On Lana: Pre-Notes

I didn’t mean to let my beloved lit-smark blog go dormant the past couple weeks. I’ve just had my mind blown by Lana and her flashing of Vladimir Putin’s big head across the jumbotron, and her talking about Edward Snowden and sanctions. Lana as a WWE nationalist heel is a Soviet era cartoon stereotype, a throwback to the era of wrestling that coincided with the cold war. A petite bombshell in a power suit with sharply angled eyebrows that indicate she has sinister motives, Lana and Rusev might as well be named Boris and Natasha.

And yet, in recent decades wrestling’s nationalist heels have evolved into far more precise and nuanced characters than this Russian mean girl. Take for example Muhammad Hassan. I must say, they really hit a nerve with him. Too bad Vince had to push the envelope too far. And Eddie and Chavo Guerrero, they were so much fun when they played up the Mexican angle. I’ll never forget when somebody got thrown into a wall, and the two of them complained to Stephanie that the WWE was becoming an unsafe working environment.

WWE has come a long way in its treatment of its nationalist heels as three dimensional characters. And yet from a foreign policy standpoint, Lana’s mean Russian hottie routine would at first glance appear to be about as geopolitically sophisticated as the comic stylings of Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik. Can this really be so gauche of Stephanie and her people, dumbing down the Russia-Ukraine conflict with this character at a point in history as volatile as the Cuban missile crisis? Or is there thematic inversion buried in the character, subversion even? What does it all mean? And why is Bulgaria involved? When’s the last time you heard about them causing any trouble? I’m not sure yet, the situation is still fluid, but that’s what I’ve been doing — sitting here thinking about how it all fits together, formulating a thesis.

I’m going to try to keep forging ahead with the mission, though, so in a day or two I’ll post my thoughts on Dean Ambrose. What can I say? I’ve become a fan despite myself.



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