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The extreme weirdness of Ovechkin’s social media platform: PutinTeam

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A very good Photoshopped image.

Personal achievements and medals – all of this great, but in hockey, like with everything, to win it’s important to have a team. Only a team is capable of changing the course of a game, achieve the impossible. Lately, in the Western Press, I’m noticing a comparison to Putin’s team. And you know, I really liked that comparison. Personally, I’m ready to be a member of that team. I never hid my relationship with our president, always openly supported him. -Alex Ovechkin

Hey everyone, let’s all ditch this blog and delete your Facebook and Twitter accounts and go join the best social media platform on the planet: PutinTeam.

There’s absolutely nothing weird about a social media movement devoted to a single person who just happens to be a feared and powerful autocrat. It just makes a lot of sense. I’m just happy that Ovi, who plays for a team located in the capital of the United States, decided to start it at this exact moment, serendipitously when some losers in the FBI have been investigating the Russian government’s exploitation of social media platforms for their own interests. Ha! How laughable.

I took a moment to browse through the happy folks on the #PutinTeam Instagram feed. It’s remarkable how the profile pics all seem to conform to a certain type of person: glowering tough guys or impeccable coifed hot girls. The feed itself is a mixture of laughably obvious pro-government memes and posts that seem to come from what I imagine is the fever dream of a desperately patriotic Russian.

There’s some impeccable photo editing going on here, but ignore that for a moment and think about the content of the picture. Valdimir Putin and this guy are very similar in that they are wearing Judogi. Also, the guy’s username is appended with 007, referring to James Bond, a notorious masculine hero who is weirdly known for thwarting Russian plots, but not so much recently so. A sort of dumbass lack of irony is a characteristic of many of the posts on #PutinTeam.

Jesus Christ, dude. Moving on.

Who among us doesn’t gaze longingly at pop art paintings of our president? The next logical step is to have someone take a picture of it and put it on the internet.

Ah yes. I hear supeheroes are very hot right now. The number of Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy keeps growing, but I hadn’t heard of SuperPutin before. Anyway, a 65 year old man is definitely a jacked superhero to all the woke kids.

When I was in Thailand back in the early aughts, the street markets had all these faux American streetwear brands, not unlike Trailhead Indastree here. Why not just counterfeit an actual brand? There certainly wasn’t any shortage of fake Gucci bags and cheap t-shirts screenprinted with fashion logos. This clearly ‘shopped picture of our man Vlad rocking the “Ghetto” sweats reminds me an awful lot of the FUBU sweatshirt worn by Ed Belfour when he was arrested for assaulting a sex worker.

FUBU stands for “For Us, By Us,” a clothing company started in Queens explicitly to create and sell clothing designed by African Americans for African Americans.

I, too, long to have a pocket-sized Vladimir Putin acting as my hype man.

It’s totally a normal thing to manufacture a ring with the prominent bust of your country’s leader on it, and also totally normal to buy it and wear it. Just normal stuff.

One of the bracing things about seeing another country’s shamelessly nationalistic propaganda is how similar it is to the kind of posts your worst aunt likes on Facebook, but through the looking glass. #PutinTeam is fond of the troops, makes fun of the pussies in Ukraine, is full of maudlin shots of the countryside, likes idiotic political cartoons, is chock full of meatheads doing hypermasculine sports, vastly overestimates how funny it is, and is conspicuously and aggressively white.

The Sharks take on the Capitals tonight. We live in a strange, strange world.