Sunday, 19 February 2017

save our saucepans

In the late 1950s, the American and Soviet governments agreed to hold expositions in each otherʼs capitals in order to promote cultural understanding by showcasing the best in technique and artistry in all arenas—including home economics—and one such model American kitchen was the backdrop (or rather the proscenium) for an impromptu debate between the then visiting vice-president, Richard Milhous Nixon, and the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in Sokolniki Park in the summer of 1959.
Box Vox introduces us to the exchange captured by television cameras and then simulcast in both nations and the produce-placement of the now iconic packages on the table and countertops, including the box of S.O.S soap pads. The two were touring the exhibits together—of a suburban home within the means of any American, when all of a sudden Khrushchev complained in strong terms how the US legislative characterised the Warsaw Pact as the Iron Curtain and Eastern Europe was not a prisoner. Taken aback, Nixon focused on the modern marvels in the kitchen and the labour-saving devices. Not impressed, Khrushchev asked where was the machine that would put the food in oneʼs mouth and force it down oneʼs throat. The two agreed that there was at least virtue in that the competition was couched in domestic terms, rather than military ones and that there scuffle ought to become a photo-op, given to the networks, in both the USA and USSR, to air a few days later.