Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

DC-Moscow Letters, Part 2


04 Mar

russianbear

The Transnational Bear

samplex

Originally published on March 4, 1998

Thanks Anni for clarifying. I admit I'd thought that you'd written me off as just another yahoo now that you had your information, but am now shamed by my impatience and your continued goodwill. Your commentary is much welcomed. Do continue to write when you have the chance. Translating Geffen? Bigtime stuff! So do you work in the TV industry fulltime, or are you a freelancer. I just finished reading a late 1970s biography on the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (who drank himself to death in 1952 at the ripe young but bloated age of 33). DT occasionally wrote for London TV & radio in his era, and your reference to your own connections in the business was sort of eerily coincidental.

You wrote:
No doubt that the situation we are having now in this country—political, economical, social—is hard to be called stable. And the news you get now and then from our newspapers, especially criminal colomns are frightening, though I would not say that we are unrecoverably pessimistic. People go on living, working, planning the future. I guess, that we are as a nation, despite our world-known Russian sadness wildly praised in the classical Russian literature, very induring and able to overcome the difficulties, which seem to be dreadful. This is our advantage (as it saves the nation to some extent) and disadvantage (as we tackle uor problems rather slow) at the same time.

Unfortunately, I have never been to your country and my knowledge of it is also very limited, limited mostly by our and your popular Press and some knowledge acquired at the university. But I was astonished to hear that racial problems are still rather serious in your country. I believed that in such a multinational country as yours these problems are in the past. Though I should say that with the collapse of the Soviet Union we also come across with misunderstandings between nationalities, but I do think they have a rather momentary political character than national.

I love America, despite her past and her present, but as a poet of eyes I must describe her in the battle fatigues she now wears. Hope is evaporating like so much vodka spilled on the highway to inclusion. Is racial and gender strife choking America with an ideology she desires but cannot implement to the satisfaction to all its major players? One suspects so, while these same players enrich themselves at the expense of those they claim to defend?
Aaah—the rich truths of the stereotype. In this country, no one likes to be identified as a people, a collective with observable and predictable traits, unless they are the ones crafting the accusations. To use stereotypes is to enrage even the daintiest wallflower to screams of high fever pitch in this socially polarized "politically-correct" post-modernist milleniumized American culture, however true the mirror. It is often said that today's Russia is stuck somewhere in mid-1950s America. As far as this country is concerned, depending on one's perspective, that is a good thing, or a very, very bad thing. Crime has skyrocketed here since then, at every level in my lifetime. I grew up in a small town in Georgia where we didn't even own a key to the front or backdoors of our houses. No one locked their cars, and usually left the keys in the ignition overnight. Not anymore, nowhere in America. We have become an anxious, deliberately greedy, envious country. No one is satisfied with anything, not themselves, not their job, not their commodities, not their elders, not their children, not their history, not their future, not anything! If Russia is modernizing quickly, then what is America now creating for herself? A bleak retro-desolation it seems, balkanized and segregated much like the American prisons, where truth is lost in the prowl for power inflating the obscenities of the intellectual starvation diet of a population crippled by irresponsibility. At every bend in the road of political minds enflamed on ego and self-justification with nary a nod to accountability, the signs point towards a desperate detour from the great promises of a pure and sanctified ideology just ahead. Don't misunderstand me, Anni. I love America, despite her past and her present, but as a poet of eyes I must describe her in the battle fatigues she now wears. Hope is evaporating like so much vodka spilled on the highway to inclusion. Is racial and gender strife choking America with an ideology she desires but cannot implement to the satisfaction to all its major players? One suspects so, while these same players enrich themselves at the expense of those they claim to defend?

Rights to privacy and the pursuit of happiness is one matter. Moral incompetence and social chaos is quite another. The law of the marketplace and the law of the jungle are one and the same, when there’s no difference between the concrete and the flux.
This strife is political and media-driven in nature. No one wants to do labor or account for their actions. The communist fear of decadence is indeed a very real phenomenon here. I have witnessed this general decay of motivation and despicable lack understanding of the true nature of men and woman in my own rather short lifetime. I am a rock-n-roll baby, born in 1955. I am certainly no advocate of oppression, the sort of ruthless unregenerative blind force oppression which nearly every culture known to mankind has to a degree indulged, but the founders of America's proud ideology (and their own imperialistic causes) would hardly recognize the bastard child ideologies perpetuated today in the name of freedom that are ripping at the social fabric like so many competing packs of clawing jackals with nothing on their mind but the sound of their own eagerness. Rights to privacy and the pursuit of happiness is one matter. Moral incompetence and social chaos is quite another. The law of the marketplace and the law of the jungle are one and the same, when there's no difference between the concrete and the flux.

You wrote:

Again, thank you very much for your letter and assistance. If you wish to buy some books or need something to get translated into English/Russian, I would love to be of any help.What particular titles of the authors you mentioned would you like to have?

Oh, I don't know. How about I pick books for which I already have an English version. Mmmm . . . lemme see. Oh yes. Dostoevsky's NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND. For now I will just mention that one. Are all these Russian language books in your collection ANNI, Russian authors, or do you have other western or oriental authors translated into your native tongue? If the latter is the case, perhaps that may present an interesting set of choices. Anyhow, lemme off my soapbox for now. And thanks again for your notes from Moscow. Until next time . . .

Best of all worlds,

Gabriel

DC-Moscow Letters


17 Feb

russianbear

Transcontinental Bear

samplex

Originally published on February 17, 1998

Anni,

Sorry about that last truncated line. Somehow in the typo editing process the line was chopped off, but is rather irrelevant at this time. Thanks for your offer to clue me in to your Muscovian mysteries. Over here I read about gangs of organized crime taking over the Russian economy which has improved little in recent years as the transition to capitalism is proving much more difficult than the populations are willing to tolerate. What is your opinion on this matter? Is my news source a distortion of the facts? Or is the typical conservatism of the old in desiring the status quo and the old ways while the radical youth and professional criminals embracing the chaos of change as part and parcel of their own power grab simply "expected in these transitional years" by the Russian people as a whole, however begrudingly or exuborantly, dependent upon one's own demographic?

Other than cross-cultural chitchat of a very superficial nature, my knowledge of Russian culture is decidedly very shallow, Anni. In my ignorance, or perhaps in my enthusiasm to wish peace and tolerance among the people of the world wherever conflict reigns among classes and races and political intent, I don't view the Russian people any different than any other European-derived culture. Here in America, the racial problems inherited from several hundred years of slavery, have divided the populations in political polarities quite unnatural and observedly bogus, exploited by unsavory types for reasons of treasure and treason, collective usurpation and individual flaw alike, but they exist and thrive nevertheless. It's very sad. Language is subverted in these politically-motivated causes, and while I would like to think this is simply an American or a class warfare phenomenon, something that ideology could cure, I know better. Human greed, envy, corruption and frailty; these are the culprits, and the clock keeps ticking away as mankind destroys itself, its homelands, and its authority to proclaim itself a truly rational creature.

Great literature sums it up for us. But false saviors devour us in our beds, in our workplaces, polluting our minds and enslaving our bodies. We are never satisfied but consistently look over our shoulders to exploit our neighbors in the name of love, and if that doesn't work, in the name of fear. There seems to be no peace. Our finest writers are either arrogant and ruthless or they are timid all-seeing inversions of the truths they discover. Thus, even literature is part of the problem with its hero-worship and cold formulas of perfection, yet those of us who have rejected all else, savor literature as the last vestiges of sanity in a world gone mad with desire and deadly with gratuitous delusions of rationality.

Oh silly me, why am I tottering on the brink of my own blather? Anni, thanks for writing. I am glad to have helped you perhaps sell your Russian language books. Now that I think about it, maybe I can buy a small collection from you. A Nabakov, a Tolstoy, a Dostoevsky, one other? That would be fun. Four books I would like to buy from you. Even though I don't read the language. You suggest a fair price. If I can afford the price, we then need to create a formula and map the logistics for transferring funds and books. Please think about this. Who knows what might develop? But do follow up on the Kamkins address. It is a very large warehouse, and is a true business opportunity for you. I am a very small unimportant Internet author, a lover of books, but of no great consequence to your business ambitions.

But I do look forward to your next reply. Best wishes,

Gabriel Thy
Creative Director
Graphic Solutions Ink Systems

Moscow Calling, Books From Russia


15 Feb

bookseller

International Bookseller

samplex

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 1998 16:24:14 +0300

Dear Gabriel, thank you very much for your assistance and the address which you have kindly found for me. In my turn, I would love to help you in case you have any questions connected with Russia. BTW, Sorry, but I did not understand the meaning of your last phrase. Thanks a lot, sincerely, Anni.

Anni,

Sorry about that last truncated line. Somehow in the typo editing process the line was chopped off, but is rather irrelevant at this time. Thanks for your offer to clue me in to your Muscovian mysteries. Over here I read about gangs of organized crime taking over the Russian economy which has improved little in recent years as the transition to capitalism is proving much more difficult than the populations are willing to tolerate. What is your opinion on this matter? Is my news source a distortion of the facts? Or is the typical conservatism of the old in desiring the status quo and the old ways while the radical young and professional criminals embracing the chaos of change as part and parcel of their own power grab simply "expected in these transitional years" by the Russian people as a whole, however begrudingly or exuborantly, dependent upon one's own demographic?

Now that I think about it, maybe I can buy a small collection from you. A Nabakov, a Tolstoy, a Dostoevsky, one other? That would be fun. Four books I would like to buy from you. Even though I don't read the language. You suggest a fair price. If I can afford the price, we then need to create a formula and map the logistics for transferring funds and books.
Other than cross-cultural chitchat of a very superficial nature, my knowledge of Russian culture is decidedly very shallow, Anni. In my ignorance, or perhaps in my enthusiasm to wish peace and tolerance among the people of the world wherever conflict reigns among classes and races and political intent, I don't view the Russian people any different than any other European-derived culture. Here in America, the racial problems inherited from several hundred years of slavery, have divided the populations in political polarities quite unnatural and observedly bogus, but they exist and thrive nevertheless. It's very sad. Language is subverted in these politically-motivated causes, and while I would like to think this is simply an American or a class warfare phenomenon, something that ideology could cure, I know better. Human greed, envy, corruption and frailty; these are the culprits, and the clock keeps ticking away as mankind destroys itself, its homelands, and its authority to proclaim itself a truly rational creature.

Great literature sums it up for us. But false saviors devour us in our beds, in our workplaces, polluting our minds and enslaving our bodies. We are never satisfied but consistently look over our shoulders to exploit our neighbors in the name of love, and if that doesn't work, in the name of fear. There seems to be no peace. Our finest writers are either arrogant and ruthless or they are timid all-seeing inversions of the truths they discover. Thus, even literature is part of the problem with its hero-worship and cold formulas of perfection, yet those of us who have rejected all else, savor literature as the last vestiges of sanity in a world gone mad with desire and deadly with gratuitous delusions of rationality.

Silly me, why am I tottering on the brink of my own blather? Anni, thanks for writing. I am glad to have helped you perhaps sell your Russian language books. Now that I think about it, maybe I can buy a small collection from you. A Nabakov, a Tolstoy, a Dostoevsky, one other? That would be fun. Four books I would like to buy from you. Even though I don't read the language. You suggest a fair price. If I can afford the price, we then need to create a formula and map the logistics for transferring funds and books. Please think about this. Who knows what might develop? But do follow up on the Kamkins address. It is a very large warehouse, and is a true business opportunity for you. I am a very small unimportant Internet author, a lover of books, but of no great consequence to your business ambitions.

But I do look forward to your next reply. Best wishes,

Gabriel Thy
Creative Director
Graphic Solutions Ink Systems

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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