Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

What a country indeed

We all know that Yakov "What a country!" Smirnoff is a comic genius and the former Soviet Union's gift to Branson, Missouri. But who knew he was also a painter whose Jesus-loving, flag-waving, terrorist-hating, Bald Eagle-salutin, Lady Liberty-humping masterworks boast a saccharine, unapologetic mawkishness makes Anne Geddes look like Robert Mapplethorpe? As a painter, Smirnoff has approximately four themes. They are, in order. 1. God bless America. 2. After September 11th Lady Libery cried and the bald eagle soared and the flag waved majestically and Uncle Sam put his foot in terrorists' asses 3. Children are the future 4. Jesus loves America and children and hates the terrorists and joined Lady Liberty in weeping after September 11th. A full listing of Smirnoff's paintings can be found here: http://yakov.com/giftshop/paintings/default.asp My personal favorite is one of two paintings of Jesus laughing. Though they're both masterpieces of unintentional uber-kitsh I prefer the first one, since it makes Jesus look like Maurice Gibbs of the Bee Gees in the midst of a three-day Ecstasy binge. I could be wrong but it looks to me like Yakov painted what Jesus might look like after Liza handed him a fist full of multi-colored pills at Studio 54 one magical night in 1978. Smirnoff's signature piece is "America's Heart", a September 11th-inspired (of course) painting of a red, white and blue heart looming above the Statue of Liberty. Like many of Smirnoff's timeless masterpieces, it combines elements that would be maudlin and sentimental separately but gain a jaw-dropping, infinitely-beyond-self-parody ridiculousness through ham-fisted juxtaposition, like a dove carrying an American flag and a hand holding a bible and an American flag. For the record there are five American flags to be found in Smirnoff's portfolio, along with three Statues of Liberty, the last of which makes Lady Liberty look like a transvestite, along with two laughing Jesuses and two laughing Yakov Smirnoffs (coincidence? I think not). Also, there are many paintings o' Smirnoff's America-loving, Jesus-fearing li'l bambinos Smirnoff thoughtfully provides commentary for each. For the tellingly titled "America at peace" he thoughtfully opines: "Since 9/11, we have come a long way to healing the wounds. We are more at peace again. This painting followed America's Heart, which was about the hope of healing. This next painting confirms where America is today. Terrorists wanted to change America and they did. As Americans after 9/11, we're much more united, together as a nation, and we got stronger, better, and more at peace. By peace, I mean the harmony you can feel in our united determination to fight these terrorists and killers.. We are always at war somewhere — we have to show our devotion to our mission and freedom and protecting the world." and God and the bible… (to paraphrase Mr. Show) Beyond establishing that Smirnoff's English is still nota so good the above paragraph's logic is irresistible: America is at peace because America is always at war. Okey doke. Makes sense to me. I would like to humbly suggest the following subjects for future Smirnoff classics: 1. Lady Liberty spanking Osama Bin Laden while Smirnoff, Uncle Sam, Smirnoff's children and Albert Einstein look on laughingly. In the background a flag waves and an eagle soars majestically 2. Jesus, Yakov Smirnoff and George W. Bush all cry single perfect tears while looking at the wreckage of 9/11. From that tear a red, white and blue flower grows, which is then carried away by a bald eagle who plants it on a nest atop The Statue of Liberty Now comes the interactive part: What do you think Smirnoff should paint next? Please do chime in with suggestions of your own. Smirnoff needs our help!!!!!!

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