Surrealism and why the Cold War was overblown

I like surrealism.  There is something about twisting reality just a little to create something over the top that tittilates my brain for reasons I don’t understand.  I’m not a huge fan of the comedian Will Ferrell, but there are two scenes in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy that I find greatly hilarious, because they are a bit surreal.  One involves a news anchor with too much testosterone preparing to “musk up” to land the new pretty anchor lady.  I have faint memories of musk being some kind of a thing back in the 70s, so the scene is rooted in reality, but is twisted just enough.  The other scene is of course the infamous battle of the network anchors.  Its Salvador Dali and HR Giger with 15% more overt sexism and `90% less overt sexuality.  A good time to be had by all.

Anyway, I have been perusing as most of you know, and one of their lists today had an item that just had me stop and was scratching my head.

The historian Gerald Early once said that America will be remembered for only three things culturally:  the Constitution, baseball, and jazz.  There is something to be said for this.  The United States has certainly spread a lot of bad things that we are constantly apologizing for.  We have become a little too good at invading countries lately.  No apology will ever make up for the film Titanic;  I simply start all conversations with non-Americans with apologies for this out of reflex and respect to our visitors from distant lands.

Then, several rings of Hell below Titanic, there is country music.  I would throw NASCAR out there, but technically that is a part of auto racing, and the Europeans can take all the credit for that cultural tumor.  You would think that the civilized nations of the world would look at country music, shake their heads while dropping their collective heads in shame that they must share the same biosphere with those who promulgate this, while simultaneously feeling gratitude for having the native music that they do.  Yet, every so often, something inexplicable happens.  Something that makes you question your sanity, or whether you have developed some kind of aphasia to explain the seemingly impossible signals your senses are taking in, and hat your brain interprets.

The particular list I was reading today was on the types of music that are oddly popular in foreign countries.  I don’t accept as gospel, but I always find at least a grain of truth in their stories.  According to the story, for reasons no one can explain, the music of Tennessee Ernie Ford, an early country star and proto-Rock singer/songwriter is still popular in Russia.  Here is the surreal part.

The Red Army is one of the most respected and feared military forces to ever roam the Earth.  The Red Army and its favorite general, Mother Nature, defeated Napoleon.  They also have a notch on their belt when the Nazi hordes through every one of their orcs and goblins at the gates of the Soviet Union, and like a great wrestler simply wore down the Nazis before collectively marching over their cold dead corpses all the way to Berlin.  Their training borders on torture, and they remain a force not to be trifled with.

At least until you hear the Red Army choir singing “Sixteen Tons”:

Part of me laughs at how low the mighty army of all the Russias has fallen, but mostly I fell shame that my country has done this to them.  Enemies with such honor should settle things on the battlefield, not on World Idol.


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