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Viktor Shenderovich: Macaroni (Echo of Moscow)

posted 21 Oct 2014, 13:46 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 21 Oct 2014, 13:56 ]
18 October 2014

By Victor Shenderovich

Source: Echo of Moscow

Shamil Tarpishchev has been suspended from work at the WTA for a year and fined $25,000 for making a joke about the Williams “brothers” in the TV program Evening Urgant.

Tarpishchev thinks that Americans don’t understand his sense of humour.

In my opinion it is the opposite. They understand his sense of humour only too well, and that’s exactly why he was suspended and fined.

In spite of it being an individual case, we can clearly see the division of civilisations: Tarpishchev - together with the TV program Evening Urgant and the management of Channel One - apparently, find his comments genuinely funny.

- Macaroni.

- Ha-ha-ha! 

Is there a problem?

Well, the issue is that this isn’t a problem for many people where Tarpishchev comes from.

Nothing defines a person so well as his sense of humour. The idea whether something is funny or not, in its basics, represents a person’s taste, their ethical values…. And the dominant norm of humour is the thing you wanted to know about society but were afraid to ask.

Long ago, Irina Petrovskaya, the TV critic, attended the recording of the humorous TV show Anshlag (or something of a similar kind). After the recording she came back very sad. Listen, she said to me, the audience really does laugh at the jokes there!

Irina with her pure soul had been hoping that all those years the laughter on the show was fake. However, your average Russian-from-the-street was laughing their head off for three hours at the silly jokes. At that point Irina Petrovskaya understood that it was a sort of sentence passed on us all.

Because those who don’t feel immediately sick or dart out of the audience are the steel structure supporting our political regime. They are, practically speaking, the collective and hardly-distinguishable voters of Putin, Zuganov and Zhirinovsky. And Putin’s personal repertoire (including his barrack-room jokes) always and unmistakably becomes a hit among the grateful audience.

In the face of these hard-core government standards (with the chopping off of bits so they don’t grow back, and the latest description of the difference between a grandma and a granddad) the gender comment made by Shamil Tarpishchev on Channel One looks a bit like something from Woody Allen.

Is there a problem? 

- The Williams “brothers”. 

- Ha-ha-ha! 

The Yanks just have no sense of humour

Translated by Olga Cable