Friday, August 16, 2013

From Russia With Loathing

Not a day goes by without a new development in the Russia-hates-gays story.  Consider just some of the happenings from this week:

--We learned that television anchor Anton Krasovsky, who had covered Russia’s draconian anti-gay propaganda laws, made an impromptu decision to come out on the air.  He was fired faster than you can say “Nyet.”
--American TV host Andy Cohen, who has co-hosted the Miss Universe pageant the last two years, announced he’s skipping this year’s pageant in Moscow because he doesn’t “feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia.”

I’m deeply pleased Cohen took this public stand.  Even though I’m as interested in the Miss Universe pageant as I am in the study of newt livers.

--There continues to be disagreement within the American LGBT community whether boycotting Russian vodka is the proper course of action.  Or whether Russian vodka is made in Russia.  Or whether capers are preferable to olives in a vodka martini.

--The track and field world championships are currently taking place in Moscow, and American Nick Symmonds dedicated his silver medal in the 800-meters to his gay friends at home, and two Swedish athletes sported rainbow fingernails.  But Russia’s gold-medal winner in the pole vault, Yelena Isinbayeva, staunchly defended her country’s new laws.

Isinbayeva is a darling of Russia, and will serve as “mayor” of one of the Sochi Olympic villages.  If it’s the one where out and flamboyant American figure skater Johnny Weir lives, it’ll be the Battle of Stalingrad all over again.

--Scott Blackmun heads the United States Olympic Committee, and he told a Russian media outlet that athletes often compete in countries with laws different from their own, some of which they like, and some they don’t.  He said, “It’s our strong desire that our athletes comply with the laws of every nation that we visit. This law is no different.”

It’s my strong desire that Blackmun remove his head from his nether regions, because this law is indeed different.  This law helped create the venom and violence Russian gays are enduring now, and LGBT athletes and fans from around the world are headed for a maelstrom in Sochi.

How gay athletes are going to concentrate on their sports in Sochi I don’t know.  But this super-charged atmosphere might suit the outrageous Johnny Weir beautifully.  I’m going to place a bet on him to win gold.  Or at least attention.