Provocative British novelist and former Conservative MP Louise Mensch outdid even herself today with the following message on Twitter:
Leonard Cohen’s death reminds us that America’s enduring greatness is as multifaceted as a diamond. Russia has nothing. Russia is joyless.
Quite why Cohen’s death should provide an excuse for some Russia-bashing, I cannot imagine, but her tweet provoked an immediate backlash for another reason, with respondents rushing to point out that ‘Cohen was Canadian, you ****!’
Faced with this unpleasant fact, Mensch defended herself by denying that she’d ever said that Cohen was American, and by doubling down on the claim that Russia was a country without culture. ‘No culture is worth anything without Leonard Cohens of its own. You are rock-free, joyless and soulless.’ ‘LOL, “great music scene” in Russia’, she tweeted later.
Boy, oh, boy, what ignorance. Not only does Russia have a vibrant popular music culture, but it has also had its fair share of Cohen-style singer songwriters. Has Louise never heard of Cohen’s contemporaries Vladimir Vysotsky or Bulat Okudzhava, for instance? I guess not. Or maybe she just thinks that they are American too.