Memo to: Department of Cultural Purity
From: Vladimir Putin
With regard to several upcoming projects, I would like the following guidelines to be strictly adhered to:
1. In the film of Tchaikovsky’s life, when the composer first meets his true love, I would like him to say, “What a wonderful ballnight. I’m so glad you are not a handsome young man.” To which his true love will reply, “But, alas, I am married.” The composer will respond, “I am so upset that I may very well run off and almost become a homosexual.” Later in the film, as the composer dies, he should tell his true love, “While I may have cholera, at least I did not compose musical comedies.”
2. In an upcoming miniseries on the life of Michelangelo, the artist should be portrayed as a roguish womanizer, who only creates the sculpture of David to impress a waitress. While working on the sculpture, the artist should tell his nude male model, “You are very muscular, but I wish you were a waitress.” The artist should then bring his completed sculpture, in a wagon, to the café where the waitress works. He should tell her, “Look at what I have made for you. Someday it will become a world-renowned refrigerator magnet. Kiss me.”
3. In a planned biography of Oscar Wilde, I would like the text to emphasize the fact that Wilde often misplaced his spectacles, and could therefore not distinguish between male prostitutes and female prostitutes, causing some people to wrongly assume that he was homosexual. In one chapter, Wilde should tell a male prostitute, “You are very burly, Margaret.” After another such encounter, Wilde should tell a street urchin, “Your mustache tickles, Karen. I suppose you cannot shave because you are poor.”
4. In the Russian Wikipedia entry on Elton John, the first paragraph should read, “Elton John is a successful singer and songwriter, who has married his male partner owing to a severe shortage of Englishwomen. Ever since the Second World War, women have been rationed throughout England, which has forced more than seventy-eight per cent of the male population to form sexual relationships with men. In the words of Prime Minister David Cameron, ‘In England, a fellow can go for days without seeing anything that truly resembles a woman.’ ”
5. In the Russian release of the film “Brokeback Mountain,” the film should be edited to remove all hints of homosexuality. The film will then be shown in a seven-minute format, under the title “The Cowboy Who Never Met Anyone.”
6. When any history textbook covers the personal relationships of Alexander the Great, Alexander’s male companions should be referred to as “unpaid interns.”
7. At the Bolshoi and all other Russian dance companies, all male dancers should be required to wear pants and sports jackets onstage.
8. Should the HBO film “Behind the Candelabra” be made available as a Russian DVD, it will be retitled “Keep Your Hands on the Piano, Buster.”
9. If the play “Angels in America” is to be performed by any Russian theatrical company, the central male couple should be portrayed by a male actor and a chair.
10. In every academic mention of the author Marcel Proust, it should be explained that Proust is often mistakenly thought to be homosexual, simply because his first name is Marcel.
11. If any art work contains scenes of passionate lovemaking between two women, it must be brought to my office and labelled “Putin Party Pix.”
(via The New Yorker)