Secret location

 

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his wife participate in the Russian census in their surprisingly drab home. Image via Russian Prime Minister's website. (via Felix Salmon)

 

Three things tell me this is off:

1. Putin and his wife have matching outfits.

2. The couch shops at the same store as the lovely couple.

3. The TV isn’t a flat screen, and no chair in the home is positioned to watch it.

What inclines a couple toward dressing alike? I can see that you might want your cummerbund and pocket square to match your date’s prom dress, but in regular life? I just don’t understand. Yesterday, I saw a woman driving with her large dog sitting in the passenger seat. At first, I assumed it was her daughter, since they had the same color, same style hair. Another mystery.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Secret location

  1. martin

    I’m not sure about the exact, subtle meaning of ‘off’. But the number of homes in which TV sets are blasting with no person or seat even in the vicinity being able to watch it is no doubt quite depressing. For some people, TVs are radios with pictures that do not need actual attention spans, but still add some abstract ‘life’ to a room – with or without sound. Most furniture even cares less (there may be some spare furniture lurking and anticipating the set being switched on in unseen corners of the Putins’ room, of course). Many TV stations have noticed this trend and developed long-lasting, elaborate series of programmes especially tuned to this situation, with as little subject or content as possible stretched over as many episodes as possible.

    Actually Putin and his wife are one of the most perfect interior decorative blends I have ever seen. Dressing like this, you are bound to surprise a burglar one day. As for the match – this actually happens to me quite a lot. I rarely look like my couch (which would mean a complete Bhagwan makeover), but my girlfriend and I often happen to have selected the same kinds of colour combinations from the wardrobe. Maybe that’s why we like each other – hah.

    Why is an old TV tube ‘off’?

  2. Jenn Lena

    That poor burglar: first, to be surprised by these two, then to discover there is nothing worth stealing except perhaps the water bottles which can be drained and returned for cash at the recycling center.

    An old TV is “off”–the whole apartment is “off”–in the sense that it is completely incomprehensible that a couple with that much money and power would own them.

    In fact, the resemblance to my Moscow host family’s apartment in 1991 is striking. That’s right–1991–of bread lines and centralized apartment distribution. If anyone believes the Putins actually live in this apartment, I have a bridge to sell them.

    • martin

      Ostentatiously living in humble circumstances for succesful people is a relatively believable phenomenon seen through the eyes of a Dutchman. Although the Putins’ apartment would take it too far for Dutch standards and is probably street credibility driven, Dutch CEO’s and members of parliament often seek popularity this way as well – with former prime minister Wim Kok on his bike perhaps as best example. By the way, Putin is supposed to have a notorious role model in this in Joseph Stalin, whose datscha was even worse (for propaganda reasons?).

      ‘Ostentatious humbleness’ would make an excellent MSc or PhD thesis subject on a continuum where the other side is marked by ‘voluntary simplicity’ (a PhD about which will be defended nov 11th by Janine Schreurs in Maastricht).

      I’d like one box-girded bridge, with extra ketchup and a coke please. Oops, no, make it suspension one 🙂

      • Jenn Lena

        The Kok example reminds me that Mayor Bloomberg (of New York) makes his morning commute to work on the subway a media event. “Of the people” except that you could buy and sell those people, thousands of times over.

        I think “ostentatious humbleness” is somewhat related to my next book project, at least in the transition toward “democratic inclusiveness”, “tolerance,” “social responsibility” type values, of which humility may be one additional component. Making it visible supports my argument that there’s status work at play.

        The bridge I have for sale is in Brooklyn. You must take it as-is, no add-ons.

  3. My first reaction – why are they dressed in camouflage?

    • Jenn Lena

      Me too! That’s why I like Martin’s suggestion that they’re laying in wait for some burglar. Makes it sinister in a way I find amusing.

  4. Peter

    What I like about them is that they are just like me! It’s like Cheney with his ski jacket. They are just. like. me.

    • Jenn Lena

      I didn’t know about the Cheney ski jacket “incident.” Jacketgate? And I’m assuming the rest of your comment is a Christine O’Donnel reference? Or are you a witch, in which case, she’s not like you. Or, isn’t you. She’s me.

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