So, I'm trying to get something through my head. There's a lot of things that I understand regarding this. For one thing, we are a very jaded people today. We analyze and over-analyze every commercial we see and snort dirisively at plot holes in sitcoms that twenty years ago no one would have even noticed, or, if they had, wouldn't have bothered to comment on. Pop culture is increasingly becoming a sacred cow. It needs to approach perfection to be taken seriously, and even then you can't really earn your three teardrop tattoo of being a nerd unless you can tear down something that everyone else holds dear. (Like The Bible. Or Star Wars.)
And I further understand that the United States, even back in the 70's, was culturally quite different from the Soviet Union. Without having visited either place, I can only imagine what the blind spots in people's lifeviews were, comparatively speaking. But even with all that rattling around in my head there's still a picture I can't get out of my mind.
Picture this: you are a member of a typical Soviet family, circa the mid '70s. Khruschev is in the rearview. Afghanistan hasn't been invaded yet. It's a time of relative peace, but, still, the Cold War rages on in every household. Not only are you a member of a typical Soviet family, you're even a little on the upper side of things. Your uncle, perhaps, is a local politburo chief, or your mother is a well-respected factory manager. You have a little bit of material wealth, not that such things should matter in a socialist utopia, but, hey, still, perqs are perqs. You own a television. You've been inundated by the propoganda and the propogandistic entertainment all your life. You know what it's like. You know what to expect.
Then, one day, you're watching the useful idiot box, and this comes on. What do you do? I keep thinking, what did the people that this bit of pop culture ephemera was geared for think of it at the time it was first broadcast to them? Were they so inured to the presumably bizarre variety of the shows that it passed by without a blip? Did they all exchange a glance and a raised eyebrow, perhaps whisper about it in hushed tones to trusted friends at work the next day but not make a big deal out of it? Did everyone simply burst out laughing at the weirdness of it all, and then, simply because they were afraid to criticize the state, never mentioned it again?
As unlikely as this may be, if you lived in the Soviet Union and have any recollection at all of our recently beloved Eduard Khil, please let me know your memories in the comments. Otherwise, just pretend you were and let me know how you "reacted." The best comment will receive a special prize. Extra points for verisimilitude.
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
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