You Don’t Give Up On Love

 The Sochi Olympics have shown who’s really shit and who’s an artist  02/20/2014, 19:17
You Don’t Give Up On Love
Photography by Sergei Mordvinov

The lesson we can learn from our Olympics in Sochi is «Life won’t end tomorrow morning». It’s like how a spell of good luck will pop up every once in a while after an unlucky streak, and the darkest hour, as is well known, is just before the dawn. Don’t bite the hand — all that sort of stuff.

I’m becoming sentimental with age. I was lucky enough to see the performance of Olympic champion Yulia Lipnitskaya live, and even now it’s still nice to feel (and this feeling will stay with me for a long time) that my delight isn’t something viral, picked up from social networks, but my very own high-quality delight — pure joy, devoid of intermediaries. From the performance of our athlete, not only the dance, which tells us no less about perfection and beauty than various philosophical treatises or poetry, has stuck in my memory, but also the commentators’ behaviour.

10 thousand Russian users searched for the song You Don’t Give Up On Love on search engine Yandex within 24 hours of Yulia Lipnitskaya’s performance

It’s obvious that we gasped for breath at the same moments, and all of our «wows» sounded virtually in unison, regardless of culture, language and so on (another cliché, but a necessary one). A shared experience for Finns, Japanese and maybe even Tanzanians, who don’t have a clue about ice — this is the great (sorry again) mystery of the Olympics, not totting up extinguished torches or ridiculous pictures of the one bathroom in Sochi that was clearly ruined by migrant workers.

So now it’s all the more pleasant to see the mass repentance of those who just yesterday were sarcastic and disparaging, counting up how much was spent there, at the Olympics, per capita, and anticipating how our unfortunate native land would tumble into a maelstrom of worldwide shame and international scandal to the joyful hymns of Pussy Riot with Madonna on backing vocals.

But somehow it suddenly turned out that Yulia Lipnitskaya and our (sic!) first gold medal were more important than Tolokonnikova and Madonna, the shutdown of TV channel Rain and everything else the online elite were amusing themselves with a week ago.

All these negative Olympic ruminations come from helplessness, of course. I mean, criticising the Olympics at this stage is yet another way to justify your own incapability to yourself: like, what can I do if it’s all pointless anyway — they’ll just take our money and spend it on their Olympics.

23,5 billion roubles ($650m) — the construction cost of Fisht, the main Olympic stadium (the original estimate was 7.5 billion)

As always, against the background of such significant events, no one’s interested in tackling the issues regarding the budget of their property management company, or dealing with current legal problems in their neck of the woods, or doing their job so awesomely that, figuratively speaking, a notional «Putin» would be ashamed for being a talentless tyrant next to such a genius mechanic or copywriter. Give back the money from the Olympics because, as they say, it’s fiddling while Rome burns, and despite the obvious success of the Sochi project, you should still post (for the thousandth time) pictures of double toilets in your little blog and throw your box of shit into the common pile.

I’m pretty sure those toilets were put there on purpose. It all seems like elaborate trolling, bringing the universal mental deficiency in society to the surface.

Come to your senses, people!

Two types of messages, quotes and links in my news feeds are bothering me.

50 billion dollars — the cost of the most expensive construction projects for the Sochi Olympics: the 131km Adler-Krasnaya Polyana road and four new railway stations

In the first, foreign journalists and local liberals accuse a certain notional «Russia» or notional «Putin» of showing a glossy history of the country at the opening and not conveying the horror of, say, the Gulag or, I don’t know, collectivisation. Particularly unpleasant is the fact that much of this is written by «converts», i.e. currently pro-Western journalists, and first or second generation emigrants from Russia and the USSR. I’d like to see the opening of an Olympics in the USA with details about the KKK or buses with separate seating for the coloured that drove around America 50 years or so ago. But, by the way, there are yet more rules from the notional IOC that forbid playing the political card or dramatising at Olympic venues.

In the second type, many suggest transferring the money already spent on the Olympics to cover social expenditure, or boycott the event, instead of which it would have been possible to open a hundred hospitals and cure a million patients.

That’s all well and good, but why does it have to be this money, and not the billions donated to Ukraine? Or any of the other billions that have gone missing in our country?

All this notional liberal hysteria, of course, comes from an acute sense of worthlessness, which was illustrated long ago by absurd poet Daniil Kharms ("I’m an artist!«— «In my opinion, you’re shit!»). This sense of civic and aesthetic worthlessness is multiplied by the efforts of the President of the Russian Federation:

«I’m an artist

«In my opinion, you’re shit, but I’m really an artist, politician, Olympian and everything else,» responds Putin, so to speak. «What have you ever done?»

The artist collapses and is carried away.

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