The gap between how foreigners view Russia and how Russians view themselves is wide and as old as the country itself.
Russian photographer Valeriy Klamm felt that foreign photojournalists who came to work in his country arrive with the pictures they want to send back home already in their head: Bleak images of a cold and desolate place where autocrats lord over drunks.
Klamm, himself, had never photographed much outside of his home city of Novosibirsk, where nearly 2 million people live on the banks of the Ob River in the middle of Siberia.
But in 2000, he started to visit these small towns, camera in hand. He began to ask his photographer friends, both foreign and local, to share images of simple life the rural Russian villages that dot the vast expanse from Europe to the Pacific Ocean.
And in 2009, Klamm started “Birthmarks on the Map,” a collective photo project and website that collects these images in one place.
Photo Credit: Fyodor Telkov, Yekaterinburg, Valeriy Klamm, Novosibirsk, Igor Lagunov, Magnitigorsk
Alexa Linboom was five years old when she arrived at the hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee. It was New Year’s Day, 2012. She was blue and paralyzed, rigid in a posture indicative of severe brain damage.
Linboom’s father and stepmother allegedly forced her, District Attorney Berkley Bell told CNN this week, to drink a copious amount of grape soda as punishment.
"I don’t know exactly how much liquid she [subsequently] drank," Bell said, "but there was [sic] 4.5 12-ounce drinks, plus water in between.” The autopsy report says it was 2.4 liters of soda and water over one-to-two hours, after which, according to Bell, "The child was screaming out in pain, … went into a paralyzed state, and became unconscious.” She died in the hospital two days later.
The punishment was allegedly for stealing a grape soda from her stepmother.
Tennessee’s Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office said last week that her death was determined to be homicide by way of acute fluid intoxication. On Friday her parents were charged with first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated child neglect, and aggravated child abuse.
The wicked stepmother and father lives.
Obit of the Day (Historical): Laura Ingalls Wilder (1957)
Laura Ingalls Wilder, who became famous through her biographical novels documenting life on America’s frontier, died on February 10, 1957, three days after her 90th birthday.
Mrs. Wilder did not publish her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, until 1932. It was her second attempt at getting her childhood story published, having been roundly rejected by publishers several years earlier when it was an adult-targeted manuscript titled Pioneer Girl. Her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who was herself a renowned journalist, helped her mother re-write the book as a children’s story* and it was a success.
Between 1932 and 1943, Mrs. Wilder would publish eight “Little House” books including Big Woods: Farmer Boy (1933), Little House on the Prairie (1937), On the Banks of Plum Creek (1939), By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939), The Long Winter (1940), Little Town on the Prairie (1941), and These Golden Years (1943). The last five earned her Newbery Honors, the most for any author in the history of the award. (The American Library Association also created the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to honor lifetime achievements in illustration and writing in children’s books and novels. She was its first recipient in 1954 and only 18 others have been so honored including Eric Carle, Maurice Sendak, Beverly Cleary, and Tomie dePaola.)
Born in Wisconsin in 1857, Mrs. Wilder and her family, like many farmers natural disasters or better opportunities. Charles and Carolyn Ingalls would move their family (Laura, Mary, Carrie, Grace, and Charles “Freddy” Frederick, who died as an infant) six times, living for periods in Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Dakota Territory.
In Dakota, Mrs. Wilder had her first teaching job, at the age of 15. Teaching for three years, she was sometimes given a ride home by a family friend, Almanzo Wilder, who was ten years her senior. The couple married in 1885.
The Wilders moved to Minnesota where they had their daughter Rose in 1886. Three years later Mrs. Wilder gave birth to a boy but he died before he was named.
The couple moved to Mansfield, Missouri in 1894 and would live the remainder of their lives on a farm just outside of town.
In 1911, Mrs. Wilder began her professional writing career as a columnist for the Missouri Ruralist. Her column, “As a Farm Woman Thinks” ran for decades. In 1924, she began to focus solely on writing with the support of her daughter Rose. The publication of the Little House books would become an important income source after the Wilders lost much of their personal wealth in the stock market crash of 1929.
As successful as the book series is - they have remained in publication for 80 years in 32 different languages - Mrs. Wilder became an icon with the premiere of the 1974 television show Little House on the Prairie. Although the series took great liberties with characters and stories (the book with the same title of the show actually documented events in Kansas), it was a huge success lasting for nine full seasons, with Melissa Gilbert portraying Mrs. Wilder for the show’s entire run.
As of 2014 there are six different homes and museums honoring Mrs. Wilder in five different midwestern states.
(Image of Laura Ingalls, in 1884 at the age of 17, while she was living in De Smet, South Dakota with her family and one year before her marriage to Almanzo Wilder is courtesy of pastlifevintage.blogspot.com)
* There is a long-running controversy as to how much of Mrs. Wilder’s work was actually written by her daughter. Mrs. Lane was a major proponent of libertarianism in the United States, and her journals reveal that she was using the Little House books as a way to exemplify the libertarian ideal - even changing stories to conform to that vision. An interesting read on this from the Boston Globe.
Insane people get angry about a Coke ad in which America the Beautiful is sung in different languages. Apparently you’re only allowed to be American if you speak English.
This is funny. My great great grandmother was an emmigrent and never spoke english. Just what ever bohemians (from Checkoslovakia) spoke.
Me: Bananas, eggs, the best vanilla yogurt you’ve never had, “bagels”, donuts, coffee beans.
Little old lady behind me: Big bottle of Jack.
Now that is a short story starter if I ever heard one.