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“The cruelty of the ballet world has become surprisingly pathological.”
January 18, 2013 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Bolshoi Ballet Director Is Victim of Acid Attack: [NYTimes.com] "A masked man threw acid in the face of Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the legendary Bolshoi Ballet, on Thursday night, leaving him with third-degree burns and possibly threatening his eyesight, Bolshoi officials said on Friday morning."
posted by Fizz (30 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
WTF
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:02 AM on January 18, 2013


Glee will likely be doing this in an episode three weeks from now.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:03 AM on January 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


WTF, indeed. A little more context:

Investigators have not ruled out a dispute over money or property, but are focusing on the theory that Mr. Filin was targeted because of his work, a police spokesman told the Interfax news service.

As dancers kept an overnight vigil at the burn unit where he is being treated, his colleagues said they suspected that professional jealousy was behind the attack. In recent weeks, his tires were punctured and his car scratched, and his cellphones and personal e-mail account were hacked and correspondence published, his associates have said.

posted by KokuRyu at 10:03 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think we can rule out an imaginary Mila Kunis.
posted by Etrigan at 10:08 AM on January 18, 2013 [21 favorites]


I wonder if it might be some deranged nationalist angry over the hiring of Hallberg--although if that were the case you'd think the threats would have been more specifically on that subject. Still, Russia does not lack for deranged nationalists and ballet is a subject that stirs nationalist passions.
posted by yoink at 10:09 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a subject that stirs nationalist passions.
posted by Fizz at 10:10 AM on January 18, 2013


Oh, how awful. I hope he recovers as fully as possible, with his eyesight intact. Another example of allowing passion to go so far that humanity ceases to matter. Really unfortunate.
posted by batmonkey at 10:28 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Vitriolage has always particularly horrified me, ever since I knew what acid could do. It seems to be driven by the most horrifying kind of passion - that one might feel moved to inflict that kind of pain and injury on another person, would feel moved to douse them in torture and be sure that they are disfigured and scarred permanently. It's particularly cruel and there generally seems to be a very personal angle to it.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:32 AM on January 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


2014: The Bolshoi performs a Phantom of the Opera adaptation.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:44 AM on January 18, 2013


Oh my god, that's terrible. I'm well aware that competition in the ballet world is intense and stirs strong emotions, but this is just... How you can possibly decide to do that to another human being is unfathomable. I hope Mr. Filin recovers well, and that whoever is responsible gets the mental care they obviously need as well.
posted by gemmy at 10:45 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Learning a new word today: vitriolage. That there is a word for this type of attack saddens me as it signifies that it has happened enough for a definition to have been established.
posted by Fizz at 10:49 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Vitriolage" was very popular at the turn of the century in the U.S. (I vaguely recall reading that the Victorian and Edwardian eras popularly considered acid a (hysterical) woman's weapon against men, it being something women had easy access to that didn't require a great deal of strength or physical contact with the victim the way a stabbing would, but that in fact women appear to have been victims of acid attacks by men far more often ... but I can't find a cite.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:59 AM on January 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Vitriolage" was very popular at the turn of the century in the U.S.

That should be an FPP in and of itself damn.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:25 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Vitriolage" was very popular at the turn of the century in the U.S. (I vaguely recall reading that the Victorian and Edwardian eras popularly considered acid a (hysterical) woman's weapon against men, it being something women had easy access to that didn't require a great deal of strength or physical contact with the victim the way a stabbing would, but that in fact women appear to have been victims of acid attacks by men far more often ... but I can't find a cite.)

I was under the impression that it was something that a woman would do to a romantic rival. Acid disfigures - it would not only injure a person, but leave them hideously scarred as well. Since a greater social premium is placed on a woman's physical appearance, scarring her face is a way of harming her that also reduces her perceived value as a person. The motive tends to be romantic and/or sexual (most contemporary cases seem to involve spurned sexual advances and/or domestic abuse) it is a way to punish her for her beauty.

shudder
posted by louche mustachio at 12:04 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Glee will likely be doing this in an episode three weeks from now.

Surprisingly, they will actually recover the original acid from the evidence room and use that.
posted by jaduncan at 12:06 PM on January 18, 2013


Sayre's Law
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:11 PM on January 18, 2013


Metafilter: does not lack for deranged nationalists
posted by goethean at 12:25 PM on January 18, 2013


I was under the impression that it was something that a woman would do to a romantic rival. Acid disfigures - it would not only injure a person, but leave them hideously scarred as well. Since a greater social premium is placed on a woman's physical appearance, scarring her face is a way of harming her that also reduces her perceived value as a person. The motive tends to be romantic and/or sexual (most contemporary cases seem to involve spurned sexual advances and/or domestic abuse) it is a way to punish her for her beauty.


That's what's making me think in terms of a love triangle, too.
posted by jamjam at 12:56 PM on January 18, 2013


louche mustachio, you've articulated why women would be more likely victims, but not why you were under the impression that they were most often the perpetrators?
posted by forgetful snow at 3:06 PM on January 18, 2013


Sherlock Holmes spoiler alert:


For those who want an example of how this crime was viewed back when it was most common, acid-throwing is a key plot point in one of the later Sherlock Holmes stories, "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client." That last collection of Holmes stories really veers towards the decadent and sensational (monkey serums!), and the way the story rather lovingly dwells on the horror of acid injury is typical. Incidentally, the story suggests that it was thought of as a women's crime specifically because it was so awful -- there's a reference to "hatred . . . such as woman seldom and man never can attain."
posted by ostro at 3:16 PM on January 18, 2013


Horrific
posted by Renoroc at 3:20 PM on January 18, 2013


Ms. Volochkova ... said the crime spoke to a degradation of Russian society.

Unlike the ennoblement lavished by the great Stalin and his retinue.
posted by Twang at 5:07 PM on January 18, 2013


Not sure what's funny about getting your face burned off and your eyeballs melted.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:19 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Its not really a woman on woman thing. If you search for acid attacks in South Asia, they are almost always men thinking that the woman deserves it for being uppity.
posted by infini at 7:24 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


infini, that may not have been true at all times in all cultures.

As for this Bolshoi thing, I have a hunch it will end up with some sort of mafia/oligarch angle with roots in an internal ballet rift, like him not making the right boss's girlfriend his Black Swan or some such.
posted by dhartung at 12:14 AM on January 19, 2013


dhartung, the same argument can be used to say there's no reason to suspect women/spurned lovers are the culprit. All of this guessing is guessing; no one here appears to have an expertise on the matter.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:27 AM on January 19, 2013


Wait, what? I used the word "hunch".
posted by dhartung at 4:37 PM on January 19, 2013


Not that one would be in any shape to self-treat, but can anyone speculate what the best McGuyver first aid treatment would be? Pepto-bismol flushing of the eyes? Dowse down with all the baking soda that's available?
posted by porpoise at 7:04 PM on January 19, 2013


Plenty of water probably, speedy dilution is the key factor. Actually neutralizing the acid may also produce lots of heat, depending on the reaction involved - not something you want happening on your face.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:05 AM on January 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Dark World of Moscow's Bolshoi Theater
The recent acid attack on the artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater has shocked Russia and the art world. As doctors fight to save his vision, rumors are circulating that the attack was prompted by professional jealousy, a ticket-scalping racket or sex.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:07 AM on January 31, 2013


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