There’s a common belief that country livin’ can cure you of all city ills. “A country boy can survive” as declared by Hank Williams, Jr. Well, here’s a picture that I saw from my country house the other morning.
Yikes. Toxic air and smoke produced by hundreds of forest fires around Moscow have hit the big city and all the suburbs. Some Russian officials claim the summer of 2010 turned out to be the hottest for the past 1000 years. On the one hand, it is big and exciting (wow, we are witnessing something that one doesn’t see every day or even every year) but on the other hand, it’s quite scary. What kind of situation is it when you can’t even escape into the woods?
A statistically average Russian girl is raised with a tremendous amount of “you must” over her shoulders. First, she MUST study well at school. As soon as she reaches the age of 20 (in some regions even earlier) she MUST get herself a fiance and she MUST marry him within a year or two. The next thing she must do is have kids, be a good mother and an excellent wife who is pleasing her husband with a delicious dinner every single evening. Having a career is not forbidden at all but only if it does not conflict with all of the above.
One might think that Russian women are poor miserable slaves who are exploited all their lives. Well, not exactly. The thing is we take it for granted. And very few of us honestly think that it’s OK not to feed their husband when he comes home from work.
And here is what I find deliciously striking in “Sex and the city 2”. The main characters, Carrie and Big, are finally married. No kids. Carrie is around 40 and Big is considerably over 40. When a friend asks them if they plan to have kids, they reply something like: “No, we don’t. Maybe some day”. Another thing is that Carrie is a freelance writer which means she doesn’t have to work 9 to 5 in a dusty office and is supposed to have enough time to do things around the house. But still, when Big comes home from work, he brings along a take-out bag from a nearby restaurant. Because he’s hungry. And because Carrie doesn’t cook. At all. But they are still in love and they are still together.
I think all Russian guys and gals must see this movie despite the fact that it’s far from being a masterpiece or a future cinematographic legend. It teaches that YOU are the only master of your life and whatever you consider right will be right for you and your family. Delete stereotypes. Stop listening to your mother (at least at some point of your life :)). And enjoy the fruits of your new ideology.
Now here’s a question: where is the line between being funny and being offensive? This is a billboard in Moscow advertising a local sushi restaurant. The heading says “Eat America!” and the idea is that Alaska rolls are available for as low as 99 RUR (~$ 3.4) per portion. Maybe I’m overreacting but I probably wouldn’t be happy about some “Eat Russia!” billboard somewhere in NYC. What do you think? Rude or funny?
I went to my favorite weather site today ( http://weather.yahoo.com/ ) to look up the forecast for Moscow. To my surprise, I couldn’t find Russia in its usual section which was “Europe”. After quite a search I found it here:
Any thoughts on this sudden change of status? 🙂
Here’s a flyer that I picked up in a Moscow restaurant. It says “Tanning studios network”. Now isn’t that special? Next thing you know they’ll have Bill Gates’s picture advertising some hi-tech vibrators. )