Friday, February 7, 2014

Hey, are you media guys being mean to Vladimir Putin?

The American Conservative seems to think so, and its Senior Editor Rod Dreher is hard on the case, gathering leads in a post cleverly entitled "Putinfreude". Because, dude, if you can coin a meme that ends up going viral, David and Ross will link to you, donchaknow, and you know what happens then, don't you? That's right, bro: big advance.

And...well, aw, shucks, that's not going to fly. Nyet, nyet, nyety-nyet-nyet.

Commenter Paige Belle points out

Putinfreude would mean “joy taken in Putin.” I’m sorry, but the joke does not work.

Nuh-uh, Rod retorts, in his most TACcy Senior Editor retortiness

[NFR: You're being too literal. You know perfectly well it's a play off of the sounds in the word "Schadenfreude." -- RD]

I know how he feels. I'm often gobsmacked myself when I take professional writer Rod Dreher at his literal word.

But, actually, "Putinfreude" ends up serving DreherTAC's purposes twice over, by soliciting the taking of names of those being meanies to the international thug Putin in the service of the inexplicable joy they seem to take in him, as The Washington Free Beacon recently noted (originally linked, I think, by Pik, but I couldn't find the comment; sorry.)

The magazine has recently taken to supporting Russian President Vladimir Putin

In an essay for the January 2014 issue headlined “Russia’s right turn: Moscow has reclaimed its 19th-century conservative role,” William Lind argued, “American conservatives should welcome the resurgence of a conservative Russia” under President Putin, who has passed laws against gay “propaganda.”

The American Conservative also published a pro-Putin column in December by Buchanan, who founded the magazine in 2002.

“While much of American and Western media dismiss him as an authoritarian and reactionary, a throwback, Putin may be seeing the future with more clarity than Americans still caught up in a Cold War paradigm,” Buchanan wrote.

Calls to the American Conservative’s customer service line were unanswered, and editor Daniel McCarthy did not immediately return a request for comment.

So what is it that has DreherTAC forever wishing they knew how to quit Putin but failing?

His strong, Godfather-ly hand in world affairs? Like Syria.

His status as the political head of the church to which at least two of TAC's senior editors belong?

Or just those never-ending beefcake poses?


  1. So what does "Putinfreude" mean? If it were a play on words, it would mean something like "joy in Putin's sorrow," but I don't think Putin is particularly sorrowful these days.

    But professional writer Rod explains, if that's the word I want, that it's not a play on words, it's a play on word sounds. "Putinfreude" is a word that *sounds* sort of like another word, but even poets ought to have some care as to what words mean.

    I gather from what Keith writes that it's supposed to mean something like "undue criticism of Putin," but... why does it mean that? Or rather, why does "Putinfreude" work as a neologism for "undue criticism of Putin," when joy in another's sorrow has nothing to do with undue criticism?

    I don't think it's a matter of being too literal. I think it's a matter of understanding how language works.

  2. This is one of those why did the dog bark in the night kinds of things. Who even gives a flyin' eff about what happens to Putin in the first place, and why would they?

    A: You're on the edge of the cliff, your kids are starving, and every other subject in the universe and the words to describe them have fled your brain like frightened quail.

    B: [Your qualifier here] bromance.


  3. Thanks for posting this. I just finished reading Rod's posts on Putin. Daniel Larison writes about Putin as if Putin is paying him directly (perhaps he is). Perhaps this is because....
    1. Putin has been acting as an effective counter-balance to American foreign policy in the Middle East, a policy that Dreher and his ideological comrades hate. Remember, TAC supports anything or anyone that embarrasses the "neo-cons."

    2. Putin makes overtures to the Russian Orthodox Church, to which Rod belongs and which has allowed itself to be co-opted by the tsars and Communists for centuries.

    3. Putin opposes homosexuality, which makes him one of Buchanan's favorites.

    Rod writes as if he doesn't understand history. The Chinese used the Olympics for political purposes. The Nazis did likewise. The Soviets did likewise. Hell, the United States did likewise by boycotting the Moscow Games.

    These "conservatives" have no moral compass except their own ideological fantasies.

    1. Well, that and Ambien:

      [NFR: I wrote them last night. I wrote half of them on Ambien...

      I suppose in an Ambien-addicted fever dream a beefcake like Putin could take on a new...resonance, let's call it...for a guy with already published Daddy issues. No pants-puller-downers gonna get by a strong, virile protector like Putin standing athwart the pass, that's for sure.

      Again, why does Putin require or deserve Dreher's or anyone else's defense? If the answers aren't rational, they must be something else.


    2. Keith: "If the answers aren't rational, they must be something else."

      You nailed it again, Keith.

      What the "something else" might be, people can speculate about. You have offered your own set of possibilities.

      My particular take is that it's "all shtick," a projected persona, or flimsy fa├žade, or a kind of goofy "Potemkin Village," that tries to pass itself off as being deep and serious. But in any case, since everything is a fabrication that does not correspond to any reality, then we should have no expectation of coherence or rationality in any of it.

      But I have reached the point where I simply don't care anymore. If there are people about there who like being fooled by it all, then so much the worse for them. I can't do anything about it.

    3. Oengus, you're absolutely right.

      Here he's really just serving up a self-conscious "Do-it-yourself-freude". The whole schtick was never about anything more important than Dreher's meme-ularity in the blogosphere.


  4. It appears that Rod and TAC have their hobby horse for the next two weeks. Is it any wonder they are bleeding subscribers with this kind of foolishness passing for journalism there?

  5. This, for example, makes sense, even though it's nonsense

  6. In the wake of Dreher's Ambien-fueled man-crush, David Harsanyi brings the grownup:

    We don’t even have to bring up the fact that Putin has consistently undermined American interests, abetting brutal dictatorships in Syria and North Korea – not to mention, shielding Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Surrounded by an army of 40,000 soldiers and police in a “ring of steel,” Bob Costas can whitewash his host’s misdeeds, but Russia’s government is not only corrupt, and not only is it intolerant of gays, but according to Amnesty International, human rights violations by the government include killings, enforced disappearances and torture, and they are “frequent.” According to Freedom of Information index by Reporters Without Borders, Putin belongs on a list with Chinese President Xi Jinping, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Italian Mafia and Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov.

    That’s not to say that Russians, with or without Putin, don’t have a long way to go. It’s not to say that the Russian people don’t have their quirks. But if Sochi is, as Putin claims, a vision a “new Russia,” lots of people around the world will see that the new Russia is extraordinarily similar to the old Russia.

    This is his Olympics. We should all get in a good laugh at his misfortune.