Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Social: Raspberries (The portrayal of Russians in films and video games)

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The following is a slightly edited transcription of a discussion I had with my friend Sergey from Moscow, used with permission.
Careless: Okay, so huge question. I love Command and Conquer and have played the series since the original... However, more than Command and Conquer, my favorite games in the series have been Red Alert 1 & 2, the ones in which Russia outright declares war on America and starts World War 3. Being Russian what are your views on these games, which are clearly over the top but make Russia out to be... Well, rather goofy at timesI should also preface this with the fact that I pretty much only play as Russia because they're awesome in the game as well.
Sergey: Russians don't feel any hurt by such views of our nation. Russians LIKE the views like the ones found in Red Alert or Swarzenegger's Red Heat. Even more, sometimes Russians deliberately spread such stereotypes and points of view! There is a special word that describes all such things, a cultural code or genre of art...We call it... *drumming* the KLYUKVA (клюква, Russian for cranberries). Enthusiasts compile list of Klukva and like to search it in any foreign books/movies/games about Russia. Short-list (by memory): Lenin, vodka, balalaika (musical instrument), red color, the wrong use of Russian Language in Hollywood films, when people "wЯitе" like this...

There are many web communities, that enjoy Klukva. 
Here are some fun examples:

Fantastic Four The name of the ship is "Head of Toe"... Better call it "ToeTanic"
Independence Day 
The Map is horribly wrong showing cities where there are none. Also, Петроrрад was the name of St. Peterburg in before it was called Leningrad and the third city on the map is entirely unreadable

It translates to "Speak English or get out!"
(And of course...) Red Alert 
on the spine of the books: БРЭТ ЖОПА. The first world is meaningless and the second means: butt (or ass).

Of course, Red Alert is an outstanding game! I remember when I first played it. I must have been 8 or 9...It was entirely awesome. I think one of my friends said it best though, "It's impossible to not to love a game, when the units go to the battle with words "For mother Russia!""

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