Bears are godless killing machines without a soul
March 22, 2006 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Превед! Russia's newest internet craze involves a painting called Bear Surprise [NSFW] by New York artist/musician John Lurie. "Превед", or "preved", is an intentional misspelling of "privet", or "hello" in Russian. There's a month-old Livejournal community dedicated to the meme and even a branded range of condoms. [Via]
posted by tapeguy (44 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
All your bear are belong to us.
posted by beagle at 9:44 AM on March 22, 2006

So that's what really happened to that Grizzly Man couple.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:45 AM on March 22, 2006

too funny, thanks!
posted by visit beautiful mount weather! at 9:45 AM on March 22, 2006

Nice to see they have memes in the second world, too.
posted by Citizen Premier at 9:47 AM on March 22, 2006

The bear image appears to have been taken off that condom company's site at some point in the few last hours. Since Russians were involved, I'm guessing that hackers were involved.
posted by tapeguy at 9:48 AM on March 22, 2006

The meme is interesting, in an anthropological sort of way, but what I really like is the original artwork. Who is this guy visionary?

I esp. liked:
My Name is Skinny
posted by grobstein at 9:50 AM on March 22, 2006

I esp. liked:
My Name is Skinny

I'm totally using that as my Christmas card this year.
posted by ColdChef at 9:55 AM on March 22, 2006

Foreign Internet memes are a little bit.. unsettling.
posted by Plutor at 9:56 AM on March 22, 2006

But, my god, that painting sucks.

I love art. Truly. I can sit and stare at paintings of many various genres for extended periods. They can be surrealist, realist, cubist, renaissence, or cave paintings...I don't care. But this modern primitive style, which seems to me to be the height of laziness and a refusal to gain ability past elementary school, drives me up the wall. I can't stand it. It's horrible and I would like to see all the museums who display this trash sent them back to the artist for a re-do.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:57 AM on March 22, 2006

Who is this guy visionary?

He's also an actor, and musician.

One of my favorite films of all time, Down By Law, stars Lurie along with Tom Waits and Roberto Benigni.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:57 AM on March 22, 2006

Wow, looking at his imdb page also shows that he was Greg Penders in 'Oz'.

Bloody genius, this guy.
posted by tapeguy at 10:00 AM on March 22, 2006

lurie is one of my favorite people of all time, if for no other reason than because I can never figure out how he falls ass backward into all the fame, publicity, work and money he has.

He's had a television show on IFC where he drags all his famous friends (jim jarmusch, dennis hopper, willem dafoe, legion others) out to fish and then puts an hour of that fishing footage on tv, with no apparent reason as to why. I can't even explain why it's as funny as it is, except to say that the entire time you're watching it you keep thinking "why the fuck is this on tv, and why the fuck am I watching it?"
posted by shmegegge at 10:01 AM on March 22, 2006

Someone needs to forward this meme to Stephen Colbert.
posted by ColdChef at 10:09 AM on March 22, 2006

So it's like a fark photoshop thread but in russia?
posted by delmoi at 10:09 AM on March 22, 2006

Yeah, I'm not crazy about the paintings either.
John should probably stick to fishing.

"I'd love a bite of your sandwich."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:10 AM on March 22, 2006

Heh. I was introduced to this meme by my bud Rob Balder, creator of the webcomic Partially Clips (good enough plug for you, Rob?). Apparently, "Превед" can be translated roughly as "Whazaaaap?"
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:13 AM on March 22, 2006

Frankly, my 5 year old makes art I'd rather look at than this shite.

I'm sorry, but it seems like recently any kind of art that comes from so-called "outside" artists is instantly revered as "visionary". Listen people, just because it's crudely made and doesn't make a lick of sense, doesn't make it artistic gold. IMHO this guy brings nothing new to the table.

I'd tell him to stick to music and tv, which he apparently does well at.

posted by Parannoyed at 10:15 AM on March 22, 2006

The fishermen wake up excited to be alive. They hope for good weather and good luck. Both fisherman are covered with sores and boners.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:22 AM on March 22, 2006


"It was such a good breakfast, I'd like to hold on to it for a little while longer."

Did Wait's pantsfish predate quonsars?
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:24 AM on March 22, 2006

I thought he was dead. ("I made a mistake! John is still alive!")
posted by bigschmoove at 10:49 AM on March 22, 2006

"Just tell me what you want, Tom."

"To be on dry land."
posted by scody at 10:51 AM on March 22, 2006

I discovered this meme at Anatoly Vorobei's Avva [in Russian], where he says as far as he's concerned only one human being (he later clarifies that he means a literary character) has the right to say "Превед!" It turns out he's thinking of Godot. I'm not sure why, but that's Russian humor for you.

Превед [preved, pronounced /priv'ét/] for привет [privet, pronounced identically] 'greetings; hi!' is part of a whole jokey internet culture of respelling Russian words phonetically (a lot of the examples in the first link have someone saying Превед, кросавчег [preved, krosavcheg], a deformation of Привет, красавчик [privet, krasavchik] 'Hi, handsome!'); it's comparable to IM-speak in English but (I think) doesn't carry quite as much implication of being an illiterate moron.

Also, Превед [preved] is phonetically similar to медведь [medved'] 'bear,' which may have influenced the creation of the meme based on that Lurie piece.
posted by languagehat at 10:51 AM on March 22, 2006

John Lurie's brother Ethan provides the music for the weirdly engrossing Backyardigans, which should have a cult following all its own.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:04 AM on March 22, 2006

He is also behind the amusing Marvin Pontiac. I won't say anything else about that, as there is a little twist.
He is also a member of the jazz band the Lounge Lizards which are v. good.
Oh, and the Fishing with John shows, while good, are very heavily edited, listening to the commentary on the DVD is educational. Tom Waits didn't speak to John for quite awhile after their little trip.

His music label is called Strange and Beautiful Music, but John wanted to called it "I'm Naked", so people would have to answer the phone, "I'm naked, can I help you?"
posted by edgeways at 11:05 AM on March 22, 2006

Sadly, Tom surprisingly comes off as pretty uncool in FWJ, almost as lame as Matt Dillon.
(The Willem DaFoe one's the best, IMO)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:07 AM on March 22, 2006

IIRC the DVD commentary said that Tom was pretty sick during the trip, so that may account for lack of coolness
posted by edgeways at 11:09 AM on March 22, 2006

I found him plenty cool, but I enjoy complaining lunatics.
posted by Divine_Wino at 11:14 AM on March 22, 2006

A friend of mine got to see a lot of the raw FWJ footage -- a friend of his was editing it -- and he said that the Matt Dillon stuff was excruciating, because it was all so, so lame. (Conversely, of course, there was enough awesome footage with Willem Defoe that they could have made that one an hour.) And yep, things did indeed get pretty awful between Lurie and Waits -- what sounds like a pretty awful knockdown, drag-out fight between them got left on the cutting room floor.

out on the waaaater... fishing... with Joooohn....
posted by scody at 11:17 AM on March 22, 2006

Out of context, that bear looks like a Far Side cartoon.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:24 AM on March 22, 2006

I read that Dillon refused to the do the Good Luck Fish Dance for more than ten seconds, so they just shot that from a bunch of different angles and slapped them together.
He wasn't one of Lurie's choices to be on the show, either.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:25 AM on March 22, 2006

But, my god, that painting sucks

They said that, in effect, about van Gogh. I'd say this is not Lurie's best painting, and I doubt if he'll be well known 100 years from now. But the point here is not just the painting, it's the message, and now the meme has become part of the artwork as well.
posted by beagle at 11:26 AM on March 22, 2006

a painting called Bear Surprise

Often it's been asked, what is art? It seems complicated to define, and people know it when they see it.

That is art. Sublime, rich in detail and in message, tapping into the deep underlying drives, yearnings, the most profound emotions underlying humanity, this piece can teach us to find ourselves again, to renew our relationships with the world and each other. Surprise! it cries out in delight as we, the pessimistic sour bears of our discontent, find this, the mating lovers, the creation, this, artwork.

I'm breathless.
posted by nervousfritz at 11:34 AM on March 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Fishing with John was a great show. The theme song ruled.
posted by First Post at 11:35 AM on March 22, 2006

Thanks a lot. I had JUST eradicated the Fishing with John theme song earworm that stuck with me FOR MONTHS.

*curses* *loves john lurie*
posted by krix at 12:03 PM on March 22, 2006

Sorry John, I love you, but I'd like you to drop the paintbrush and step away from the canvas.
posted by kozad at 4:43 PM on March 22, 2006

when you see the shark, drop the cheese.
posted by timory at 5:05 PM on March 22, 2006

If I'm not mistaken Lurie is also the composer of some fun cuts on the soundtrack for Get Shorty. I still haven't watched Fishing With John, but it's on my list.
posted by Songdog at 6:07 PM on March 22, 2006

Can anybody tell me what the unreadable captions on Our Amazing Universe are? I've got:
Row 1: The Gluteus Maximus Of My Teacher Mrs. Farley; Albino Pig, A ??????
Row 2: Fossil (?????); Moon; ?
Row 3: Antelope; Crab Nebula; Scientist

I really like this one.
posted by spock at 7:34 PM on March 22, 2006

John Lurie is a genius, and amateur (or profesional) art critics on the internet? BALLS to you, I say.
posted by sluggo at 7:36 PM on March 22, 2006

OK: Top right is "A Seyfert Galaxy"
posted by spock at 7:38 PM on March 22, 2006

Once there was a time I understood or at least appreciated web-based memes. Now, I probably don't bang in the forest often enough to get things.

PS. Paintings are rubbish and empty as well.
posted by Laotic at 1:47 AM on March 23, 2006

The comments on the Free Williamsburg blog are hilarious, by the way.

I'm still trying to understand the last few percent of it, but something tells me that the moment I will, I will love it to death. This type of humour (language, animals, inanity, a teaspoon of sex) is right up my alley.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:28 AM on March 23, 2006

bear hello?
posted by Tzarius at 3:10 AM on March 23, 2006

ubscure yeet owesome.
posted by bokononito at 12:15 AM on March 24, 2006

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