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Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Sunday Funnies

Annals of Cheburashka

Here's some irony for those who find such things amusing (hat tip to Sovok): Some readers may remember how La Russophobe exposed Russia's loss of its beloved darling, Russia's version of Mickey Mouse, little Cheburashka, to the Japanese. Now a Russian blog has discovered a review of an English translation of a children's storybook about odd little fellow, with illustrations by a Russian-American immigrant. The book in turn has been reviewed by a South Carolina libary, none to favorably, with the conclusion being: "The plot is unconvincing and the characters are flat; the total effect is an overly whimsical tale that is neither amusing nor touching but is instead rather silly and pointless." The review in turn has been reviewed by the Russian blog, which leaps to the defense of poor, innocent little Cheburashka and accuses Americans of being cultureless censoring morons incapable of grasping the true genius of Cheburashka. The delicious ironies are three: (a) Russians fail to do the job themselves, then blame others for not doing the job they should have done (no doubt, they'll find all kinds of fault with the new Japanese cartoon as well), and (b) when the situation is reversed, Russians actually think that they improve upon Western inventions, when in fact they are even more dismal failures (for example, as La Russophobe has documented, Huck Finn) and (c) it never occurs to Russians, not even for one moment, that the fact that Chebby never made it big outside Russia might actually mean he himself sucks, not the translation, and that Russians are living in a land of the Emperor's New Clothes (a story that's perhaps not as widely famliar in Russia as it should be).

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