Remember this tv commercial? How about this one? If you grew up in the U.S. between the 1950s and 1980s, chances are you were bombarded with negative stereotypes about the Soviet Union. It seems that Russia is delivering on a number of these Cold War stereotypes this week, as the Sochi Winter Olympics take place.
Oppressive laws? Check. Shoddy construction? Check. Invasion of privacy? Check. Housing problems? Check. Disgusting water? Check. Killing of stray dogs? Check. Shared, less than functional toilets? Check. For many Americans, these Sochi goings-on reinforce negative Cold War stereotypes of Russian incompetence and coldheartedness.
Twitter, in particular, is being used to document many of the Sochi issues. A new Twitter account, @SochiProblems, popped up just a couple of days ago, and already has over 170,000 followers. The posts by this account, and by others under the #SochiProblems hashtag, are a mix of comedic and tragic. Under this hashtag, for example, is where many people learned that Bob Costas, in one of his first television broadcasts of the Olympics and after only about 24 hours in Sochi, had come down with a bad case of pinkeye, presumably from the local sanitary conditions.
Some Americans seem to be tuning out of the Sochi Olympics because of the harsh Russian policies. However, others might tune in the way rubberneckers tune in to a car wreck.
[Originally posted at Messaging Matters. Copyright 2014 -- All rights reserved]