SMOLENSK, RUSSIA – Former Communist nations, struggling for footing in a capitalist infrastructure, are finding a niche market manufacturing home entertainment.
Working in a warehouse covering 24 acres, which was once a site for manufacturing armored tanks, Byelorussian workers now painstakingly make CDs and DVDs of popular Hollywood fare.
“Each CD or DVD is hand cut, not simply mass produced as traditional capitalists might. In this way, we are still able to glorify the worker and also utilize the brute force production methods developed during the Cold War.”
Ilyov Pushkin, Director of the new Ministry of Digital Entertainment, gave LL-N editors a tour of the large-scale facility.
Thousands of workers put in 14 hour days, staring into huge magnifying screens, to painstakingly cut copies of CDs like Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx” and DVDs like “Cheaper by the Dozen” at a rate of one disc every two and a-half weeks.
“Ah yes, your Steve Martin, he never lets us down in the yuks department,” smirked Ilyov. “The market is huge and we are churning out dozens of copies a day. And spoilage has dropped below 60%.”
“Eventually, we expect the sales of family fare to exceed our unauthorized reproduction of American pornography. On that great day, there will be a second helping of stew for all.”
Mr. Pushkin, with great pride, also showed the new “Npekpathrcr” prototype – his Ministry’s cast-iron, steam-driven version of the iPod.
“Is it not glorious? It is, of course, too bulky to be a ‘comer’ on the international market. But we have trimmed its weight to 1,500 kg and increased its memory to 128 kilobytes. The Npekpathrcr can still only hold two songs in the MP3 format, but a new diesel-powered version weighs under 400 kg and will operate for many days before seizing.”
Although it was hard to make out the music over an ear-piercing shriek from its boiler and the whine of it’s tallow-greased belts, what LL-N heard sounded very promising.
“This is the new revolution, my U.S. friends. We have a wood-burning Nokia cellphone clone that we think will make a big splash. It neatly fits into a large closet, and when you’re out of wood – you simply hook it up to the oxen drive.”
With untapped reserves of steel, coal, labor, and a lax attitude towards radioactivity – don’t blink. The Russians may be coming sooner than you think.