It's only Wednesday and it's already been a strange week in state-sponsored propaganda. From Cuba's dazzling technological achievements to Russia's "gay propaganda" problem to China's obsession with female flight attendants, today's Propaganda Parade begins in the Caribbean.
Cuba Acquires "Cutting Edge" Doppler Weather Radar
Remember when you were growing up and your local news station started trumpetting its fancy doppler weather radar technology? Turns out, Cuba just got that, and it's kind of a big deal. The Cuban News Agency reports that "by adapting cutting-edge technology," meteorologists will be able to "measure wind speed and predict sea floods in the event of different meteorological phenomena like hurricanes."
Welcome to modernity, Cuba. It's actually a pretty endearing story emphasizing the great bargain the Cuban government got on the new radar technology. Apparently this stuff is expensive, "around $5 million" on the international market says an engineer, but the thrifty Cuban government cut corners, bought each part separately, and assembled it independently. All told, this saved the Cuban people "at least $100,000." No government waste, here!
Russia Cracks Down on 'Gay Propaganda'
Propaganda can be real and propaganda can be perceived. Put this in the latter category. On Sunday, a law penalizing "the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors" went into effect in St. Petersburg amid a wave of protests from LGBT groups billing it as "homophobic." It turns out, the "propaganda" St. Petersburg governor Georgy Poltavchenko is worried about is what we in the Western world call "freedom of speech." The ban essentially makes all gay pride events illegal and imposes fines of up to $16,000 on individuals and $160,000 on legal entities. Below, the state-owned outlet RiaNovosti displays a nice poster blending Soviet-kitchs and gay pride:
China Promotes Its "Oriental Beauties"
The Atlantic's resident China expert James Fallows knows how to spot a trend, and this week, he discovered a winner in China's state-owned newspapers: The hot babes of Chinese flight. It all started with the People's Daily's commemoration of International Women's Day (irony alert) with a photo spread of the "beautiful service staff" at Communist Party conferences.
If you're looking for some sort of hook to the story, don't waste your time. The piece is merely a photo essay about the "warmth and color" the service staff adds to the Communist Party conferences.
Not to be outdone, China Daily unveiled a story on the "oriental beauties" of Hainan Airlines a few days later.
And, in less cringe-inducing coverage, the army's first Chinese female pilots got their moment in the sun in the People's Daily.
There's no outward slavering over the lady pilots' physical attributes, though, we will say, the Communist flight garb does evoke quite the impressive look: