In Prague, the Triumph of Capitalism…

… is not the new Nike gym floating on the Vltava.  That’s just an encroaching megabrand.

The triumph of capitalism is here…

Stalin photos 022MBAs, please don’t be offended; this is what that pile used to look like.

A full article and this image from wikipedia can be found here.

From 1955 to 1962, a 150+ foot statue of the sociopathic Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dominated the views of Prague. At the time the largest statue in Europe – whose architect committed suicide the day before its unveiling – it was an embarrassment to the Czechoslovak government soon after its unveiling.  In 1956, Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushchev, denounced Stalin’s tactics, and the Soviet Union tried to distance itself from one of its founding fathers. So that great oppressive symbol of “Papa Stalin,” the extremely interested patriarch of the U.S.S.R. and its satellites, loomed over Prague long after the Soviet Union had said, “Uh… eh, not so much.”

In 1962, the granite statue was blown up with 800kg (1760 pounds) of explosive, leaving only the concrete and stone base. In 1991, the city installed a large metronome on the crest of the pedestal; it slowly arcs back and forth to this day.  Skateboarders grind lines and practice tricks with one of the best views of the city as a backdrop: “Tailslide to 180 Kickflip to view of Our Lady of Tyn – nailed it.”

But the above picture, dear readers, reveals some of the rubble of that explosion piled underneath the pedestal – a big, big pile more eloquent than most history books.

But my statement, “The triumph of capitalism,” isn’t only a heap of dictator.  More importantly, it’s this:Stalin photos 035It’s a pub – no frills, no extreme commodification of real estate, just a simple place to grab a beer.  It’s run by a bar in Prague.  The prices are written on a piece of plywood.  Simple.  Stalin would hate it because he wouldn’t be controlling it.  Megabrand capitalism can hate it because it doesn’t sell a big beer for too much money.  It’s making cash for some people by being accessible to most people – a success.