Friday, August 09, 2013

Russia seems to backtrack, might enforce anti-gay "propaganda law" at Winter Olympics

The Washington Post has weighed in with an editorial Friday Aug. 9, 2013, “Russia’s War on Gays”, link here.  Despite some conciliatory statements about being “politically correct” from the Russian government last week about the Olympics, now the latest is that Russia’s “sports minister” backtracked and said that all Olympic athletes and visitors would indeed be subject to Russia’s “propaganda law”.
The very fact that it is called such recalls what we learned about “propaganda” in civics class back in the 1960s.  The concept gives ordinary people no credit for being able to do their own thinking.
I’ve written that the Russian law seems related to low birthrate problems, which is ironic when one considers the controversy in China over its one-child policy unraveling.  But the Post (and Blade) see it as simple convenient scapegoating.

There is something to take note here.  Authoritarian systems see “morality” in terms of getting every person to comply with common goals, and see dissidents as “weak links” in the common good.  But in the 1950’s America, we saw a lot of that kind of thinking ourselves.  I grew up with it.  Sustainability concerns can bring that kind of thinking back here, too.  

Update: Later Friday

President Obama, in a news conference, mentioned the anti-gay law after discussing his canceling a meeting with Putin, primarily over the Snowden affair.  But he said the best thing would be for some LGBT athletes to win medals.  If Russia didn't send any LGBT athletes, it could be at a competitive disadvantage in the Olympics.

Of course, the old Soviet Union pampered athletes, and probably gave them PED's, to prove the "superiority" of communism.

At the same time, the ability of major league sports players to "come out" in the US is starting to get press attention.  Undoubtedly, there are people capable of playing MLB or NFL who didn't try to enter because of past unofficial "bans".   It would seem that maybe the Los Angeles Dodgers should sponsor a home run hitting contest for celebrities, and see how many LGBT personalities show up and perform in it.  Imagine... 

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