November 7, 2007
No Democracy for You
Hey, speaking of revolutions, democracy, etc.: Read this harrowing NYRB piece on the triumph of Putinism in Russia. It’s all terrible, but this part seems particularly bad:
Putin’s team quickly accomplished their most important task — the capture of television — and once it had been completed, the country was subjected to pervasive, incessant propaganda that was far more skillful, effective, and all-encompassing than anything the Soviets ever conceived. The mass media have relentlessly hammered home images of Putin as a charismatic ruler leading a national renaissance, while portraying Putinism as the guarantor of stability and order. […] In short, they have transformed all the diverse hypotheses about Putin’s popularity from partial explanations into a single, dominant, and overwhelming reality.
“The capture of television.” Wow. Worth remembering (for us internet nerds especially) that TV is still the medium that basically defines reality anywhere on earth that has, like, electricity and is not San Francisco or Tokyo.
P.S. “… more skillful, effective, and all-encompassing than anything the Soviets ever conceived” — jeez!