A few weeks ago, this incredible costume made the rounds on Twitter:
What made this truly incredible, over and above a beauty pageant contestant going as a Battle Sister from Warhammer 40K, is that the designer of the costume, Lesya Patoka, created the outfit in Kyiv “in extreme conditions, to the sound of sirens, without electricity, and by candlelight”, because the city was busy being bombed by Russian drones.
The contestant, Viktoria Apanasenko, arrived in New Orleans this weekend for the Miss Universe contest, deploying her Battle Sister Flight Suit in glorious fashion.
AND SHE WON IMMEDIATELY AND EVERYONE LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER AND THIS STORY IS NOW OVER.
oh, if only.
You see, this is 2023 and in case you haven’t figured it out with the line I close every one of these with, everything is horrible now. Because not only did Russian trolls deploy immediately in force to support Miss Russia (seen here as Princess Elsa from Frozen)…
…those trolls were joined by Americans. Whom you’d think would know better, or at a minimum cheer on, oh, I don’t know, Miss USA or something. But no! A certain variety of Americans were very concerned.
This might be confusing to those who live in the real world who understand that an entire country’s existence, including costume design, is not actually paid for by US taxpayer dollars, but anger at support for Ukraine among MAGA conservatives has been building for some time.
Joe Biden, the military-industrial-congressional complex, State Department neocons, the War Party comprised of all Democrats and many corporate Republicans, and Western globalist elites have the United States and NATO in a Ukrainian proxy war against Russia. The warmongers are obsessed with destroying Russia. To achieve it, they are determined to fight to the last Ukrainian.
The war in Ukraine is not in the interest of the American people; Biden’s sanctions on Russia are destroying our economy; the billions wasted on this war are taxpayer dollars that should have been spent fixing problems here at home; the Zelenskyy government is a corrupt, de facto Nazi regime; and the proxy war against Russia is pushing us towards nuclear destruction.
This may be confusing to people who have been following the news the past year or so and distinctly remember Russia invading Ukraine — a minor point not mentioned in the above article, which is essentially Russian propaganda talking points distilled into Conservative English. But what’s more important than Russia invading, brutally occupying, and committing war crimes perilously close to ethnic genocide? Simple: 4 years ago, Volodymyr Zelensky made Donald Trump look really, really dumb.
I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation in Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people … The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.
You see, Ukraine was already in the Donald Trump Cinematic Universe as the source of corruption involving Hillary Clinton, Hunter Biden, and all manner of other things very much not involving Donald Trump owing Vladimir Putin favors for some unknown reason, who could say? which explains Trump going on about Q-Anon adjacent conspiracy theories to a reportedly very deeply confused Zelensky, who just wanted some anti-tank missiles to help deter Russia invading his country and now apparently had to make up political dirt about the possible next president of the US to get them. You’d think a president who did that would get impeached or something!
But it’s now fixated in Donald Trump’s squishy-matter-where-other-people-have-a-brain-and-I-dunno-maybe-it’s-cabbage-or-something that Ukraine BAD because it made Trump LOOK BAD and that is BAD, and thus Vladimir Putin, who in the Donald Trump Cinematic Universe is strong, manly and not at all a leader of a crime syndicate masquerading as a government, is good and smart because he invaded Ukraine, which is BAD.
Look, among small children, the mentally handicapped, and elderly ex-Presidents confined to their golf resorts, that sort of reasoning is acceptable. Where things go off the rails is how that has reverberated around the American right in general.
The ultra-far-right - the actual Nazis, exemplified lately by human pond scum Nick Fuentes - are pro-Russian invasion explicitly. They think Russia’s run by Nazis and that’s great! More of that! I trust not much more explanation is necessary, because you are not and cannot pay me enough to search for Nick Fuentes quotes.
The merely far right - best exemplified by Tucker Carlson on Fox News, (who previously has been documented hiring from the ultra-far right to help propagate racist conspiracies) support Russia’s assault on Ukraine because Putin’s Russia is explicitly what they want: a white nationalist ethnostate with a national religion imposed by law. Prior to Russia’s assault, this was seen in their fawning support for Viktor Orban, who while a right-wing strongman who whips up ethnic hatred, at least allows the pretense of elections every so often. Now, Tucker Carlson explicitly parrots the Russian propaganda line so closely, you can watch his show in the original Russian regularly.
And beyond that, the right wing as a whole, which has absorbed so much of the above that an Oklahama state rep recently demanded Ukrainian troops not be allowed there because “they might misfire missiles into Oklahoma”. (I’ve been to Oklahoma. Mistargeted missile strikes would only improve the place.)
This all filters down to the meme lords and influencers on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit responding to any mention of Ukraine’s resistance with “why are my tax dollars paying for this”, a question never applied to, say, Trump’s weekly taxpayer-funded golf trips, because golfing is far more important than resisting fascist invasions.
And here we are, where even a beauty pageant is held hostage to right-wing trolls screaming “muh money”, because everything continues to be horrible.