Mediocre and ignorant: what's wrong with NTV's "parody" on Barack Obama

Mediocre and ignorant: what's wrong with NTV's "parody" on Barack Obama

3 December 2020, 17:17Culture
The plot of the television show "International Panorama", dedicated to the former US President, contains many factual and aesthetic blunders.

As Novye Izvestia has already reported, in the next issue of the NTV show International Panorama, in one of the plots the host of the program, Tigran Keosayan, showed the audience his “interview” with the participation of an actress with a face painted black, who portrays Barack Obama. In the course of the plot, Keosayan calls the former American president "a dark page in American history", and "Obama", appearing in the frame to the sound of the song "I am a chocolate rabbit", reports that "before me, none of my relatives could write at all" and reads the rap "There lived a simple boy Barack Obama, the whole state of Alabama voted for him".

After the release of this program, the influential British publication The Times accused the Russian TV channel of racism and called for a review of contracts for broadcasting sports matches. The publication called on the European Union of Football Associations to reconsider the contract with Gazprom, the owner of the TV channel that sponsors the UEFA Champions League. British journalists stressed that these competitions are aimed at promoting positive values, which do not include racism. The company must now apologize and ensure that racism is no longer on the air.

The Times drew attention to the fact that both the TV presenter and his wife, Margarita Simonyan, who writes the scripts for the program, belong to ethnic minorities in Russia. Simonyan herself noted that her husband can joke about his nationality. She accused foreign journalists of centuries-old racist imperialism.

Of course, the experienced propagandist Simonyan already had an answer to such accusations. On her channel, she wrote:

“Received a request from the British Times for the latest edition of International Panorama, which featured a parody of Obama.

Here's my answer:

"As a person who is a part of an ethnic minority in Russia, Tigran regularly on air jokes about his big 'ethnic' nose and his (and my) being 'black' (google if you don't know what ethnic groups are called 'black' in Russia).

The Times' failure to grasp the nuances of diverse ethnic backgrounds in different countries and the publication's attempts to transfer the birth trauma of the Anglo-Saxon world to a world in which such injustices have never occurred are the clearest signs of centuries of racist imperialism.

Racism just changed color..."

However, it is not only and not so much about racism. It is known that Simonyan also struggles in the field of writing, and serious critics openly laugh at her helpless literary opuses. They could not pass by the scenario, according to which the propagandist's husband, propagandist Tigran Keosayan (who did not gain fame in the director's field), “staged” his own plot. Famous film producer Sam Klebanov writes about his mediocre clumsiness in his blog:

“A few questions to Margarita Simonyan:

  1. A necessary quality of any parody or caricature is character recognition and at least some degree of similarity. If we see a parody, for example, of Trump or Putin, then we can always easily guess who it is (look at SNL - there is both). What exactly do you think the undersized gopovy "rapper" from your program is like to the 44th US president (formerly a senator and professor of law)? It's clear about the makeup on the face, but what else? What are the characteristic and recognizable qualities of Barack Obama you tried to parody here?
  2. When you come up with a joke "none of my relatives can write", you do it because: a) you are too lazy to look at Wikipedia and read that Barack Obama's mom is a PhD, author of scientific works in economic anthropology, and his Kenyan dad graduated in USA 2 universities, one of which is Harvard b) you are aware of this, but you think that your target audience does not need to know this, and they will like the version that since he is black, then all his relatives are illiterate c) you Are you projecting some personal complexes on Obama in this case?
  3. You rhyme "Obama" and "the whole state of Alabama voted" because: a) do not follow American politics and do not know that Alabama is always "red" and has never voted for Obama b) know, but you think that your target audience still won't distinguish Alabama from Oregon c) just because it's a pity that a good rhyme disappears, and it's hard to come up with another?
  4. I read your answer to criticism and did I understand your logic correctly? I am also a representative of an ethnic minority, which is not attractive to everyone, including the shape of the nose. Does this give me the right to speak out pejoratively and "joke" about other races and ethnic groups? And can I consider everyone who criticizes me for this, imperialists and "racists who changed colors"?

PS .

Please do not write to me that it is pointless to ask Margarita Simonyan questions, since she will not read / understand / answer anyway? I know that myself. But an appeal to Simonyan is just a rhetorical technique that allows one to speak on this topic for the fb audience. But if she suddenly wants to answer, then welcome!

I don't put a link to the program here - everyone who wanted to have already looked at it, why replicate squalor?

Fun fact: Margarita Simonyan could once have been my boss - when the RT channel was just created, I was invited there as a host, but I wisely refused..."

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