Friday, July 22, 2005

The Russian Nanny

TV in Ukraine is interesting. Whenever Ukrainians are portrayed on TV they look and act like typical American suburbanites. It is really strange to go around here and see one one kind of culture only to see no evidence of it on TV. I don’t understand why they do this. You would think that they would write stories that take present Ukrainian culture into account but they don’t.

A good example of this is the Russian Nanny. There is a new, Russian language based show based exactly off of the nanny that is very popular here. They even have an actress who resembles her American counterpart. It is really strange stuff because if you were to watch it you would think Russia was an America with a different language. Sometimes I think that most Americans base their behavior from movies and Television, and I wonder if the same could happen here.

Another disturbing trend of Ukrainian TV and marketing in general is the exploitation of the “Orange” Revolution (Orangesploitation). There are commercials that refer to it in not so subtle terms and you can even see references to it on Vodka bottles and taxi cabs. When the Exile writes about the Orange Revolution they always put a “®” symbol. While I do not agree with all of their cynicism, I think their interpretation of things needs to be taken into account because there is some truth to it. I like the Exile because it is only of the only resources I have ever found that does not give you the American party line on every aspect of Russia (a great example). Ultimately though, even if you agree that Yuschenko and Tymoshenko are criminals, I think the Orange revolution was by far a positive event for Ukraine.

Oh, and another weird thing: all Russian TV shows and movies have to have Ukrainian subtitles. I'm sure there are a lot of people here that despise that. A glance at the history of Ukraine shows that the borders of this country have changed frequently in very artificial ways (the history of the region I am staying in is Is particularly tumultuous. Maybe this is an attempt once and for all to unite the peoples of this region under one language and one culture, which might not be bad as long as it is done in a way in which people will choose “Ukrainian” culture and not be forced into it, which would be disturbingly Soviet.

1 comment:

Andrew Gabriel Rose said...

Keeping in mind the fact that parts of Ukraine, very recently (historically) were a part of Austria, or Poland...or the goddamned Ottoman Empire, can you call it "Ukrainian" culture? Wouldn't it be Rusyny culture? The part of Ukraine you're in used to be fuckin deep in poland. How different is it just across those inconsistant borders? That's not a rhetorical question. I have no fuckin clue. You're our correspondent in the region.
I definately think it's a shame about T.V. over there. I happen to think that there's just a standardized way that T.V. is done. There's a rulebook that's used in every country for television, people in some countries just make sure to flavor the programming with their culture a little more. The rulebook was written in Britain and America. If people have the drive and the cash they can reinvent T.V. for their culture. Japan has really stylized programming, so do some Arab countries. Italy on the other hand just uses cheap knockoffs of U.S. shows like "Grande Fratello" (big brother) and, like, modernized versions of the Dean Martin show, or Lawrence Welk. T.V. is "normalizing" the world...just like, ya know, franchises. Wherever you go, you know you dont have to look at the menu, and you know it will all taste the same. Can't get my thoughts together. You already know what they are on this subject anyway.