Wednesday, August 21, 2013

From Russia with Booze

OK, this looks like a setup for a crime thriller:

Putin and the Russian government are pursuing an actively homophobic agenda. By identifying gay men and women as the enemy, they are propping up their own regime, a time-honored rallying tactic and right out of the brownshirt playbook.

A large number of gay men and women, with local sex columnist Dan Savage in the lead, are in return loudly boycotting Russian vodka. There are a number of Russian vodkas, but the one that everyone knows about is Stolichnaya, or Stoli. Apparently, the boycott is having an effect, since Stoli now says it is not Russian, but Latvian, despite massive marketing about how it is a Russian vodka. Apparently they ARE Russian, but flying the Latvian flag like those supertankers registered in the Grand Caymans to hide from safety inspectors.

Photo by Marcus Yam/Seattle Times.
It's Green! You know, like money!
Now, into Elliot Bay sails the "Super-Yacht" owned by the distributor of Stoli. This is front page news as far as the Seattle Times is concerned, which delivers a fawning fluffer of an article about how wonderful it is to be fabulously wealthy, plus noting that the 50+ staff will bring millions of dollars into the area, and oh, isn't it a pity we have to scare these fragile, precious butterflies away by charging taxes if they stay more than two months.

So, that's the setup. The floating luxury palace is glowing green in the harbor, owned by someone backing a nation denying human rights. I'm seeing a caper film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as ex-alcoholic ex-cop with a beef, and Ellen DeGeneres as the former Microsoft hacker who comes out of retirement for just one more job. And Jerry Seinfeld as Dan Savage. Out in time for SIFF next year. Grab the popcorn.

More later,