That Guy: This is Why People Hate You II

Have you ever met That Guy? Maybe you met him in high school. Maybe it was in college or in the military. I think you know That Guy. There are many That Guys but this particular That Guy is the individual who always explains his failures by way of some glitch, fluke, or foul play on the part of his opponent. He would have won that sparring match, but his opponent used an “illegal move.” He would have beaten you at that video game, but he didn’t expect you to choose that map, the one he never plays. He would have gone home with that girl, but the mass media brainwashes young women so they don’t appreciate his qualities. In childhood and adolescence it’s to be expected. In early adulthood it’s a personality flaw. Past the early twenties- it’s pathological.

It’s not that we don’t fail due to circumstances beyond our control; this happens far more often than a lot of people would like to admit. But when evaluating those failures, it’s always best to start with oneself and work your way out from there. Furthermore, there’s no reason why a failure can’t be a combination of one’s actions plus external factors. And of course there are those times when you give it your best, but it’s just not your day. You admit it and you move on.

Unless you’re Russia, apparently.

For those of you who haven’t heard, Sergei Lazarev, who was a apparently a favorite to win Europe’s worst disaster since WWII, AKA Eurovision, was beaten by Crimean Tatar singer Jamala from Ukraine. So far the reaction in the Russian media has been akin to what you might expect if Russia somehow lost its seat on the UN Security Council.

 

Almost immediately there were conspiracy theories and ad hoc explanations as to how this tragedy unfolded. The “information war” against Russia was invoked. It was implied that the Europeans may have chosen Ukraine so as to suck up to the United States, because as we all know, European countries don’t have sovereignty and their people are incapable of having opinions of their own. All in all it was a weekend laugh riot on Twitter, as we broke out the popcorn and enjoyed watching the colorful explosions of buttrage.

eurovisiononrussiantv

Fascists! Nazis! Sodomites! Yankee boot-lickers! Information war! NATO! BLEEEEEARGGGGGH!!!!

Now in case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I don’t give a damn about Eurovision. Russia, for some reason, seriously does. They care about it in spite of the fact that they hate Europe. It seems to go something like this: “You Europeans are a bunch of limp-wristed Sodomites who let marauding Muslim immigrants take over your worthless, US-controlled puppet states…but you’d better support us in your super gay song contest, the one  where the winner gets to host said super gay song contest the following year!” In fact, they care so much that they seem to have spent so much time whining about their defeat in Eurovision that they totally forgot Moscow’s CSKA basketball team won the European league final on Sunday.

And this all brings us back to the topic of That Guy. Sunday’s sour grapes storm was classic That Guy behavior. Nor was it the first time. The FIFA investigations were alleged to be a conspiracy to take Russia’s World Cup away. During the Winter Olympics in 2010, a colleague of mine said students had told him that Evgeni Plushenko was denied the gold medal for figure skating thanks to “biased Canadian judges” who conspired to give the gold to…the United States. In 2014, the US cheated the Russian hockey team out of a victory because…Okay actually even I kind of have to agree with that one.

By now the reader should see the general pattern. Lose a song contest? It’s a conspiracy! Information war! The rules were changed to favor Ukraine, possibly at the personal request of Obama! In any case it doesn’t matter because Ukraine can’t afford to host the next Eurovision contest! HA HA! Honestly if I woke up this morning to find that Russia’s Investigative Committee had opened a case to determine whether or not the Eurovision voting was legitimate I would not have been surprised in the least. I would not be surprised at all if they opened an investigation into the lyrics of Jamala’s song, “1944” and determined that the lyrics contain “extremism.” This is “normal” in today’s Russia.

And the funny thing is that in a way, Russia’s media might be right. People might have a bias against Russia. Surveys have found that much of the world holds a negative opinion about Russia in spite of millions of dollars spent on “soft power” around the globe. Sometimes that bias might end up hurting someone who really has nothing to do with the actions of the regime. Sergei Lazarev, who seems like a decent enough guy and who apparently took the loss like an adult, could possibly be an example of that collateral damage. But if this is the case, maybe the average Russian citizen who buys in to this worldwide anti-Russian conspiracy might want to dig a little deeper and learn about why this bias exists.

Here’s one tip, for example. When ordinary Russians, politicians, and media figures call Europe and the Sodom and Gomorrah, when they falsely claim that Western countries don’t really have free speech, when they support and endorse far right-wing fringe parties, neo-Nazis, and conspiracy cranks in those Western countries- Westerners find out about it. Even the ones that barely follow Russia news (AKA the majority of Westerners), they sure as hell find out when Russia implies it can nuke their countries. I also imagine a lot of Europeans aren’t thrilled when figures such as Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov imply that their governments’ failure to go along with whatever Russia wants them to do indicates that they are nothing but puppets of the United States. And maybe they are a little put off by massive tantrums every time something doesn’t go the Kremlin’s way.

The parallels with That Guy are striking. And it’s hard to deal with because many times That Guy is a friend, and he’s got some decent qualities. So it is with Russia. What you need to do, if you really value that friendship, is to hit That Guy with a dose of ice cold reality.

“Look, That Guy, you lost because you don’t train enough. You need to work harder. I can help you.”

“That Guy, the reason girls don’t want to date you is because you come off sounding needy and self-entitled, and you don’t display what you’re willing to bring to the table in a relationship.”

“That Guy, relax. You did your best, but you lost this time. You don’t always have to have an explanation.”

Of course it’s a lot easier to sit down with That Guy and have a heart-to-heart than an entire country, but hopefully more Russians will reflect on Sunday’s eruption of rage and feel embarrassed. There’s nothing wrong with it- embarrassment means you have dignity. Go with it. Putin’s regime is reducing a once-proud country to the stage of childhood and people ought to be outraged at that.

Just a final note for the record. I was invited to a Eurovision viewing party held in a cinema and since beer was available, I naturally went along. One young man in the audience was wearing a Ukrainian flag over his shoulders. Later, when Jamala’s song was announced, there was loud applause. Some people were actually singing along with her.

On one hand, these young people demonstrated far more maturity than some of Russia’s top state media personalities, as well as the fact that the Kremlin’s hate machine cannot control everyone.

On the other hand, they like Eurovision, but that’s another matter entirely.

Advertisements

28 thoughts on “That Guy: This is Why People Hate You II

  1. Paul Canning (@pauloCanning)

    There was a fascinating series of tweets demonstrating using, eh, science why Russia did not do well with the Juries. Basically the song wasn’t very good and it was entirely logical as to why it did not win out. Not that facts ever make any difference …

    Reply
    1. gbd_crwx

      Well as a ESC-entry it was actually rather good (catchy tune, good Visuals), and it won the popular vote in Europe. If this depends on Russian expats voting in great numbers or Russian phone vote fraud (sounds a bit paranoid) or just that it struck a tune with people who aren’t professional, I don’t know.

      Jim, I guess you didn’t Watch the process of chosing the Russian entry, did you? Anyway, judging from the entry I guess Russsia made a big effort to win and probably expected to.

      Reply
  2. AndyT

    The pro-Russia team’s willingness to win the gayest, most Carnival-like European event is… surprising.

    Reply
      1. Dan

        I think most Aussies were as confused as anyone else why we were there. Still, we’re obsessively competitive as a nation, so..

  3. gbd_crwx

    Re your final note: Russia got 12 Points from the ukrainian peoples vote and Ukraine got 10 from the Russian peoples vote so it the realations can’t be that bad. The comments on the Guardian on the other hand…

    Reply
  4. Callum C.

    I actually did like Russia’s song quite a lot, but I also noticed that the production values were a magnitude above the others. It seems natural to me that the judges would do their level best to not let Eurovision turn into a spending contest, and to try not to let scale and spectacle sway them.

    Reply
  5. jon

    The response is highly predictable and most comical, if not rather tiring. Most of my vatnik FB friends have gone crazy on FB. First the rage post. Then the conspiracy post. The the post about how Europe sucks (including some quite intricate poetry on the matter). Then the post of a tweet of a random European RT watcher, and a comment on how the European people love us, it is only the US led establishment that is against us!.

    In addition, some edgy lefties I know have been online blaming the US and hatred against Russia for the loss. Big shocker there too.

    Reply
  6. Asehpe

    The funny thing to me is that this is the kind of childish behavior that most parents would immediately detect in their children — including Russian parents. “Bwaah, Petya won against me, but he CHEATED! And so did Vova when HE won! And so did Misha when HE won! And…” I’m sure most Russian parents would see the pattern. But when it’s their fellow adults, including government officials… then they don’t see it.

    What’s next? If the summer is terribly hot, will it be because the US decided to speed up global warming so as to spoil their fun?

    Reply
  7. Strykr5

    So you said that Russia seemed to be viewed negatively by Europe and the world. I would agree but with one exception being many of the populous and developing nations like China and India. the population in these countries seem to be relatively pro-Russian due to their alignment with the USSR in the Cold War and the nationalistic, strong-man image of Putin which is especially a big hit in India and China where the people are being infused with a steady stream of nationalism because of rising economic and political power. In addition to all that it doesn’t seem to be anything Russia could possibly do to alienate these countries.

    Reply
  8. Muncher

    It is actually amazing how the author makes misinterpretation of everything and doesn’t tell truth almost in every sentence

    Reply
    1. Jim Kovpak Post author

      Ah yes, vatnik tactic #48: “It’s all lies! You don’t understand anything!”

      I know I’m wasting my time, but feel free to point out any factual errors in the article.

      Reply
  9. Pingback: The Mandatory Brexit Article | Russia Without BS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s