And what it tells us about how the US electorate views its political figures.
While going through various news stories yesterday, we stumbled onto something that is a little odd.
The video above is of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev going HAM on some self-balanced workout equipment, in what I can only assume is a beachside resort. It was a video officially released by the Kremlin on Sunday. While to the disconcerting eye all this does seem completely random, in reality there is a solid purpose behind all of this.
In the past the Kremlin has showcased Putin taming tigers, performing dentistry, piloting aircrafts, and of course riding horses shirtless. While at times feeling a bit like Kremlin fan fiction – where in this video they are finally appeasing the Putin-Medvedev Shippers – the idea here is to show presidential strength. Even if from the outside, it looks absurd. Similar to how North Korea tells its people that Kim Jong-un has the ability to control the weather with his mood, to the Kremlin, it’s important that a strong visual narrative of Putin and other higher-ups in the Russian government become the public’s perception.
It’s an interesting contrast to American politics, because here politicians bend over backwards to prove that they’re just like everyone else. Think of every wealthy candidate that has told a crowd of their supporters about their “humble beginnings” in these primaries. In America, we want politicians to be “folksy” and to be someone we can have a beer with.
And we don’t mean metaphorically either.
Think of any past presidential candidate and type their name into Google with the word “beer” next to it. See what comes out on Google Images.
We did it for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Jeb Bush. Only person we had trouble finding was 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney and that’s because he’s Mormon (it’s against his religion to drink alcohol). In turn though, there are a lot of pictures of him eating fair food.
It’s an interesting dichotomy that in other countries they want their national leaders to be perceived like that guy from those Dos Equis commercials, while America wants them to be more like those “wuzzup guys” back in the day. I honestly don’t know what that says about the American electorate, but it’s something interesting to think about when Russia eventually releases a video of Putin wrestling a bear. Because that’s where all of this is going, right?
Then again, if the Kremlin is listening, we’ll just throw this out there for your next video idea.
And people think Gorbachev is alright. Just sayin’…
(Photo Credits: AFP, YouTube)