08 February 2016

Today in Historical Illiteracy

At Salon, Andrew O'Hehir takes aim at Marco Rubio, and effectively targets his own foot:
Let me explain “Potemkin Super Bowl party,” because I don’t even know whether that’s a totally obscure reference. In the Soviet Union under Stalin — and Marco Rubio is already deeply unhappy about where I’m going with this — the state built “Potemkin villages,” idealized rural towns full of happy peasants for foreign visitors, while behind those façades the populace lived in misery.

You are only off by almost 200 years, and the reference is only a Google away.

A Potemkin Village was a fake town created by a courtier in the court of Catherine the Great, Prince Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin-Tavricheski, who allegedly created an elaborate fraud to convince the Czarina that the lands in the south of Russia were happy and loyal.

Attributing this to Stalin, when the term literally has its own Wiki page, does not inspire confidence on your grasp of the facts Mr. O'Hehir.

BTW, it appears that after reading comments to his article he corrected that bit, and he should get props for that, but if you have an only vague knowledge of this sort of cultural reference, just f%$#ing Google it.


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