East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Through the eyes of others

So apparently a Russian TV station celebrated the end of 2020 by broadcasting a fake Italian TV show, full of trashy songs and ridiculous guests, including the actresses that starred on the (equally fake) movie “Le quattro putane” (basically “the four hos”).
What a fun, classy joke, uh?
Happy New Year, you filthy animals.

It is a well known fact that trashy 1980s Italian shows have been a premium export commodity in the last thirty years, gaining a disturbing popularity in parts east, but it’s not so funny when you find out you are the butt of a trans-national joke.

And possibly even more disquieting is the general reaction of the Italian public, that cheered at this ugly thing.
Sure, it’s important to be able to laugh at ourselves, but on the other hand, should we really be proud of being considered a nation of dorks, lechers and whores?
Asking for a friend…

The shows that the Russians “parodied” were not a high point in our national culture, but certainly left a scar on the psyche of the nation. So much so that many consider such trash an important part of their personal background.
I’m probably showing my age, but I do not find it particularly pleasant.

In the end, there is only one thing I can do at this point to balance things off…

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Russian river, four letters

9781594203671OK, full disclosure: I knew about the river Amur because of crosswords puzzles.

Russian river, four letters

Maybe, had I known it is also called Black Dragon River, I would have checked out the Amur river before.

Luckily, I was offered an ARC 1 of Dominic Ziegler’s Black Dragon River.
The tag-line A journey down the Amur River, at the borderland of empires sums up nicely the contents of this thick volume that Pengiun Books will be releasing later this year.

What’s so hot about the Amur? Continue reading