Thursday, December 22, 2005

First Post ... Watch Out Below!

This is my first post on my new idea for a blog. I find myself reading more and more blogs, particularly those involving Russia and expats in Russia ... so I decided to give this a whirl. I am leaving for my 3rd trip to Russia/CIS in a few days, and I hope to use this to document some of my impressions. I have hundreds of photos and impressions, good and bad, about Russia and how knowing that country affects my views of the US.

One of the first things that I should say is, I get to travel a bit for work. The small consulting firm where I work has sent me everywhere from South Dakota to Florida on various projects. Most of them are small, requiring me to just pop in for a day or two, write a report, and then move onto the next project. Because of my discussions with Katja (she of Rostov Veliky fame), I have been making more and more photos when I travel. Partly it is to show her things I observe in the US .. but it is also to document my impressions of things here also.

So I was in North Carolina on Sunday/Monday .. and made this photo on the way back to the Raleigh-Durham airport. And somehow, it just struck me as wrong or skewed or terribly ironic ... in a way that the person who put these slogans on their vehicle never intended, I am sure. Am I the only one who sees these two comments as being opposed? Maybe I am going nuts, but I have come to realize that we Americans are often almost as fanatical as some of these Muslim Fundamentalists. I guess most Americans wouldnt bat an eyelash at the juxtaposition of these two slogans.

"Get the Bastards!" "Hate is Not A Family Value"

And you know, this person (I am guessing a woman) even has a pink magnetic ribbon on their vehicle. I guess this means she is opposed to breast cancer (aren't we all?). I feel a little bit like the driver of this vehicle would condemn me for pointing out that "Get the Bastards!" is very hateful and vengeful. Maybe you even know the type of person that I am imagining. They probably buy only tuna that is labelled as "Dolphin Free". Drink only organic coffee, made from fresh ground coffee beans. (Great marketing ... get people to pay more to feel good about their consumerism. Pay us a premium and you can sleep well at night, knowing you are doing your best for the planet.) I bet they have one of those coffee makers that grinds the beans and then brews the coffee immediately (well, they are nice to have, I suppose). I am sure there are some overvalued South African diamonds on a tennis bracelet involved in this picture somewhere.

And if I point out something contradictory on their car (or their behavior), I am immediately a loathesome person with dark intentions.

So, pleased to meet you. I'm the loathesome person with dark intentions.

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