I remember a time when I was afraid of Russian people. Yes, I was young, but my view of Russian people, and Russia in general, was colored by the attitudes passed onto me by our political leaders during the Cold War. Russia was a threat to America. They wanted to nuke us off the face of the planet. They wanted to destroy America.
These thoughts simply terrified me.
But then I caught the act of a comedian named Yakov Smirnoff. He was from Russia, and he joked about Russia as well as America. His light-hearted nature and beaming smile was like a warm blanket or a favorite comfort food to my soul. Not only did he make me start feeling better concerning Russian people – you know, that maybe they weren’t all as scary as my political leaders wanted me to believe – but he also gave me a sense that maybe the Russian people simply weren’t bad people, and that maybe, at heart, they wanted the same things we wanted in America, which was simply to live our lives.
Recently, I listened to an interview (video below) that brings up this same sort of issue. The interview is about how comedy may be a better road to peace than bombs. Considering my experience, I’m very much inclined to agree. At the very least, comedy won’t scare the kids as much as the prospect of being bombed.
You can listen to the 11-minute interview by clicking the play button on the video below. I hope you enjoy and I hope it gets you thinking. 🙂