Freeze Peach | Cancel Russia? Sanctions Hysteria (Part I)
By Ric d'Stard Lee
Remember freedom fries?
That bizarre phenomenon of "cancelling" French fries in the United States after 9/11. If you were of conscious age on September 11, 2001, you'd know what I mean and are probably nodding in agreement with a heavy cringe. For context, as George "W.atch this drive" Bush declared his disastrous "War on Terror" on the world — millions dead, 38 million displaced in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen (take your pick, most of the actual 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia), he and his cronies soon asked "Who's coming with?"
France said, "not me" in French, and in a mass collective hysteria, the entire United States sought to rebrand French Fries as "Freedom Fries" because yeah, that'll show 'em.
A similar phenomenon is happening with Russia right now, but on a scale we've never seen. The US has been strong-arming nations with economic sanctions for shy of a century. But with the current Ukraine crisis, no matter the reasons for it, your position on it, the collective West US-UK-EU have gone electric bonkers over sanctions not just for Russia, but for Russians and Russian culture.
So far, the Russians, as in Russian people, have been cut off from Pornhub, CNN, and Facebook. Worst of all, they've had Gorbachev-era staples of American global neoliberalism — McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks — temporarily closed.
What will the Russians ever do without these Athenian pillars of freedom and democracy? Surely they're guaranteed to be much healthier physically and mentally well adjusted. But as staff called "last burgers" in Moscow's flagship McDonald's yesterday, one user spoke truth to power about his actual use of the sacred golden arches.
But despite now being the healthiest, most well-adjusted people in the entire continent of Europe, although they're no longer in Europe according to Google Maps, just like that, Russia has become "Asianized" as a people, some of whom are being sacked from their jobs all over the world for refusing to denounce their own country's actions.
Gergiev received a 24-hour ultimatum to denounce Putin or be fired. He refused. There's a new rule in town, folks. When you're Russian, you need to denounce your country publicly or risk cancellation. Sorry, is this dystopia in 1984 or 2022? One is a book, and one is playing out like the book. Oh, I get it. Is this the collective West's globalized Cultural Revolution moment?
I'm sure the likes of Gergiev are anti-war, but it's not the object of hysteria that matters. It's the principle of forcing a human being to "confess." We've never seen anything on this scale of insanity. Western institutions are rejecting all things Russia with such xenophobic force it's hard to imagine we aren't living in the 1800s.
Russian athletes; Russian books; Russian music; Russian films; Russian composers; Russian Netflix shows; Russian restaurants; Russian vodka; Russian cats, pigeons, trees; to Russian dishes that sound a little too much like "Putin" have all been sanctioned and or cancelled in the Western world—like someone had a great big "everything Russian" remote, pressing "mute all."
In the past, when the collective West was involved in a direct conflict of some sort, they paid lip service to the well being of the people within said enemy nation on purely humanitarian grounds. It was usually insincere, but there was an effort to bleat and holler about human rights against oppressive rulers. But what is happening to Russians is the perfect illustration that the "just the government, not the people" maxim has never really applied to any sense of reality.
This time it's just a complete rejection of the entire culture from the tiniest Russian doll fragment to the entire ethnicity, the techno-feudal effects of which were felt immediately.
As he would refer himself, Ric d'Stard Lee is a rogue-ish journo working from Hong Kong, China. Semi-prolific on US Empire, media, culture, and humans of late capitalism. Inquisitive. Tell it like it is. Sarky. Zen.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.
Read more articles by Ric d'Stard Lee:
Freeze Peach | Cancel Russia? Sanctions Hysteria (Part II)