Collective unconsciousness spoke through President Obama’s voice calling Russian President, Vladimir Putin, a “Jackass.” And though the actual name-calling never happened, it could not change the fact: the joke looked very real, and people bought it.
The whole story was introduced to the public by a satiric columnist of New Yorker magazine, Andy Borowitz, and depicted his wildest dreams about what should have happened at the end of G20. He played so well with the unconscious mind that everybody believed it. No, really, can you imagine Obama calling David Cameron a “Jackass?” No way. But Mr.Putin – easy.
Talking about the collective mind of the world, according to the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, among 39 nations, a favorable view of Russia has slipped compared to 2007 and now is expressed by just 36% of respondents versus 39% who view Russia unfavorably. And who is representing Russia most for all these respondents on the international arena? Mr.Putin of course, the Russian President.
The line has been crossed many times before, but this time it may have been overdone.
If President Putin can publicly call his opponents on the Syrian issue “utter nonsense” -if you translate it in a polite diplomatic way, or “absolute stupidity” in actual Russian (“dur’ nesusvetnaya”), then after all, why can’t others do the same and call him names?
Putin openly and wrongly called the USA Secretary of State John Kerry, a liar over his Congress testimony just few days before the G20 summit. Kerry, who met with Mr.Putin a few times before, on his last meeting was kept waiting for the Russian President for three hours. He had decided not to attend the G20 summit, offended by the accusations.
Speaker of the House, John Boehner, also declined a proposal to meet the Russian lawmakers in Washington because of the situation in Syria.
Senator McCain blamed President Obama for underestimating Putin’s true intentions and on his own accord called the Russian President a thief, asking to give back the Super Bowl Ring taken from rightful owner Robert Kraft.
The story of the ring went viral just this year; although, Mr. Kraft lost his Super Bowl Ring during a meeting with Vladimir Putin in 2005. As he describes the scene, after he proudly showed the ring to the Russian President the admirer simply put it in his pocket pretending it was a present. Mr.Kraft was too shocked to contradict.
The “thief” accusations, though very strong and questionable, was not completely out of the Russian President’s league. He is well known in his country for his sharp criminal-like slang. He wanted it to be “done in the urinal” to Chechen rebels whom he a priori called terrorists. He once offered to circumcise a French journalist who was asking questions about eradicating civilians in Chechnya; and Putin publicly praised the sexual prowess of an Israeli president Moshe Katsav, accused of rape.
French journalist: … Don’t you think that by trying to eradicate terrorism in Chechnya you are going to eradicate the civilian population of Chechnya?
Vladimir Putin: If you want to become an Islamic fundamentalist and be circumcised, come to Moscow. We are multiconfessional. We have very good specialists. I can recommend one for the operation. He’ll make sure nothing grows back.
Once asked, Vladimir Putin explained his colorful language, saying that when he was young he preferred drinking beer to studying. He also admitted being involved in street gang activities in his childhood years.
If his rebel past still haunts him, than “Jackass” might have actually worked. It would have been a compete diplomatic disaster for President Obama if true, but paradoxically it might have been the indication of the only language President Putin is able to understand – the language of rude dominance.
Even if the word was not said, many silently thought the same. Like “If you think I’m the only one who feels this way, you’re kidding yourself” as Andy Borowitz put it. His joke might really be the talk of the week because it sounded very real. And if you ask me, President Putin asked for it.
By Alsu Salakhutdinov