November 28, 2016

Can an ice skating routine go Godwin? It can in Putin's Russia:

The wife of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, sparked outrage on social media by performing a Holocaust-themed ice skating routine that quickly went viral.

Tatiana Navka, a former Olympic figure skating champion, performed with actor Andrey Burkovsky, each wearing concentration camp uniforms and yellow Stars of David.

The two skated to the song “Beautiful That Way,” by Israeli singer Achinoam “Noa” Nini. The song was featured in a 1997 Italian-language Oscar-winning Holocaust film, which Navka said was the inspiration for the performance. She also said in an Instagram post that she wanted the performance to teach children about the Holocaust.

Maybe I'm a stickler about teaching, but I think it's fairer to describe that as insensitively exploiting a tragedy and in mind-boggling bad taste. The movie that allegedly inspired the routine was the Robert Benigni-written and directed "Life is Beautiful", a movie that the late, great David Rakoff panned in such an elegant way, it applies here as well:

Think no further (if you can remotely stomach it) than Roberto Benigni and his Holocaust romp, Life is Beautiful, the most loathsome example of a belief in the curative powers of levity: his recasting as fable the chilling efficiency of the Nazi killing machine; his rendering of a death camp as a budget resort low on blankets; but above all the vile disrespect evidence by the film’s equation that those who perished were, I suppose, just not funny enough to turn those frowns upside down and survive….Well, I just can’t say bad things about him.

Unsurprisingly, social media also had to have their say:

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