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March 4, 2014

Sochi 2014/Crimea: We Are All Neville Chamberlain?

I was interested in this graph tweeted this weekend by @che1i0s and retweeted by many others, including Pussy Riot.  It’s really not that distinctive from the great trove of antiwar graphics created over the years, except for one thing: the Olympic rings. What that logo does, obviously, is connect the multibillion dollar sports spectacle, in very close proximity, to the invasion of the Crimea. (Not to mention Putin and Russia’s backdoor involvement in the Ukrainian protests concurrent with the epic athletic hoopla.)

“Obviously” is the key word, though, isn’t it?

What’s so clever, if not profound about the logo is how it captures the disconnect between Putin’s Games and Putin’s “games.” Two weeks ago, the world — led by the corporate advertising and media world, hitched to sports fans worldwide — were reveling in the show. Watching the tanks roll and the blood spill this week, what it points to is a great yet silent miasma as if the Olympics took place in a bubble. What the graphic quietly calls out is how the Games enabled Putin, as if there were no distinction (at least, in his mind) between the sheen of this revered institution and his personal brand.

From that standpoint, perhaps the weather system is a lot more widespread and we could stand to think harder about where the umbrella came from.

(graphic: unattributed)

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