The Daily Mail notes that the recent beefcake shots of Russian President Vladimir Putin first published in the German magazine Spiegel have taken his home country by storm:
“Yesterday, the Russian mass-market newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda published a huge colour photo of the barechested president, under the headline ‘Be Like Putin’. The picture illustrated a guide to the exercises needed to build up a torso like that of the Russian leader…Russian gay chatrooms and blogs were particularly intrigued by the photos. Some claimed that Putin, by stripping to his waist, was pleading for more tolerance of homosexuality in Russia – where gays and lesbians are for the most part forced to remain closeted. One satirical photo circulating on the internet jokingly compared the fishing and riding adventure to the movie Brokeback Mountain, a love story about gay cowboys.”
Of course, we’ve all seen the Russian reality.
“They banned the film but they couldn’t stop the word ‘brokeback’ from entering the Chinese language. Now Chinese officials have accepted the term, taken from the film Brokeback Mountain, into the national language registry as a synonym for a gay man. Though banned, millions of Chinese saw the film on pirate DVDs.”
A River Runs Through Russia: Fishing with Pin-Up Putin [tr]