December 08, 2016

Cartoons, reality TV, and other art forms

Cartoons, reality TV, and other art forms

Of Cereal and Censorship

1. If a little girl and a bear can live in a forest together, who’s to say they can’t dominate the tech world, too? An episode of the cartoon Masha and the Bear has topped 1.8 billion views to become the sixth most watched video in YouTube’s history. That means more people want to see the toddling Masha try to dispose of an overflowing pot of cereal in innovative and occasionally explosive ways than want to watch Adele sing “Hello.” Not bad. To boost the number, watch here.

2. Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov is perhaps the only government leader to star in a reality TV show and be hospitalized for a boxing injury in the same week. The show was a competition for a spot in Kadyrov’s administration. The German-born, U.S.-educated winner might seem like a strange choice in a mainly Muslim region, but some say the show aimed to showcase Kadyrov’s leadership and Chechnya’s tourism potential rather than reach its citizens. As for the injury, thanks to Chechnya’s doctors, he’s on the mend.

3. Putin met with representatives from Russia’s art community and reassured them of the government’s belief in artistic and creative freedom. At least, that was the first part; he also said that it’s the artist’s job to “take responsibility” not to create insulting or provocative works. Does finding the fine line mean compromising creativity, or is it the best way to avoid bigger problems?

In Odder News
    • Ever wonder how to catch a spy? Read the blow-by-blow of how a Russian operative on Wall Street was identified, followed, and arrested.
    • Is MMA (mixed martial arts) as dangerous as it sounds? Sure, it landed Ramzan Kadyrov in the hospital, but he also set up his own sons to fight. Get in on the debate.

    Quote of the Week

    “[The show is] a gift to a man who has everything.”
    —A TV critic on Komanda ("Team"), the reality TV show in which participants compete for the post of "strategic development advisor" in Ramzan Kadyrov's administration. Typical challenges include boxing, firing crossbows, and cooking shashlyk.

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