in every country and everyone in every country loves you and we all proud for who we are and our skill and the Olympic flame reaches to the stars… the Olympic coverage is not that much. The whole world seems to see the 5 Olympic rings as the “rings around the collar” — an utter admonishment of Russia.  Must suit Putin well, he-he-he. Utter embarrassment, yes, sir.

But then again, when mass media goes too far in a wrong direction, it’ll eventually backfire. Here is — and not a moment too late — signs of a backlash.

V. Solovyov, commentator of Russian channel NTV has this to say:

Amazing that everywhere you turn [in Sochi], foreign colleagues scramble to photograph any imperfection they can find, and they do it with glee. They climb fences, report standing against a backdrop of garbage piles, happy like kids, whenever and wherever they find any such rubbish. I hope their readers and viewers will love the Olympics.

And some of the more inquisitive consumers of mass info have done some digging. And — surprise! — have a few items of Olympics 2014, Sochi, mythology debunked. Deflowered, so to say, of its innocence.

I‘m sure nearly everyone have seen, read or heard about the “piss colored” water,  spouting from the showers and flushed into the toilet bowls of the Olympic Village.

The picture to go with it usually either 2 clear plastic cups filled with urine or this:

The above picture is real. It was reused, re-posted, shared and enjoyed by folks of every creed and nation.  Except that this photo wasn’t taken in Sochi. Below is the same image used on October 9, 2012 to illustrate the quality of drinking water in Ukraine. If you are versed in Ukrainian,  read Доказательство. I am, but bad drinking water in Ukraine isn’t  the topic of this post. To those who embarrassed themselves by posting fraudulent image:  Why not use your own urine in a cup to illustrate the Olympic “piss water”? Works every time and you don’t have to scavenge the internet for old pictures.
aThis picture — or many others of world Olympic aspirants astride twin toilets nestled in a single stall — so close their users could reach over and kiss one another — has become an Olympic showpiece of the web. The images are no fake. The maintenance workers neglected to post a sign as they started to dismantle the two adjoining stalls. The bowls were swapped out for a row of filing cabinets. Boneheadedness? Yes. Stinking “failure of macho Putin’s Winter Olympic Village”? No.

 Actually, the Sochi Olympics Does Not Have a ‘Double Toilet’ has some scalding words for those who rushed to judgment on Russia’s private quirks:

The toilet was held up by news organizations around the world as evidence of bizarre bathroom behavior on the part of the crazy Russians. The ease with which people were happy to re-run that line, without checking or following up, borders on latent racism….

This image below, shouldn’t have become an illustration of Olympic Village either. Regardless of how much the French-tweeting tweeter wants us to continue being surprised.

o5 Too bad people are so easily deceived, retweeting and favoring the post. The image showed up on Reddit 6 month ago.  Whether fake or a real accident of construction project, this half-toilet is nowhere to be found in Sochi.
o6The same is true of this one:
o8 It certainly exists somewhere in the world. The picture was posted on Dec. 20, 2013.  The important thing is that it doesn’t reside in Sochi, since the picture of it was floating in the internet long before the word Sochi has become known to the world at large.
o9 Or horror! We all going to die!  Another hoax, having nothing to do with Sochi. I wonder if the people who post this REALLY think Russians are THAT stupid to post this sign in close proximity of the Olympic complex? Well, I suppose they may… Check statistics, guys. They aren’t.

This picture has become a fixture in a collection of most bizarre road signs. It is being used in the areas close to the military bases.

o92Below is yet another imaginary “Putiniana”. There seem to be a certain obsession of  internet opinionators with Sochi’s Olympic toilets.  This immaculately clean facilities could easily promote international friendship or team spirit. Or is this a toilet designed for one group-spy-camera to observe team-happy-shitting? The answer is neither. Because there is no such communal toilet in Sochi.
o93The photo was made at the University of Kazan’s Summer Universiade — a student affair where college music bands perform and compete. Too bad Sochi didn’t borrow this great great idea.
o94There seem to be no escape from grim reality. This picture was taken in Sochi indeed… But long before the Olympics began. A year before the Olympics, to be precise.
o95Kai Pfaffenbach took the picture, starting Countdown to Sochi a bit hastily.
o96Good job, Kai Pfaffenbach from cozy Frankfurt. I’m about to grab my camera and run under the bridge over the overpass to take a few pictures.  We’ll compare our shots… You’d show me Sochi — the same spot, please! — and I’ll show you Boulder, Colorado. You’d be surprised. I’d understand. Boulder is no Frankfurt. Sochi is neither Boulder nor Frankfurt. It is Sochi. Welcome.

And lastly: There wasn’t enough money for repairs. All the money has been stolen by the greedy Russian officials to fight the unprecedented wave of opposition. That’s why all the doorknobs in hotels fall off when you touch them. American journalist Barry Petchesky  tried to open his hotel room, but the door stayed closed while the handle remained in his hand.

Such was Mr. Petchesky doorknob karma:
o97Two days later, Petchesky shyly admitted that this photo was not taken in Sochi. And then he went on and said this:

I see his point. Still, there is something faintly — and not so faintly — malicious floating in the web-sphere.

Russians, too, in greater numbers than ever are skeptical, angry, spiteful and reveal these precious feeling to the world to see. To be seen as obsessively unpatriotic and show off this admirable quality has become cool as of late.  While at the same time, they try to do their absolute best to please the world with the show and the spectacle…

Weird, no?

I was prompted to think about all of this after reading a short blogpost by Boris Akunin. Read original in Russian here  ОЛИМПИЙСКОЕ. Addressing his fellow Russians, the writer says roughly this: (the following is interpretation rather than literal translation from Russian) 

Our Facebook masochism about how shamefully ridiculous, boorish and god-awful everything is organized in Sochi is becoming terribly annoying.

Why are we so lustfully raveling in it?  Is everything, indeed, so utterly horrific? Is there absolutely nothing  beautiful, intelligent and creative? Nothing? Zilch? After pouring all that money and effort, was everything stolen and plundered with nothing to show for it? Really?

Perhaps, we should separate these two topics. Lets talk about thievery and plundering separately from celebration, sport and achievement. Personally, I don’t care all that much which team scores more medals. All I really want from the Sochi Olympics is that:

1) there were no terrorist attacks ;
2) there would be a lot of outstanding, beautiful sport;
3) there would be a record number of  records.
4) and all of this would not translate into a national disgrace.

Honestly, I’m not willing to live by the principle “What is bad for Putin is good for us.”

OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY Fireworks explode over the Fisht Olympic Stadium at the begining of the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Fireworks explode over the Fisht Olympic Stadium at the begining of the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

There is nothing I am “for” here.  What I’m against should be obvious from the post. If it isn’t, then I wasn’t quite as clear and obvious in stating my point as I hoped to be.


One comment on “5 Rings Around The Collar

  1. The level of malevolence, ill-will, petty envy shown by the western media and its bloviators is unprecedented. I haven’t seen anything like that since my old Soviet days.
    Do they hate Putin, or any Russian success is anathema in the eyes of “righteous”?

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