Passive news absorbers across the nation haven’t been able to avoid this thing they heard about some guy named Poutine, who’s, like, Russia’s Orange Man, invading Ukraine, which is, like, a peaceful society of hunter-gatherers and supermodels who live harmoniously with nature, talk to animals, and invented Democracy.
This is a super important, really bad thing. The Crane people have been forced to take up arms and defend their way of life. Now, Americans across social media are also stepping up to let you Cranes know they’re paying attention, they care, and they’re ready to strike back at the invaders.
Yellow and blue are this season’s black square. Aside from being delighted to discover the Crane people’s flag sitting right there in their emoji keyboards — and what an attractive flag it is — Americans slammed open their liquor cabinets, grabbed their iPhones, and dumped bottles of vodka with funny letters on the label down the drain.
Not another sip until you behave, Mr. Poutine, they said, in a shower of booze and smashed crates of Smirnoff and Stoli. “Russian vodka boycott shows solidarity for Ukraine,” beamed NPR this week. “American restaurant owners are defying Russia by dumping vodka down the drain,” gushed CNN.
Smirnoff, the second most popular liquor brand in the US, may have originated in Russia, but it’s owned and produced by the British company Diageo. It was also brought to the US by a Russian immigrant in the nineteenth century, who began to bottle the beverage in Bethel, Connecticut. Smirnoff’s facilities remained in Connecticut until the 1980s when it was acquired by Diageo. Smirnoff is now distilled in Illinois.
Stolichnaya is owned by a Russian billionaire, but the guy fled to Luxembourg after Poutine came to power. Stoli — which is manufactured in Latvia, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, and the United States — like Smirnoff, is less Russian and more Russian-themed.
While it’s cute to watch liberal millennials pretend they drink anything but Tito’s brand vodka, Italy upped the game. A university in Milan announced that teaching Dostoevsky was now banned because he was a Russian writer. Irony appeared to be lost on the school, which later reversed the decision following a backlash. The Crime and Punishment author had spent time in a Siberian labor camp after the Russian state caught him reading banned books.
While we’re purging Russian-themed voices from the West, how about we take a closer look at Masha Gessen (they/them) or Pussy Riot (obnoxious/annoying)?
There’s plenty more we can do to show solidarity with Ukraine. We’ve got to stop eating poutine. Even though it’s a Canadian dish made of French fries, cheese curds, and gravy, it appears to have been named after Russia’s dictator. Throw your poutine in the street, and, if you’re a restaurant owner, cross it off the menu. Speaking of the Trump of the East — sorry, Irving Berlin fans, time to smash those Puttin’ on the Ritz records.
White Russians and Russian dressing have got to go, too. California wine enthusiasts are going to have a hard time when they learn about the Russian River Valley, which accounts for about a sixth of Sonoma County’s vineyards. Skip over St. Petersburg, Florida, for this year’s vacation and time next you’re at a concert don’t even think about rushin’ that stage.
Yet for the moment, we’ve decided to leave untouched a couple of Russia’s largest exports. The US will continue to import 595,000 barrels of Russian oil every single day. And no word yet from academia about censoring Karl Marx.