Bronzed for life

Torture. Tattoos. Interrogations. Starvation. Overcrowding. Mass killings. Harsh labor. Godawful medical care. Political repression. Exile. Tanning beds.

The Gulag ain’t what it used to be.

A centuries-old Russian prison notorious for its dismal, primitive conditions will soon gussy up its inmates with a beautifying new perk—tanning beds.

That’s right, tanning beds. Not soap on a rope. Not a new table saw. And not a new porn library of Boris Yeltsin doing snuff films in lingerie (because for some, I’d imagine there’s really nothing sexier than a hooker snorting cyanide off a ball-gagged Boris’s man-tits) or reenactments of Catherine the Great’s horse fetish. Frickin’ tanning beds.

Here’s how I see it:

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(used to make a point; please don’t watch the whole thing, lest you begin cutting yourself)

Under the guise of compensating for inadequate sunlight, Butyrka prison will install these cancer cradles to help celebrate its 240-year anniversary. But make no mistake, glamour shall have its price. Inmates will be forced to pay 10 rubles (33 cents) per minute to use the tanning beds—a rather steep fee in a country with an average monthly salary well under $1,000.

(fabulous, here we come)

In my mind, something far more shallow and Machiavellian is afoot here than suddenly caring about malnourished prisoners getting seasonal affective disorder.

Personally, I think it’s a subtle power move by Russia to gain traction in the world’s booming metrosexual market, and in the process give Russia’s sinister image a makeover. Be on the lookout for a wave of new Russian male beauty products—including sulfuric acid chemical peels and body-waxing pliers—plastic surgeons (calf implants made from real baby calves!) and, of course, the soon to be ever-present “borschtini.”

Because once you own the title, “Most fabulous-looking prisoners,” the world will beckon. I mean, Russian prisoners already have the anorexic look down. Now all they need is a little color.

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~ by zactopia on January 19, 2011.

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