Russians Are So Different

A Russian-speaking blogger in California has pointed me in the direction of this hilarious textbook about the differences between the Russians and the Americans. Folks, this was so funny that I forgot my midpoint tenure review, set aside my valiant struggle with my Canadian bank, and laughed so hard I almost peed myself.

Here are some quotes from the book:

“If you want to say ‘OK,’ don’t make a circle with your thumb and first finger,” the woman began. ” That means OK here in the United States, but in Russia it’s an obscene gesture.”

Erm. . . No, it isn’t. If anybody wants an obscene Russian gesture, I can show you one. But the OK gesture is not offensive. It is understood by everybody and used by many in Russian-speaking countries.

 “It’s all right to admire something,” the woman continued, ” but don’t be too enthusiastic. Don’t say, ‘I really like your tablecloth. Your Russian friend will offer you the tablecloth and will be offended if you don’t take it. “

The funny thing is that the Russians have the same myth about the people from Transcaucasia. In all probability, Transcaucasians tell this legend of Americans. Thus, the legend comes a full circle.

The Russians knew that Americans were fond of pets, but they were shocked to see pets inside homes. They couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw dogs eating in the kitchen and sleeping on people’s beds.

Huh? And where exactly do Russians keep their pets, I wonder? Pet lovers are the same everywhere, and the Russian ones are no exception.

Remember that, in general, life in Russia is not as comfortable as life in the United States. You might not have hot running water, or you might have to share a bathroom with five or six people.”

Yes, those five or six people are called your family members. When I was growing up, I had to share my bathroom with 3 other people, imagine that. Life was so uncomfortable. Americans, however, all have one bathroom per each family member. Or two bathrooms per one person.

A Russia woman gasped when she saw an American pour rice directly from a box into a pan of boiling water. ” You didn’t wash the rice?” she asked. She explained that at home she had to wash the rice carefully and pick out all the stones.

The idiot who wrote the text doesn’t even realize that, in all probability, the box of rice the Russian woman in question uses has the words “Uncle Ben’s Rice” written on it. A huge percentage of food consumed in Russia is imported from North America.

 In Russia, the evening meal often lasts an hour or two because families sit at the table and talk. When American families eat together – if they eat together – they often eat quickly and don’t take time for long conversations.

This is too ridiculous for comment. Some people eat together, some eat separately. Some talk, some are silent. There is nothing even remotely culture-specific about this.

The textbook reminded me of that time when my colleagues asked me to wear the kind of clothes we wear in my country for a campus event. It took a while to explain that what I wear to work every day is exactly the same as what I would wear to work back in my country.

The Cold War mythology need not be preserved in the world of global communications, people. Nowadays, we don’t have to guess. We can actually know.


We are at 21 degrees Celsius right now. This is 70F, people. Is this supposed to be the Midwest or the flapping tropics, huh? 21C on January 6th! That is not normal. I just took a walk wearing a short-sleeved blouse and came back home sweating and in need of a shower.

Here is my tab that shows what the weather is right now:


I want this to stop! Where is snow? Snooooooow!!!

One-Sided Pleasure

My blogroll is populated with weird posts today. What is it, winter avitaminosis? See this one, for instance:

I’m willing to bet more women have felt guilted or pressured into sex acts they didn’t want, than men have felt pressured into pleasuring women without getting off themselves.

Of course, this blogger is willing to bet since this kind of statement can neither be proven or disproven. Remember, folks, when you say such things, you reveal nothing about society or gender relations. You do, however, reveal a lot about your own pathetic sex lives. Either have the honesty and the courage to write about your own experiences, or keep these useless generalizations to yourselves.

See more from the same post:

We’re still socialized to accept, to say yes, to not rock the boat so as to avoid the perennial sulking, scowling and cold shoulder from male partners that result from our setting boundaries.

Why not just say, “My male partners tend to sulk and scowl, and I have no idea how to deal with it”?

Also, why resort to this weird generalization about some mythical “we” who are socialized into accepting any form of sexual activity that men propose? Does anybody really have the experience of Mommy and Daddy lecturing her at the age of 5 (15, 25), “Sweetie, when you grow up and your boyfriend wants anal sex, oral sex, group sex, BDSM, golden shower, or any form of sex you don’t feel like engaging in, remember that, as a woman, you need to accept it to prevent the guy from sulking. Remember, honey, just say yes to any male suggestion of sex, OK?”

Can you imagine a patriarch telling his teenage daughter, “You have refused to engage in acts of coprophilia that your boyfriend suggested? How could you? Didn’t I spend my entire life teaching you to just say yes? You are no daughter of mine!”

Seriously? Women are socialized to ACCEPT sex? Where does that happen? I live in a society where young women get are endless exhortations to wait, to say no for as long as possible, only to have sex when they are absolutely, completely, totally sure that it’s time. Female sexuality is discussed in terms of a precious gift, while male sexuality is not.

When we say “no”, we are “uncool”, and this is the ultimate female sin; whereas when a man refuses a woman, the universal assumption is that once again, the woman is the one who is deficient, who fails to please, who isn’t up to snuff.

This is just too bizarre. One of the central patriarchal myths is that a healthy male sexuality is capable of performing anytime, anywhere, with any one, while female sexuality is selective and delicate. A man who refuses sex will, in all probability, be branded as impotent and ridiculed by his own buddies. In the meanwhile, a woman who does not refuse sex will be branded as a slut by hers.

As an extra bonus, I suggest that those valiant people who manage to wade through the confusing post I quoted here count the number of instances where the passive voice is used and “society” is invoked. And we all know what that kind of writing means, don’t we?

Do Academics Defend Pedophiles?

We, the academics, are a source of all ills. Whenever anything goes wrong in our society, blame those commie pinko hippie feminist postmodern Baudrillard-reading Kristeva-quoting frappuccino-chugging enemies of humanity.

Not only do we pollute the minds of our impressionable adult students, we also pervert little kids. How do we manage to do this if there are no little kids on campuses? By spreading vicious pedophilic propaganda through our research, of course. Don’t you know that “research” is a horribly dangerous thing that undermines the things our society holds most sacred? Aren’t these vile academics the same people who brought us this completely invented evolution theory? And after you defend evolution, the next step is logically to promote pedophilia.

Anne Hendershott heard that some academic somewhere said (we don’t even know in which context) that “childhood innocence” is a fantasy. Another academic uttered a very boring platitude that “a child of seven may have built an elaborate set of sexual understandings and codes which would baffle many adults.” Hendershott must be the only person in the world unaware of the well-known fact that children of seven are hypersexual and that this biological reality in no way excuses pedophiles. She immediately fired off an angry article about horrible academics plotting to pervert little kids.

The article is, of course, just standard academia-bashing. We all know how much I detest pedophiles. Still, one could easily pluck some quotes out of my own doctoral dissertation to make me look like a huge pedophile. I also discuss in my classes that childhood is a socially constructed phenomenon of very recent origins. Academics study a variety of subjects that tend to shock when recounted in the language of a tabloid. However, the idea that academics infiltrate the university presses to spread their propaganda in books that maybe 20 people will get to read (and that’s wildly optimistic) is kind of silly. The greatest propaganda of pedophilia is how famous actors kiss Polanski’s ass in public.

Hendershott isn’t interested in that at all, though. An attentive reader will soon realize that pedophiles are not the greatest aim of her rage. The article is filed under the tags “homosexuality, pedophilia.” In the middle of the article we see the following advertisement:

Given that most instances of child abuse are perpetrated within a child’s own family, this exhortation tells us that Hendershott doesn’t give a rat’s ass about abused children. She simply wants to attack the two groups she hates the most: academics and gays. Then, of course, there are gay academics, which is a reality that, I’m sure, Hendershott finds very traumatic. She cannot confess that because in the academic environment homophobia makes you a pariah. This is why she masks her hatred of gays behind a completely spurious concern about non-existing movement of academic defenders of pedophilia.

I will now let you guess who is to blame, according to the very stupid, nasty, homophobic Hendershott, for the (again, completely spurious) tolerance for women who pervert little girls? Right you are, feminists!

I have to ask, why does King’s College in New York employ this vicious freakazoid?

Am I A Writer?

Báyron of the great Ethecofem blog asks:

Wait a minute, does this mean I count as a writer if I keep a blog?

If you are asking yourself the same question, here is what you need to consider:

– Do you write?

– Do you spend a significant portion of your time writing?

– Do you have readers?

– Are you a reader?

– Is writing an important part of your identity?

If the answer is yes, then you are a writer. And the reason why you have trouble seeing yourself as a writer might be that you have an erroneous image of what a writer is like. (See here and here for more on this subject).