Hashtags from my Soviet childhood

We now live in a realm of buzzwords, hashtags, slogans that can seduce us with the neatness of tidily packaged concepts in our desire for change.

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Opinion

March 5, 2020 - 9:53 AM

Moscow's Red Square

Browsing through a trendy boutique in Culver City recently, I came across a framed sign that said “Equality.” It was pink and perched above a shelf with neatly folded jeans on sale for $450 a pair. I took a photo and laughed until it hit me — this was no laughing matter. Not long after, I visited a private school in Santa Monica where posters, done in a child’s hand, said “Join the Young Proletariat Club —Support the Revolution!”

We now live in a realm of buzzwords, hashtags, slogans that can seduce us with the neatness of tidily packaged concepts in our desire for change. But “equality,” “revolution” and “proletariat” are rendered meaningless in environments where they are overused. We’ve entered an age of Newspeak — though, unlike in “1984,” this is not part of government indoctrination but our own doing.

Having spent my childhood in the Soviet Union in the 1980s, I’ve inherited a knee-jerk reaction to slogans. Soviet buzzwords were the foundation of our reality, overseen by the holy trinity of Marx, Engels and Lenin.

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