Wednesday, February 16, 2011

RT on Vodka and Bear Stereotypes

Russia is still the grey, cold place with that ominous smell of vodka in the minds of many in the West. These images and perceptions not only come as "inherent" in the cultures of Western Europe and the U.S. (I will not go into the very obvious historical and cultural reasons for that), but they are also constantly reproduced, recycled, and reinstated in the media and the popular culture. And then, even if such projections and representations are not overtly stereotypical, the already prevalent "predispositions" make way for selective perception, which usually perpetuates the existing stereotypes. This, of course, is a major issue for Russia's public diplomacy.

I have talked a lot about this issue on this blog in the past... and coming across this segment from RT today, I simply couldn't not share it with you, too.

Not the best report, but does at least try to address the problem. What they could have done better is - for example - choose a better and more representative set of examples to illustrate the case, have more impressive shots/footage, have a greater number of people as interviewees, make sure they are more authoritative, and perhaps site some figures/surveys (on how Russia is perceived in the "West")...

In any case, it's a good reminder, and hopefully, a good start of an initiative that won't just stop here. After all, RT's primary job is to deal with this problem...

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