Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Eduard Khil 1934-2012

Eduard Khil, the Russian singer from the Brezhnev era who has become known as Mr. Trololo to the English-speaking Internet world (at the very least), died on Monday at 77, several months after suffering a massive stroke.

It would be really easy to post That Video again (which is what the American news is doing...and why they're doing it, of course), but behind the meme lies an artist.


A lot of things have been said about Khil himself, but I'd like to touch on one of the side-issues of his You Tube "discovery" if I could. My understanding is that a few Russian onlookers have scoffed at the type of attention That Video has been getting from the outside world. But even before the Internet, "OMG LOL" was one of the ways we processed new things, at least in the first stage. And yes, for many people a relationship with a piece begins and ends at "LOL", but a few of them continue on to the next stage: "Wait a minute, what did I just see?" And that's when the interesting part starts. That's how a man named Paul Killiam went from making sarcastic hash of silent films on early television to being one of the key figures of silent film preservation. 

Yes, seriously, this guy is the reason you can actually see Rudolph Valentino and not just read about him.

At the time, that was the type of thing I was hoping to see (and am still hoping to see eventually) come out of the Trololo craze, the peeling back of the curtain to the rest of the world, bit by bit, for those curious enough to do some exploring on their own...or at least a DVD of the Cheryomushki film that doesn't cost $40. And if we're still waiting for that...well, sometimes these things take awhile.

No comments: