Sunday, June 18, 2023

Konstantin Stepanov

You knew we weren't going to get through this without at least one discus prop, and it is 
Konstantin Stepanov who provided it.  He was the world champion bodybuilder for both 
1913 and 1914, but seems to have faded into obscurity in the chaos of Russia in World War I.



  1. I know that we have discussed this before, but I am sure that the full frontal nude originals of a lot of these "publicity" postcards were available, if only to a select few. I doubt anyone would have much questioned why anyone would have wanted one, as every man was presumed to be heterosexual. With the fall of the Tsarist regime in 1917, homosexuality was briefly legalized until the October Revolution which brought the Bolsheviks to power and who promptly reversed this policy. If he survived the war, Konstantin Stepanov's choice of career would not have been viewed favourably by the new regime, if he managed to survive that and wasn't carted off to a camp for "parasitism".

    1. I'll never forget a line from Dr. Zhivago that went something like, " . . . a nameless number on a list that was later misplaced."

    2. Boris Pasternak was a literary giant. I remember reading Dr Zhivago in English translation at the age of 18 and thought it was a love story. I read it again in my 40s in French and realized that it was no such thing. It was about life bringing down its size 13 hobnailed boot down on a man. It's just that it was the Bolsheviks who were doing the stamping. The novel was smuggled out of the USSR and published in Milan. When Zhivago and the Gromekos leave Moscow at the instigation of Zhivago's half-brother, Yevgraf, they find their estate, Varykino, in the Urals, boarded up, with a notice "Confiscated by the Varykino Soviet in the name of the people". Dr Gromeko says, "God damn it, I am one of the people, too."

    3. The movie version of Zhivago was not well received by the American critics when it was released, but it was commercial success and is now recognized as classic, if not a masterpiece. I took a course in cinema at UT, and the professor said he knew it was a great movie from the beginning. When asked how he knew, he said, "Those bad reviews were all over the place. Some said it trivialized the Russian Revolution, some said it glorified it. Some said the romance was overblown, some said it was subsumed in the history. Anytime that happens, watch out. There's greatness lurking there." Fifty years after it was released, the film was the most popular choice among American Airlines in flight classic movies.

      As for the good Dr. Gromeko, my favorite line was after Zhivago produced a bumper potato crop and he said, "Scratch a Russian, and you'll find a peasant."

  2. Klassisk pose som en fin staty i antika Hellas, en så vacker ungdom Konstantin Stepanov var. Sannolikt och tragiskt bortsvept av den ryska revolutionen. Många ryska flyktingar från revolutionen flydde till Skandinavien och tog sig till Paris, London och New York där de påverkade balett, konst och mode.