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Thread: Cultural Differences Between Americans and Russians

  1. #81
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    In addition to my previous post.

    I made a quick Internet search and apparently painting tree trunks is rather popular in many countries with hot climate for the same reason (fighting sun burns and insects).

    Mexico (there are accounts of seeing painted trees even in forests):


    Orange grove in Turkey:


    An article on ehow.com about paining trees (with reasons and explanations):


    I believe it's possible to find similar examples in some other countries with colder, or to be more exact with acutely continental climate.
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  2. #82
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    Adding to what gRomoZeka said about painting tree trunks: when I lived on a military base in Okinawa, some of the trees were painted this way, although the Okinawan climate is sub-tropical, so the winter/spring temperature change isn't the issue.


    Apparently, in hot climates, it's done mostly to protect the bark of young trees from sunburn. This is especially important if you have trees planted far apart from each other along a road, since the trees don't get shade from each other's leaves. Also, along a road, the white paint makes the trees more reflective to vehicle headlights! (Border stones may be painted white for the same reason: so they're easier to see at night.)
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  3. #83
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    Interestingly some well-decorated American painters are involved in plagiarism of the works of Russian painters.

    For example, the honored American painter Sandow Birk created some of his paintings by copying from Russian art. Here is a painting "Minsk in 1944" by Belorussian painter
    Valentin Volkov which was created from 1944 to 1955:



    And here is "The Liberation of Baghdad" by Birk:


    Here is The Flying Carpet by Viktor Vasnetsov (1880):


    And this is "The President's Dream":



    I am quite sure that the first painting constitutes a criminal copyright infringement.

    Interestingly, the Wikipedia article about Sandow Birk Sandow Birk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    does not mention this his practice to use images by other painters as starting point for creating his pieces of art.

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    I was wondering, what has the TREND been in education in the USA vs Russia over, say, the last 30 years?
    In the opinion of natives of the respective countries..?
    Is it getting better or worse.... what ought the government do, if anything?
    One general observation I'd make is that when reading news stories about how "30% of US high school graduates can't find the US on a world map", it's wise to remember Mark Twain's aphorism: There are lies; there are damned lies; and then there are statistics.

    Different people with different agendas have different reasons to manipulate statistical numbers about educational performance -- sometimes making the students look better than they really are; sometimes making them look worse. For example, the claim that N% can't find their own city/state/country on a map!!! is an "Evergreen" topic for newspaper editorialists, because it's always guaranteed to generate letters from ordinary citizens as well as from officials and politicians, with everyone proposing his "pet" solution to the problem.

    Stereotypically, those on the left may exaggerate illiteracy figures in order to argue that we need to spend less on fighter planes and more on public schools; while those on the right may also exaggerate the problem, in order to argue that the public education system is corrupted by teachers' unions and that we should spend more tax money on public-school alternatives (such as "voucher coupons" that poor families can use to send their kids to private schools).

    But note that both sides quote the same frightening statistic that 1 out of 4 students don't know such-and-such! (In other contexts, the picture painted is overly rosy, instead of overly gloomy, depending on the argument.)

    I don't have a strong opinion on this, though anecdotally, I've met quite a few college-educated African-American adults from lower-class backgrounds who attribute their success to the fact that their parents somehow or other managed to send them to Catholic schools instead of urban public schools.

  5. #85
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    I am quite sure that the first painting constitutes a criminal copyright infringement.
    Difficult to say -- "satirical intent" and "parody" are often (but NOT always) a defense against copyright infringement, and I think it's clear that both of the Birk paintings have satirical intent. For example, I would assume that in Liberation of Baghdad, he intended to compare the Bush administration's portrayal of the war with [ominous music] SOVIET PROPAGANDA!!!

    On the other hand, "parody" by nature assumes that the audience is generally familiar with the source being copied, and I doubt that the Volkov painting of Minsk is known to most Americans. So it would be difficult to prove unlawful "plagiarism" of Dali's The Persistence of Memory...



    ...because the work is universally known and every viewer immediately understands that the artist does not intend to present his parody as a completely original work. But the "average American viewer" of Birk's work would not realize that Liberation of Baghdad is "quoting" heavily from someone else's work. (However, if Birk presented a framed print of Volkov's original side-by-side with his own painting, that might be a successful defense against plagiarism.)

    On the third hand, IANAL, so my analysis might be totally wrong.
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  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anixx View Post
    For example, the honored American painter Sandow Birk created some of his paintings by copying from Russian art. Here is a painting "Minsk in 1944" by Belorussian painter Valentin Volkov which was created from 1944 to 1955:
    .
    That first one is just too embarrasing! There is no doubt....

    "Liberation of Baghdad", what tosh!
    As a result of this wonderful liberation we now have about 3 million Iraqis with refugee status in Europe... Prior to this liberation they were quite happy to stick around in their own country. And Iraq, if anything, is in a worse state than it was before the "liberation".

    Re the painting: I'm surprised they did not put in some cute little girls that offered flower bouqets to the "liberators"....

    It's amazing that anyone in this day and age can paint something like this and take it seriously.

    And after ALL the critisism by Americans about "propaganda" in the USSR..... they actually COPY Russian propagandistic type art, with the difference that Minsk genuinely WAS liberated from an occupying enemy, not attacked by a country on the other side of planet like in the case of Iraq.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    That first one is just too embarrasing! There is no doubt....

    "Liberation of Baghdad", what tosh!
    As a result of this wonderful liberation we now have about 3 million Iraqis with refugee status in Europe... Prior to this liberation they were quite happy to stick around in their own country. And Iraq, if anything, is in a worse state than it was before the "liberation".

    Re the painting: I'm surprised they did not put in some cute little girls that offered flower bouqets to the "liberators"....

    It's amazing that anyone in this day and age can paint something like this and take it seriously.

    And after ALL the critisism by Americans about "propaganda" in the USSR..... they actually COPY Russian propagandistic type art, with the difference that Minsk genuinely WAS liberated from an occupying enemy, not attacked by a country on the other side of planet like in the case of Iraq.
    I'm hoping that what Mr. McGee says is accurate, because to me it seems like a really tongue-in-cheek endeavor, an attempt to make a statement about the vacuousness of the whole Bush Crusades. If anyone took this seriously, then (imho) it's not only in poor taste, but kind of crazy, too.
    luck/life/kidkboom
    Грязные башмаки располагают к осмотрительности в выборе дороги. /*/ Muddy boots choose their roads with wisdom. ;

  8. #88
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    Thanks, If this is a parody or satire, it becomes clear for me. I somehow decided that this is a serious painting designed to to glorify American army but the painter found no other way than just take some historical paintings as a base in hope that nobody will spot.

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    For example, I would assume that in Liberation of Baghdad, he intended to compare the Bush administration's portrayal of the war with [ominous music] SOVIET PROPAGANDA!!!

    On the other hand, "parody" by nature assumes that the audience is generally familiar with the source being copied, and I doubt that the Volkov painting of Minsk is known to most Americans.
    There are several level of message. Most people will take it serious. Some will find that it is too cheesy to be serious. And very few will recognize the reference. Most probably the effect of all levels together is what was intended. This kind of art is called "postmodernism" even though this term is a bit old-fashioned (new-fashioned term is "trolling" ).

    I suspect that most works of Birk have such hidden references to poorly-known pieces of art of different times and cultures. So his fans can train erudition and search for deeper sense.

    But technically it can be a plagiarism, yes.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  10. #90
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    I've seen the white-painted trees in the States too. Always wondered why they did that. Thanks for the info, everyone.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

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  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo View Post
    There are several level of message. Most people will take it serious. Some will find that it is too cheesy to be serious.
    I agree that, considered by itself, Liberation of Baghdad might be taken seriously in a GO-USA! way by some jingoistic people. But when seen side-by-side with The President's Dream, that "too cheesy" quality and the general sarcasm become more obvious.

    As a more general observation, I would point out that in a domestic US context, some people's criticism of the Iraq War was hopelessly entangled with and colored by their anger over the 2000 election -- in other words, the war had to be evil not simply -- and perhaps not even primarily -- because many innocent Iraqis were killed, but because BUSH AND HIS PLUTOCRATIC RETHUGLIKKKAN NEO-NAZIS ILLEGALLY STOLE THE ELECTION AND GORE SHOULD'VE BEEN PRESIDENT ARGGH BARRGLE GAAAAH!!!!!!!! And analysis of "Bush's War" was sometimes colored by other factors that had nothing at all to do with the pertinent question "Will this invasion of Iraq, in the long run, tend to improve stability in the Middle East?" (The gay columnist/blogger Andrew Sullivan, for instance, was an early supporter of the war, but turned completely against it with rather suspicious suddenness when George Bush endorsed the idea of a Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriage.)

    Whether any of this applied to Birk, I can't say, because I don't have a clue about his general political views. But it's important to consider that his paintings supposedly about the Iraq War may have been, on an underlying level, paintings about the Bush Administration. (Of course, this also applies to supporters of the war -- some of whom may have been reluctant to criticize the war policy because they supported Bush's election in 2000 and did not want to ally with Gore supporters, or because they didn't want to be associated with "9/11 Troofers", or whatever. But in short, issues not related to "Does this war make sense as foreign policy?" affected their opinions on the war, too.)

  13. #93
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    I'm not a big fan of Bush, but my hatred of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is bigger than my disgust with him as a President. Initially, I supported the invasion into Afghanistan, since at the time supposedly we were going after Osama Bin Laden. But Iraq?? I think it's almost impossible to separate the Iraq war from Dubya. I'm Glad Obama is finally getting us out of there - although the military contractors still there are a whole other story. And now it's starting to look like we will never leave Afghanistan.

    I think US media is complicit in the war crimes Bush/Cheney are accused of. Although, I must admit it was brilliant strategy on the part of US military leaders to start "embedding" reporters. The stupid reporters think they are getting some kind of scoop by being included by the military - when actually, they are being carefully positioned and controlled. The last time we had an HONEST, UNCENSORED look at war was during the Vietnam era. If we broadcast the carnage and nightly casualty reports today, the way we did back then, maybe we would have gotten out of Afghanistan a long time ago. But then who knows? Maybe nothing shocks us anymore, maybe we are so used to carnage that it has become a part of our lives. That is a scary thought.

    On the other hand, once the predator drones start taking US citizens out on our own home turf, maybe there will be some kind of outcry. It will be muffled of course, the way the Occupy movement has been muffled, but still - it's good to hear people at least attempt to fight back against the growing police state.
    kidkboom likes this.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

  14. #94
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    Vietnam war was a different story because at the time US army was conscripted and casualties were high due the Soviet help to the Vietnamese side.

  15. #95
    Властелин Deborski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anixx View Post
    Vietnam war was a different story because at the time US army was conscripted and casualties were high due the Soviet help to the Vietnamese side.
    Good point... and I hate to say it, but today's wars seem quite mercenary to me.
    Вот потому, что вы говорите то, что не думаете, и думаете то, что не думаете, вот в клетках и сидите. И вообще, весь этот горький катаклизм, который я здесь наблюдаю, и Владимир Николаевич тоже…

  16. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deborski View Post
    Good point... and I hate to say it, but today's wars seem quite mercenary to me.
    Mercenary war usually does not create mass protest even it the casualties high because all the soldiers are volunteers. And American casualties in modern wars are negligible (less than of a similar group of civilians). I think during assault on Libya the US did not loose a single soldier with several tens of thousand killed from the Libyan side.

  17. #97
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    As an American, I wasn't aware of the more polite way to ask questions:

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/mobile...le/488073.html

    Scott

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