|Al Bello Getty Images Source
Is Bieganski making an appearance in American press coverage of the Olympics in Sochi, Russia?
Americans often stereotype Eastern Europeans as brutes, ignorant, strong, low class, violent, drunken, and anti-Semitic. Is that Bieganski image popping up in American press coverage of the Olympics in Sochi, Russia?
I can't answer that because I lack the context. I don't watch the Olympics so I can't compare this Olympics coverage to coverage of the Olympics in China or England or America or anyplace else.
I do hear a lot of coverage focused on Bieganski-like qualities in Russia. This Olympics, we are told, is inept and brutish in a way that previous Olympics were not. I don't know if that is true.
The Washington Post ran an article talking about yellow tap water and a lack of toilet paper. I live in America and my tap water is often yellow. American reporters complain that at the Sochi Olympics visitors receive warnings that the tap water is dangerous. I live in America and our local water commission regularly sends us notices in English, Spanish, and Arabic telling us that our water contains unacceptable levels of lead, cryptosporidium, and fecal matter.
Russian journalist Masha Gessen appeared on Gabfest radio to discuss American coverage of the Sochi Olympics. She says that this is the real Russia, "the Russia that the world should see" that in Russia "everyday existence is demeaning and humiliating."
Other Russians, who are normally critical of Putin, have become more nationalistic in the face of American criticism of their country. Julie Ioffe wrote about that response in the New Republic here.