On Monday, Mickey Rourke, the former wrestler, actor, and muscleman,
bought a Vladimir Putin T-shirt at a mall in Moscow:
When asked for a comment on Putin, Rourke, who seemed tired, employed a metric familiar to all machos. “I met him a couple times,” Rourke said. “He looked me right in the eye. I think he’s a good guy.”
Rourke wasn’t the first American buff to dress in Putin recently.
On Saturday, Steven Seagal, the action star whose films include Executive Decision and Today You Die, picked up a Vlad T-shirt after performing in a rock concert played for a crowd of Russian nationalists in Sevastopol:
This is partly about celebrity advocacy: Seagal has expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin and supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea. And at Saturday’s concert, the flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic reportedly flew onstage.
But it’s also about something else. Like the stoner in your high-school class with the Che Guevara T-shirt, these men are iconoclasts in search of an icon.
“I don’t give a fuck about the politics,” Rourke said.
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.| Passport |
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.| Passport |