Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Photos of bare-chested Putin create stir 

That's actually the AP's headline: "Photos of bare-chested Putin create stir"

...few could have predicted the squall of gossip and speculation that erupted after the president stripped off his shirt for the cameras while vacationing in the Siberian mountains last week.

The resulting images, prominently enshrined on the presidential Web site, inspired admiration, criticism and some racing pulses among his admirers.

The Russian media still can't get enough.

The tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda on Wednesday published a huge color photo of the bare-chested president under the headline: "Be Like Putin." Its excuse? A guide showing exactly what exercises were required to build up a torso like the Russian leader's.

...Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that women who visited its Web site posted comments on Putin's "vigorous torso" and said they "were screaming with delight and showering (him) with compliments."

Here's the vigorous torso.

I don't know what to make of this. Is it better, worse, or merely equivalent to Bush's flight suit/codpiece stunt? I mean Bush's was profoundly worse when you consider the symbolism and its intended effect on the political discourse in our society. But as an image? I mean, the leader of a G-8 nation stripping for photographers and apparently running through a series of strenuous flexes and poses? It's just weird.


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