Bad taste on ice seems to be the theme this week. First, the wife of President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman faced a storm of criticism on Monday for performing a Holocaust-themed ice-dancing routine with striped costumes based on concentration camp uniforms. Then an ice rink in Kitakyushu, Japan, was shocked when skaters had objections to their arrangement of dead fish in frozen patterns under the ice for them to enjoy. For most skaters, Space World
had them lost them at “hello.”
A skating rink placed thousands of dead fish frozen underneath the ice to spell out words and form patterns. There was something about skating over their lifeless bodies that took away from the joy of the moment for many. The owner tried to hype the display of 25 different kinds of fish as an “ice aquarium” but skaters found it more like an ice mausoleum. The pictures are actually gruesome with larger rays and 5000 fish laid out in the ice.
Space World spokesman General Manager Toshimi Takeda insisted that they “wanted customers to experience the feeling of skating on the sea, but after receiving criticism, we decided that we could not operate it any more.” Perhaps skating in the Dead Sea. (By the way, what happened to the idea of using fake fish? Did that not come up in the brainstorming session?)
The controversy in Japan is nothing compared to the one triggered by the skating Holocaust-on-ice number of Tatiana Navka, an Olympic ice dancing champion who is married to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who performed the routine with actor Andrei Burkovsky on a prime-time celebrity skating show. The dancers dressed up as concentration camp victims with black-and-white striped outfits with numbers and yellow stars used to mark Jews. The routine was performed to 1997 Oscar-winning Italian film “Life is Beautiful” and ends to the sound of gunfire.
The beaming smiles of the performers and wild applause did not sit well with many people. Dancer Ilya Averbukh, who is Jewish, called the objections nothing more than a display of “the craziness of today.” The dancers no doubt considered this to be a moving number of two human being overcoming utter hopelessness and hatred. From their perspective, it was not belittling but honoring the victims. From the perspective of some onlookers, however, the smiling skaters created a jarring and bizarre image.
What do you think? (Besides suggesting that the next show be held at the Space World ice rink in Kitakyushu, Japan.