For My Russian-Speaking Readers

I want to share something funny here with my Russian-speaking readers. Nobody else will understand why when N. and I saw this “US #1 extra fancy botan” at the supermarket today, we almost keeled over in a simultaneous fit of hysterical laughter.

13 thoughts on “For My Russian-Speaking Readers”

    1. “Botan” means a “nerd” in Russian slang. It comes from the word “botanist.” With all due respect to all botanists present, a botanist is imagined like this inoffensive, funny, nerdy person. πŸ™‚


  1. Botan means nerd in Russian? Oh…. the conflicted reception of the Enlightenment in Russia must have something to do with that. Right?


    1. The word appeared much later, as far as I know and has more to do with the anti-intellectuals campaigns of the 1960ies and 1970ies. People who wore glasses, for example, were ridiculed in the public discourse. This is logical since Lenin himself referred to the intellectuals as “the shit of the nation.”


      1. Kind of. An affinity for chess is considered really nerdy in my neck of the plains, though probably a deep interest in Japanese cartoon shows would be about the signifier par excellence of terminal dorkness.


          1. That is just terrific. πŸ™‚

            I have kind of a similar story about a woman I knew in college. This friend of mine, who lived with me in a co-op, was very into video games. Especially fighting games. Especially a fighting game called Soul Caliber. Every weekend she would go down to the local arcade (we still had those in the day) and drop a few dozen quarters kicking the asses of strangers and housemates, including myself. She was so good she entered a Soul Caliber tournament at a major video game / comic book convention in Dallas. I wasn’t able to go along, but I heard when she got back how she placed high enough out of several hundred people, mostly guys, to win a trophy. She like many of the convention-goers was dressed as some character from the game, with in fact a rather skimpy girly costume. Guys would sidle up to her all like, “does this chick even know what she’s doing? I’m gonna trounce this know-nothing babe and then she’s gonna put out so impressed with my skillz awww yeah.” At which point she would proceed with a big smile to hand them back their own ass.


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