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As Americans wipe their asses...

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Cult of personality. I believe it's a very dangerous thing, no matter the country. The further you travel into provincial Virginia, the greater the chances of seeing villages filled with rednecks, Confederate flags, and citizens who hate Obama for turning the USA into a socialist State. Yes, in America such people exist in multitudes, and there's no cult of personality for one particular leader. In the mountains of the Blue Ridge area, I entered a quaint antique shop and came across this roll of toilet paper, graced with Obama's face. A whole shelf full of them, for people who wish to wipe their asses with Obama's imprint. I frequently see posts here on LJ with all the patriotic t-shirts, even vending machines filled with shirts covered in Putin's portrait, slogans with glee over "our Crimea" and other hysteria. Who wears these items?

1. I've never seen anyone wearing a Putin t-shirt in all of my travels in Russia. Maybe this is because I'm usually there in winter, when people are wearing heavy coats with their shirts covered. In the U.S., I've only seen t-shirts with Obama in Washington, DC, right by the White House. I don't think it's common to see his portrait everywhere, on clothing, on the walls, or anywhere else. In my small hometown, there's a barber shop with his image in the window. It's very strange, but of course the owner has a right to express his adoration for the President.

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2. The owner, a middle-aged black man. Very friendly and proud that the U.S. elected its first black President. If you're ever in Manassas, Virginia, visit "Royal Cuts," and have a chat with him. He looks a bit like a gangster with his tattoos and tough exterior, but he's a big teddy bear on the inside. :)

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3. As the Pope arrives in my area, I was reminded about the adoration of social and polticial leaders. Perhaps with the former it's more understandable. People like the Pope, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, who are compassionate and humble beings trying to selflessly help humanity, I believe they are worthy of respect and admiration. But for political leaders? I will never understand it, and view all of this adoration as blind patriotism, a result of propaganda generated by the very leader portrayed on the t-shirt, poster or wall. This is why such cult of personality is typical mostly with dictators, or long-term leaders, including Putin. In the U.S., there's a different type of patriotism which is prevalent. This comes in the form of the American flag, which hangs almost everywhere. Gas stations, public places, restaurants, and almost always on private residences. I read somewhere that almost 70% of Americans have a flag outside their home, or somewhere on the premises. The flag is frequently on clothing, hats, gloves, anything you can imagine.

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For me, there's a profound difference, but I doubt most will agree. I will be called naive and brain-washed for the following opinion. The American flag- it is a symbol of the nation as a WHOLE, not a particular leader or person. Politicians should always be criticized, held to high standards, and openly challenged. It's the only way a society and country grows and improves over time. Can you buy Putin toilet paper in Russia? I've seen images of it online only in Ukraine. Without aggressive challenge and discontent toward a political base, there's zero incentive for leaders to change or work to secure their future position, and more importantly, the future of their countrymen and women.

Do you know people who wear Putin t-shirts? Who wants to wipe their ass with Obama? I will mail this roll of toilet paper to the person who most easily convinces me that Obama is a horrible President. Everyone loves a contest and prizes, right? :)

P.S.: Thanks to all who provided comments and opinions on the differences between Soviet life and modern Russian life. I didn't have time to respond to everyone because I'm very busy, and there were too many opinions. But I read everything, as I always do.



Comments

( 123 comments — Leave a comment )
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logofilka
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:11 pm (UTC)
Send a roll of Obama toilet paper to Russia. You are more likely to find a grateful consumer of a tacky souvenir there.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:14 pm (UTC)
Almost all of my readers are in Russia. :) No Americans read my blog, or even know what LJ is, unless they're an immigrant who now lives here.
(no subject) - logofilka - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - logofilka - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - narcolog59 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - logofilka - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - logofilka - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alga - Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - narcolog59 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
mybathroom
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:21 pm (UTC)
I've seen a lot people, wearing Putin t-shorts in Vladimir. Also I've seen toilet paper with Obama. I don't think this is smart, it's childish.
I'm surprised about toilet paper with Obama in the USA.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:26 pm (UTC)
In the U.S., we like to criticize our leaders. :) I think it's more common to see these Putin t-shirts in resort or provincial areas, but maybe I'm wrong.
(no subject) - mybathroom - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
fesma94
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:22 pm (UTC)
Sent me roll of Obama toilet paper , we do not like him too ))))
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:27 pm (UTC)
Why? Israelis should always love America. We help keep you safe from the evil Arabs. :) Although it's no secret that Obama and Netanyahu hate each other.
(no subject) - sergant2 - Sep. 30th, 2015 12:22 am (UTC) - Expand
notfop
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:28 pm (UTC)
I think the hanging out a flags is just a tradition. In US and in Russia. In some place more and in other one less. Through the soviet period people are tired to see everywhere Red flags, and this is the reason of absence of wide presence the flags in Russians life. But, nowadays propaganda makes they work good. And flags appear everywhere :)
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:32 pm (UTC)
I've never noticed the Russian flag hanging on private residences, even in the village and provincial areas I visited. The flag doesn't have the same meaning, people aren't so attached to it as in America because the Russian Federation is still young. Maybe propaganda has increased in the past year, and there are more patriots waving the Russian flag in their apartments and home. I'll pay attention next time I visit to see if I notice a difference.
(no subject) - logofilka - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - logofilka - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - genka8 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - genka8 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 09:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 23rd, 2015 12:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zhang_fei - Sep. 25th, 2015 12:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - notfop - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
fesma94
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:29 pm (UTC)
We love America and americans , but we do not love Obama and his lovers )))

Edited at 2015-09-22 04:30 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:32 pm (UTC)
Well, I know you love me. That's all that matters. :))
(no subject) - fesma94 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skandinavia - Sep. 22nd, 2015 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
real_marsel
Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:08 pm (UTC)
I do not use toilete paper at all. And I do not persons, who wear T-shirts with ugly Putin's face.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:10 pm (UTC)
What? How do you wipe your butt after going to the bathroom? Or, you just use water, like a bidet?
(no subject) - real_marsel - Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - real_marsel - Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
qi_tronic
Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:13 pm (UTC)
In Moscow I do not see people wearing T-shirts with Putin or using any other merchandise that is sold with his portrait (like mugs).

In Goryachiy Klyuch near Krasnodar I also did not see such people athough it is a conservative and patriotic land (they have cossacks patrolling the streets together with police :) ).

What is much more common is not even a state flag but orange-red Georgian stripe.
Even my wife has this in a car :)
That's what now shows unity and patriotism.
This symbol was equally important in Imperial and Soviet periods.
qi_tronic
Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:14 pm (UTC)
en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Ribbon_of_Saint_George
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
beloborodoff
Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:23 pm (UTC)
I never see such T-shits with Putin. Never see some anti-American or dumb-patriotic banners. There is alot of this pictures in Internet but in reallity it's quite rare.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:27 pm (UTC)
The media, Internet and LJ likes to take the scandalous and represent it as the norm. :)
notabler
Sep. 22nd, 2015 05:59 pm (UTC)
Brits are very keen to criticise their leaders too. But that depends, some are very traditionally dedicated tories (like my husband, who approves almost everything, that Cameron does) or labors. But because of different newspapers all leaders are always under pressure. This week Cameron is under fire because of his naughty behavior in uni years. Some people dislike his very high education and upper-middle-class upbringing.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 06:06 pm (UTC)
What was his naughty behavior during uni? It's always amusing to read about such things. In the U.S., there's always some open declaration and admission from most presidential candidates that they smoked pot during university. :)) But the biggest scandals always happen IN the White House, like with Bill Clinton and Monica. :)
(no subject) - notabler - Sep. 22nd, 2015 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
sineglazzka2301
Sep. 22nd, 2015 06:00 pm (UTC)
In general, the idea of being proud of one's national flag appeals to me. So, I even envy Americans about that. In Russia, it isn't popular to hang out a flag, or to use it as an ornament. I'm not even sure if this is legal - to have a Russian flag hung out from the roof. I'd rather not check:) Georgy's ribbons - yes, they've become popular in some recent years. They are symbols of victory over fascism in the World War 2, and are probably being used nowadays as one of the scantily remaind symbols of Russia's former might and significance. This victory and Gagarin - the only things that we Russians can still be proud of in our recent history.
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 07:57 pm (UTC)
I think it's now legal in Russia. One of my readers who is a lawyer sent me the applicable legal code, but I can't find it now.
aavenger
Sep. 22nd, 2015 06:26 pm (UTC)
There's a lot of a difference between criticism and insult. One may not like Obama or Putin or anyone else, but they are just products of current political and social systems - and such dislikes from ordinary citizens show the necessity for changes. Civil protests, uprisings or leaving the country are just options from a list of possibilities. Finally, we cannot blame birds for their ability to fly, can we? :)))

Flag, in my opinion, stands not for the nation, but for the state identifying state bodies and structures. I do not like flags on private residencies, however, as a symbol of the nation it is fine with clothes' prints and small badges :)
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 07:59 pm (UTC)
I've never viewed the flag as a symbol of State bodies or government. For me, it represents many things - the nation and people as a whole, and the founding principles of the country. It's the same with our national anthem, which we sing before every major sporting event. :)
theodorexxx
Sep. 22nd, 2015 06:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, i thought americans hang their flag to remind themselves in what country they live
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 06:31 pm (UTC)
Ha! Maybe you're right. At times, it's easy to forget, or feel as if you're living in Mexico or Central America. :))
a_nimaida
Sep. 22nd, 2015 06:40 pm (UTC)
I like Obama
Unfortunately, the next president will probably be Hillary Clinton.

Alexander lives in the US
http://abrod.livejournal.com/842260.html
"Хиллари Клинтон уже давно вышли за рамки допустимого, а журналисты между собой ее называют «мадам Вышезакона». Например, Федеральный судья вручает ей повестку с требованием предоставить комиссии по расследованию зверского убийства посла США в Бенгази ее личный почтовый сервер, который госпожа Клинтон вопреки закону использовала как сервер Госсекретаря США, чья переписка по определению является собственностью государства. А она парирует этот удар, «добывая» решение другого судьи, который объявляет эту повестку недействительной на том основании, что она нарушает так называемое «прайваси» — частную жизнь бывшего госсекретаря, а ныне кандидата на пост президента США."
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 07:56 pm (UTC)
Actually, Hillary is not well-liked in the American public. She has strong disapproval ratings, but the Republicans have no worthy adversary. They can't seem to find a moderate candidate, with mass appeal. The party is too infiltrated with right-winged, religious wackos. Americans don't want their President to be talking about "Jesus" every other sentence. There's a strong doctrine of separation of church vs. State here.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Sep. 22nd, 2015 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 23rd, 2015 12:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sergant2 - Sep. 30th, 2015 12:31 am (UTC) - Expand
york_shambles
Sep. 22nd, 2015 07:01 pm (UTC)
I am always interested, what do americans find exactly wrong in a socialist state? it is considerably superior to a capitalist state on many parameters. Why americans are so afraid of the word "socialist"??
Are they still shaking in their shoes when remembering socialist KGB?
peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
In what ways is it "considerably superior to a capitalist state?" Not all Americans are scared. :) Many like to sit on their ass, not work, and live off of government handouts.
(no subject) - york_shambles - Sep. 22nd, 2015 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 22nd, 2015 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - york_shambles - Sep. 22nd, 2015 09:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 23rd, 2015 12:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - york_shambles - Sep. 23rd, 2015 11:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Sep. 23rd, 2015 07:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
ilay_original
Sep. 22nd, 2015 08:01 pm (UTC)
I've never seen anyone wearing a Putin t-shirt, yet ((
I've seen some portraits, even in private companies, though.
I even used to work for a company, where one of my colleagues had such a portrait in his office on the wall, together with a letter of thanks signed by Putin (presumedly)...

(not sure if the signature was kosher, frankly speaking. The Patek he wore wasn't...)

peacetraveler22
Sep. 22nd, 2015 08:03 pm (UTC)
I've seen his portrait many places. In official buildings in Russia, in offices and in personal homes.
(no subject) - ilay_original - Sep. 22nd, 2015 08:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
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