Just Say Nyet – Basta decir «no»

But among the Soviet temperance posters the most iconic is undoubtedly the one created by I. Govorkov in 1954, when the anti-alcohol campaign, after twenty-five year interval, flared up again after Stalin’s death.
Pero entre los carteles antialcohólicos soviéticos el más emblemático es sin duda el creado por I. Govorkov en 1954, cuando el combate contra el alcohol, después de veinticinco años de tregua, volvió a encenderse a la muerte de Stalin.

The haute école of Laconic conciseness. Someone (1) eating (2) refuses with a decisive gesture (3) the alcohol offered (4) and the caption with a single word makes unambiguous the message (5). Let us see what a Baroque richness the Russian soul is able to exploit from this concise meme. From the nearly hundred paraphrases over the Russian web I present only those two dozens which are more or less understandable without knowing your way around the labyrinth of Russian internal affairs.La haute école del laconismo. Alguien (1) que come (2) rechaza con un gesto firme (3) el alcohol ofrecido (4) y el texto de una sola palabra hace el mensaje inequívoco (5). Veamos lo que el barroquismo del alma rusa es capaz de destilar a partir de este meme tan conciso. De las casi cien paráfrasis que hay actualmente en la web rusa escogemos estas dos docenas que son esencialmente comprensibles sin necesidad de conocer sus alusiones al laberinto de los asuntos internos del país.

Wait a moment! – ¡Espera un momento!

It is not about the quantity, as you would think at first glance, but the assumed direction of displacement of the glass! – No se trata de negarse por cantidad, como se podría pensar a primera vista, sino del peligroso desequilibrio de la pirámide.

It’s enough! We’re out of mincemeat! – ¡Es suficiente! Nos hemos quedado sin carne picada!

In the trench I do not drink! – ¡En la trinchera no bebo!

Yesss! – ¡Sííí!

No! Just not Rexona! – For the rich variety of alcohols in Soviet times see this opening image – ¡No, Rexona justamente, no! Para la rica variedad de alcoholes en tiempos soviéticos, abrid esta imagen.

Enough wine, enough vodka / send some mushroom down your throat! – Basta de vino, basta de vodka / Engulle unos cuantos de estos hongos

No! I do not eat bears! – A meme-in-the-meme, to show how many references are included in a Russian joke. We have already referred to the “preved-medved” meme which has its own universe of meanings, and we have promised to analyze it in detail. We will keep our promise. – No. No como osos. Un meme–dentro–del–meme, para mostrar cuántas referencias puede incluir una broma rusa. Ya nos hemos referido al «Preved-Medved» meme, que tiene su propio universo de significados, y nos hemos comprometido a analizarlo en detalle. Mantenemos la promesa.

A proof of Slavic brotherhood. A Polish cuckoo’s egg: I do not drink with losers! / Una muestra de la hermandad eslava, un huevo de cuco polaco: ¡no bebo con perdedores!

No! For breakfast, only vodka! – A reference to Putin and Medvedev’s temperance campaign, when during their breakfasts in the Kreml they ostentatiously drank milk – ¡No! Para desayunar, solo vodka - Referencia a la campaña antialcohólica de Putin y Medvedev cuando, durante sus desayunos en el Kremlin, solo bebían leche de manera ostensible.

No! Only with a mug! (a reference to the verse “Выпьем с горя, где же кружка?” – “Let us drink out of grief, where is my mug?” of Pushkin’s Winter evening, which has also become a meme in itself – ¡No! ¡Sólo en jarra! (referencia al verso «Выпьем с горя, где же кружка?» - «Bebamos sin pena, ¿dónde está mi jarra?» de Noche de invierno, de Pushkin, que se ha convertido en un meme en sí mismo)

No! Only koumiss! – No. ¡Solo koumiss!

Chinese version: We do not drink with round-eyed ones! – Versión china: ¡No bebemos con los de ojos redondos!

Japanese version (The character means “[strong] drink”) – Versión japonesa (Se lee en la botella: «bebida [fuerte]»)

No! Only fresh blood! – ¡No! Solo sangre fresca.

The last Nazist: “I do not drink without Hitler” – El último nazi: «No bebo sin Hitler»

The rejected mind-altering is the St. George Ribbon, which is worn on the feast of the victory over Hitler – Lo que se rechaza con este gesto alterado es la Cinta de San Jorge, usada en la fiesta de la victoria sobre Hitler.

We do not drink with faggots! – ¡No bebemos con maricones!

But who’s the faggot? On the other side of the hand: singer, dancer and author Boris Moiseev, who – in an unusual way in Russia – openly declares himself homosexual – Pero, ¿quién es el maricón? Más allá de la mano: el cantante, bailarín y autor Boris Moiseev, quien, de una manera insólita en Rusia, se declara abiertamente homosexual

I do not drink with heterosexuals! – ¡No bebo con heterosexuales!

“Better in the abyss than in the ass – Better to drink with a Fascist than with a faggot” – «Mejor en el infierno que en el culo - Mejor beber con un fascista que con un maricón»

So this is what dining in Hades looks like? – ¿Así se debe cenar en el Hades?

Arnold Schwarzenegger: “When I eat I don’t speak” – Arnold Schwarzenegger: «Cuando como no hablo»

Mozart: I don’t drink with Salieri! – Mozart: «No bebo con Salieri»

I do not drink any more poison! – Alcohol was usually called “poison” in Soviet temperance posters, but Ukrainian president Viktor Jushchenko (2005-2010) thinks about the poison given to him by his enemies during the electoral campaign – ¡Yo no bebo más veneno! - Al alcohol se le solía llamar «veneno» en los carteles soviéticos, pero el presidente de Ucrania, Viktor Yushchenko (2005-2010) alude al veneno que le dieron sus enemigos durante la campaña electoral.

I do not take it without polonium! – The example of Alexander Litvinenko shows that it is easy to get used to the best – ¡Yo no bebo sin polonio! - El ejemplo de Alexander Litvinenko demuestra qué fácil es acostumbrarse a lo mejor.

President Lukashenko: Belorussia is not for sale! – Presidente Lukashenko: ¡Bielorrusia no está en venta!

The United Russia (the governing party): “Just stay at home, we will fill it out!”

A very dense meme. Nikita Mikhalkov, the at once orthodox, ultra-nationalist and recently Stalinist film director, Russian front man of the Serbian nationalist party, a great friend of royalties, who in his “Burnt by the Sun 2” (2010) offers Stalin’s apotheosis through the WW2 adventures of the protagonist of his anti-Stalinist “Burnt by the Sun 1” (1994) resurrected for this film, here rejects the book “The Great Patriotic War for dummies”, which, however, would be an absolute must to him – Un meme muy denso. Nikita Mikhalkov, el director de cine a la vez ortodoxo, ultra-nacionalista y recientemnte estalinista, hombre del frente ruso del partido nacionalista serbio, gran amigo de regalías, que en su «Quemado por el sol 2» (2010) ofrece una apoteosis de Stalin a través de las aventuras en la II Guerra Mundial del protagonista de su antiestalinista «Quemado por el sol 1» (1994), ahora resucitado. Aquí rechaza el libro «La Gran Guerra Patriótica para Torpes» que, sin embargo, debería serle de lectura obligada.

Everyone’s Medvedev… – Medvedev para todos…

…and everyone’s medved (bear) – …y todos para medved (oso).

And the unvarnished truth – Y la verdad desvelada.

12 comentarios:

Alaleh dijo...

great post!

Studiolum dijo...

Thanks! Don’t you know by chance about any visual anti-alcohol propaganda from Iran? ;)

Alaleh dijo...

alcohol being forbidden, i doubt they even bother to communicate about it .. but i'll try to find out

Studiolum dijo...

I have not seen any either. But in Tehran intellectual society alcohol is so much present, both physically and in everyday talk, that one would assume there is at least some official propaganda against it. But it is also possible that authorities consider it simpler to close their eyes.

Alaleh dijo...

no closing of eyes - alcohol is banned and when the law is violated there are harsh punishments (lashes, imprisonment or worse) - only recognized non muslims are allowed to 'private' consumption

Studiolum dijo...

Yes, I know this. But in my experience, alcohol is so heavily distributed and consumed in northern Tehran – and your first link also confirms that at least 80 million liters of alcohol per year are smuggled into the country – that it is certainly not possible without the authorities’ closing their eyes.

languagehat dijo...

Great post indeed! A couple of corrections: "they ostensively drank milk" should be "they ostentatiously drank milk," and "Better to be the victim of a Nazist than of a faggot” should be "Better to drink with a Nazi [or, better, "fascist," for the sake of alliteration] than a faggot" (забухать, like almost all Russian verbs, has the slang sense 'drink alcohol').

Studiolum dijo...

Thanks a lot! I have corrected them.

MOCKBA dijo...

Nice images! (Although I'm afraid to share this post more widely for fear of offending people with some of its objectionable homophobic and nazi-themed images). In Russia's crude popular lore, of course, it's been always assumed that the young hero of the original poster was gay.

The real role of the image was, of course, not to glorify tee-totaling, but exactly the opposite, to cement the drinking nation bravado: Drink with us! Only the pathetic weirdos refuse! That's why it's so commonly used on shot-glasses nowadays.

For comparison, it's extremely hard to find a likeness of the Mormon Temple on a shot glass, even in this state where it adorns all sorts of tourist mementos.

Studiolum dijo...

Indeed, my wife had the same fear, but I said her that by omitting the objectionable versions I would convey a false image of the popular culture which has created these pictures. Your insider’s comment just reinforces my opinion.

Alaleh dijo...

sorry i was busy .. yes you can call it closing of the eyes, i would call it something else (off web) :))

Studiolum dijo...

I perfectly understand you even without telling ;)