I was cautiously avoiding homework when I decided to find my favorite Russian aria on YouTube. Here it is:
But what I found was even better:
It’s a movie from deep in the Cold War–and I think it was the first time I had seen moving pictures through the Russian gaze. I’d seen Western propaganda about Russia, but never images of Russia as made for Russians. It was as relieving experience as reading Aljazeera English and remembering that not all media dehumanizes my Arab friends.
And the singing is glorious.
“It was man who ended the Cold War in case you didn’t notice. It wasn’t weaponry, or technology, or armies or campaigns. It was just man. Not even Western man either, as it happened, but our sworn enemy in the East, who went into the streets, faced the bullets and the batons and said: we’ve had enough. It was their emperor, not ours, who had the nerve to mount the rostrum and declare he had no clothes. And the ideologies trailed after these impossible events like condemned prisoners, as ideologies do when they’ve had their day.”–John Le Carré