Legalized doublethink: spy movies as an anthropology of hypocrisy

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Legalized doublethink: spy movies as an anthropology of hypocrisy
Legalized doublethink: spy movies as an anthropology of hypocrisy
27 June, 14:18CulturePhoto: Кадр из сериала
The domestic series "Silver Wolf" perfectly conveys the true meaning of the domestic "spy romance".

Sergey Mitrofanov

The plot "about spies" is one of the oldest and most beloved. Because there is an adventure in it, there are "bad" and "good". But, probably, only today, when an overabundance of spies in life and in art began to seem total and already somewhat poisonous to the social fabric, he began to expose his immanent problem - the culturally sanctioned glorification of hypocrisy, lies, intrigue, which are in a case with spies become not a vice, but, as it were, a virtue.

But this, of course, is not necessary. Take at least the pillar of the genre in our current modernity - 007, James Bond. For some reason, it never seemed strange to anyone that he did not hide and did not try to seem like someone else. He has always been a very "honest" spy. From the very first shots of his Bond film, Bond stubbornly declared to his enemies, too: “My name is Bond. James Bond”, which helped the layman to try on the image of Bond on himself, without conflicting with the classical norms of morality.

It is not surprising, by the way, that in this hypostasis of the presented qualities of Bond's personality, Iggy Pop sang the luminary of punk rock, emphasizing that being a Bond is possible and even preferable in ordinary human communication between a man and a woman.

“She wants to be your James Bond. Well, it's not for a price and it's not to be nice…” (“She wants to be your James Bond. But not for the money or to be nice…”)

On the contrary, the image of the Soviet James Bond - Max Otto von Stirlitz - turned out to be deeply traumatic for several generations of Soviet viewers and readers. Since sooner or later all of them, having gone through the school of almost official Soviet doublethink, began to wonder how the Soviet intelligence officer Stirlitz managed, with his Soviet and party hardening, to make such an excellent career in the Gestapo and not be pierced in the reports for the work done, regularly receiving bonuses and awards ? So, is it possible?

The answer usually came by itself. Can! If over the hypocrisy of the spy, allowed and even welcomed by bigamy, there was a roof of patriotic debt to the System, the right political side.

In other words, lie at work, cheat on your family and write any fake reports, but be a patriot (or be a dissident - this is a secret order of "others", countermorality)! So we all did in the Brezhnev seventies, trying on the ethics of Stirlitz on ourselves and as if not noticing the paradox: a person, even a spy, often lives a little longer than his roof, whose loyalty or resistance would justify espionage hypocrisy.

I'm lucky. In my life, I turned out to be familiar with two famous illegal immigrants. One, a foreign citizen, either a British or a Belgian, who went over to the side of the Stalinist USSR. Another, a Soviet citizen, who was implanted for ten years in the United States, made a career there, became a photographer for major magazines, settled down, having a decent bank account, and then was forced to return. What a wonderful basis for an adventurous romance!

The added intrigue, however, was that the side they both swore allegiance to constantly changed shape, crawling sideways like a snail. When the former, having stolen something like another atomic bomb and made Stalin even stronger, returned to the USSR to receive orders and other bonuses for the work done, the Stalinist USSR was no more, and Khrushchev's revelations began.

And the spy, recalled from the United States, ended up in Perestroika and the complete liquidation of espionage structures protegeist in relation to him. I then tried to ask both of them the same question, so to what side did they then keep the oath justifying pretense in other societies that were very hostile to them? And in general, did this oath make sense? Did not later disappointment come in the fakeness of life itself?

As far as I now understand, both managed to say nothing. And I didn't insist. But it is known that the first sent his Soviet children to the diplomatic academy and was buried with great honors. And the second wrote a book authorized by the authorities with a circulation of 3,000 copies, and in it the phrase: "What we have brought to the country remains a mystery to me." And he also died.

And now I will go directly to the movie that I was advised to see on this topic.

It is called the series "Silver Wolf", 2022, with the participation of the star of "Tehran-43" - Igor Kostolevsky, as if our domestic "Richard Gere". As for the anthropology under study, it reveals itself in the way they, the "spies", see themselves from within their sociality.

Someone may object to me: it is not they who “see”, but the screenwriters, directors, etc., that is, “inventors”. But the "vision" still penetrates through the consultants used in the "boyana" environment. It seemed to me that the book of my second acquaintance, Illegal Over the Ocean, was also incorporated into the script (Moscow: Publishing House "Consultbanker", 2002). In the script, stories about how illegal immigrants from the USSR are “pierced” at their very first contacts in the West usually leave with a bang. They will order a steak in a diner incorrectly, distorting the pronunciation. They will pay with dollars from a spy warehouse and therefore strangely damp.

It is customary to make fun of spy movies. It's especially funny how in the "Silver Wolf" the spies formed a strong spy family. The same as in the Japanese animated series "Family of Spies", Spy x Family, 2022 , but there it's at least a joke, here it's serious. The father of a certain good girl (Maria Andreeva), a spy who returned from the cold after thirty years of infiltration (Igor Gordin). Adoptive father (Igor Kostolevsky) is a veteran of the special services, a teacher of espionage. Her young man is a promising FSB officer, jealous of Kostolevsky's reputation at work. Not surprisingly, the family drama is burdened with professional deformation. The characters follow each other, intriguing, and it is not very immediately clear whether for good or for evil.

The scenario collision is exacerbated by the fact that the one who returned from the cold did not want to return, because at the same time he lost his well-established sunny life in America, where he played golf and on the stock exchange. And they will send, - he thought sarcastically, - in his place, probably some son of a general, it's a shame. That is why the order of the Center, ominously transmitted right on the golf course, forced him to go to the opposite side, and the adoptive father (good) to begin an operation to expose the real father (bad and sold out).

But most of all, I liked that all of them, in their deeds, dreams and aspirations, as if they also remained quite Western people, or rather, international ones, drove good jeeps around beautifully photographed Moscow, spent money in Moscow bars, not counting. When the senior spy complained about the bad coffee, the young spy brought an Internet-controlled coffee machine to work the next day. What is it? Well, I brought a new coffee machine so as not to be distracted by nonsense.

When our nice girl needed to find a good clinic for a certain boy (it’s not hidden that they are better in the West, they will help there), a bad spy with remaining foreign connections immediately found one (of course, with an eye on a spy program), and the father of a sick boy , the scientist, realizing that they would not help his son in Russia (which is the holy truth, they were not even going to help), agreed to transfer a dangerous isotope for the West. In the West, Western intelligence agencies intended to use this isotope to undermine themselves in order to blame Russia for everything, and good Russian spies, it turns out, prevent this catastrophe. Save Europe.

What a wonderful world it is! But something prevents him from laughing. It's probably the end for him. There will be no more of these expensive cars that say “We are spies” in large letters, and there will now be nowhere to take coffee machines at work. The West will no longer undermine itself to blame Russia. What for? There are too many accusations. The familiar world becomes obsolete in the blink of an eye. What will our spies do next? How will their spy romance develop in the future? It's scary to think.

Or maybe the one who sold out and killed several people, shot his own daughter, will come over to our side again? After all, such shots are not scattered. And everything will be very good again.

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