Specularis: National Offense

(Okay, I'm gonna lay off the mock Latin after this post.) As an interesting mirror to my last post where I looked at people's fascination with being gawked at, here's a bunch who obviously aren't quite as happy to be observed. The Eurovision song contest this year is being held in Moscow, and the Swedish national finals included a intermission segment in which a pair of comedians did a "Russian" version of a (made up) dansband song which has been a running gag in the semifinals. It's absolutely bursting with bad clichés and stereotypes, which is probably the point: there are Balalaikas, pumping techno, the Red Army choir, nesting dolls, women who look like prostitutes, gangsters, a bear, even Tetris. See it minus accompanying sketch from the 4:25 point below:

The Russian embassy is not happy. Not happy at all. The choice quote is probably:
“We do not react to eccentricity by some lunatics whose Russophobia should place them in an asylum rather than on Globen’s stage.”
Which leads me to reiterate my point about various reactions available to touristic attention.

I'm considering the idea that it's an issue of power dynamics somehow, but while something like the Entropa squat toilet controversy can be put down to a national inferiority complex, it's hard to imagine Russia feeling inferior to Sweden. Generally, this kind of humour (and it was a riff at Russia, whatever Schlager Ronnie says in the article above) is acceptable between equals, but gets uncomfortable when the butt of the joke is oppressed. Imagine the above joke with the English, and no-one would mind. Imagine it with Arabs, and it starts to feel decidedly less funny. But surely Russia is big enough to take it lightly? Perhaps it represents an insecurity or feeling of offense from an earlier era in which slavs where indeed considered inferior.

(But I'm just speculationg here. There's obviously a cultural difference going on. Another possible factor I think might be included is insularity - many of the governments I can see being insulted by this tend to be rather inward-looking.)

What do you guys think? Is Russia right in being offended? In that case, are those that aren't offended by this sort of thing wrong?

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