June 25, 2008
I?ll be honest, when Putin was censoring the speech of Chechen Islamicists or those repulsive former Commies known as the Oligarch, I wasn?t exactly jumping to my feet to condemn the human rights violations in Moscow?s state-run media environment. However, after the recent actions of Putin?s hand-picked successor?how do you pronounce his name again? Medevarova or something??to silence the Moscow-based and fantastically irreverent English-language paper know as The eXile, well, I?m just about ready to take back all those nice things we published about Putin in the past!
I learned about this through my friend the Tory Anarchist; the first to report seems to be the venerable Der Spiegel?here?s the link for our Teutonic readers?and there I learned that the main issue seems to be that The eXile publishes the writing of the leader of the National Bolshevik Party, Eduard Limonov, a true fusionist, as it were.
The Nation?s Katarina Vanden Heuvel, who interviewed The eXile?s founder, Mark Ames, is right to sense that this might be one of those rare times when the Western media applauds Putin?s authoritarian excess:
?I asked Ames, The eXile’s chief editor in recent years, why he thinks the US mainstream media did not respond quickly. “It doesn’t fit their simple propaganda,” Ames told me. “Putin is an oppressor—except when he oppresses something that the American mainstream media doesn’t approve of either. Americans have proven that it’s not oppression or censorship they oppose—it’s opposition to America that they oppose. We’ve angered most of the Western press corps for eleven straight years by constantly calling them on their hypocrisy and idiocy, so the last thing they want to do is give us an honorable send-off, despite all their pieties about ‘supporting free speech that you disagree with.’ It’s censorship by silence, the most lethal of all, and it really sickens all of us to see it.”
Here?s Ames himself reporting on his recent radio debate with the Duma deputy Robert Schlegel, an avid Young Putinist who exclaimed, ?The Russian media is completely free ? Our television stations express all the opinions of the people.”
I?ll let Ames take it from here:
How do you respond to that? I told him that he lived in some strange parallel world separate from the world everyone else in Russia lives in; his world was some kind of formalistic fantasy land where all of Russia ran a law-abiding state; the world the rest of us saw was one in which people hid from Russia’s cruel and arbitrary powers, so when a media outlet like the Exile gets fingered, people understandably run. Schlegel didn’t take kindly to it.
When I started to talk about the shameful self-censorship that went on in the American media in the lead-up to the Iraq war, and the disastrous consequences that followed, Schlegel loudly cut me off: “The American media was right to support the invasion of Iraq, because the American people supported that war. Of course the American media should back the president!”
“But the only reason that the American people supported the war was because the media duped them! They didn’t do what they were supposed to do!” I stammered.
“No, Bush was right to invade Iraq!” Schlegel yelled. “I absolutely support his reasons for invading, and I believe the American media did the right thing in supporting the war, because the American people supported this war.”
Finally, here?s The eXile?s War Nerd (aka Gary Brecher)?a frequent Takimag contributor?calling mayday, mayday:
I’m calling in an urgent request for reinforcements, before we’re overrun. The eXile, my HQ since I started this column, has been sucker-punched by a bunch of squeamish bureaucrats and anonymous complainers. You know the type, the kind of people who’ll poison your dog but don’t have the guts to come to your door. Looks like this Fifth Column is winning, and we’ll be forced to retreat from Moscow. And you know how messy retreats from Moscow can get. Ask the Little Corporal; he left the Kremlin with half a million men and came home with about enough for a high-school marching band.
Well, the Bible gives clear instructions on what to do if the locals spit on you for trying to help’em out. It’s right there in the Book, in fact the Book of Mark, Chapter 6 if I recall, makes for a nice Mark-Ames tie-in, huh? Here’s what the Bible says:
“And whosoever shall not hear you, when ye depart, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily, It shall be easier for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for them.”
Ya hear that, Moscow, ya ungrateful place? We’re shakin’ your dust from our ‘Nam boots and setting up a new site somewhere not so allergic to truth, boobs and gory jokes. Maybe we can get Eritrea to give us a home. I volunteer to be the eXile’s Eritrean rep right now.
The thing is, it takes money and we have none, zero, aren’t even getting paid any more. We need help. That’s what this mayday is about. You want us in the foxhole with you, fighting against all that’s good and decent in the name of all that’s funny and honest? Then cough it up, soldier!
?Gary Brecher, The War Nerd
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