Vladimir Putin, The Bionic Russian President, took time off from killing snow leopards with throwing knives to give an interview to Outdoor Life. In it, we learn that the oft-shirtless Putin has been closely watching how Obama bares his own toned flesh.
Outdoor Life writer Gayne C. Young speculated to Putin that his popularity with American outdoorspeople has something to do with the fact that he's not bound by wimpy strictures of political correctness. "For example," says Young, "it is highly unlikely that President Obama (or any past president) would ever allow himself to be photographed holding a scoped hunting rifle or with his shirt off, holding a fish he just caught, for fear it would offend some people." (Putin is almost constantly doing all three of those things.)
But Putin disagrees:
You say that you cannot imagine the U.S. President even allowing himself to be photographed while hunting, or with his shirt off. But I can because I remember pictures of Theodore Roosevelt taken not just with a hunting rifle or a fishing rod in his hands, but with a lion he killed. And indeed, as recently as last summer, President Barack Obama was bathing in the Pacific Ocean in front of TV and photo cameras, and he was not wearing a tie, to put it mildly. Does this look like politically incorrect behavior? Not to me, and my ethnic origin has nothing to do with that
We cannot reduce everything to absurdity, but we should not show off in this context, displaying ostentatious commitment to the so-called "standards of decency." We need to identify and maintain essential, basic things.
Yes, "essential, basic things": Things like the iridescent baubles of seawater streaming down the rippling back of a Head of State. Ohhhh yeahhh. These guys should do a calendar. [Outdoor Life, photos via AP]