Russian Business

And you say that Russian people are bad at business. Here is one who even manage to peddle her hugely expensive Tarot readings on what is supposed to be a feminist website. The readings are done through email which reminded me of the following Russian joke:

“Thank you for recommending me this great massage therapist! In exchange, I can recommend my priest. He is so fantastic! He takes confession by fax.”

Of course, here in North America, you can get a personal Tarot reading for $20 (I have a friend who is a huge fan, so I’m very aware of the prices), which is much cheaper than the online Russian reading. But the American Tarot specialists are not smart enough to dupe silly American pseudo-feminists into letting them peddle their services on their feminist websites.

Remember, folks, if you are planning to have any business dealings with Russian-speakers, you need to know that you will not win. My people are way too tough for you. They are too tough for me, too, which is why I emigrated in the first place.

Seriously, people, what’s with this trend towards drowning everything in triviality? The Montreal protests dissolve in a clownish display of stupidity, feminists advertise card tricks, and my students believe that slavery is bad because it caused the slaves to have low self-esteem. Does anybody take anything seriously any more?

25 thoughts on “Russian Business

    1. The capitalism in FSU countries is still in its wild state, so the entrepreneurs do things in bad taste often enough. In Lviv specifically, there is a whole bunch of this kind of unconventional restaurants and this one is not even the most disturbing. People of FSU countries have suddenly found themselves with money on their hands and are behaving weirdly in their search of costly enjoyment. We really can’t expect sophistication from them just yet.


      1. Thanks for the explanation! I wonder if there are other stages where sophistication and sensitivity take a downturn in capitalist economies. The reason I speculate this is because ever since the economy took a nosedive in the U.S, I’ve been seeing a proliferation of businesses which delight in having crude premises, like “Breastaurants” or the “Round Eye” Noodle Place run by two white men. Does that seem plausible, or is there something else at play, such as a proliferation of many young entrepreneurs with a sense of hipster-style delight in “ironic” offence?


        1. Hah! that’s an interesting question. I don;t know if I can find an answer right now. All I can say is that in the FSU countries we have borrowed the worst parts of capitalism. I hope it is temporary.

          The “Breastaurants” are, indeed, a weird creation.


  1. “my students believe that slavery is bad because it caused the slaves to have low self-esteem.”

    Considering the current generation has been raised to believe that low self esteem is THE! WORST! POSSIBLE! THING! I really am not surprised by this


        1. I didn’t see the bad comment but my breaking point came when this snakeoil peddler started saying that this is a feminist issue because clients from other websites somehow harass her sexually. You’ve got to have the nerve, seriously.


          1. I guess I should also start using feminist blogs to get dates, because sometimes when I try to get dates online or in real life, I get sexually harassed.


      1. Another left the following bad comment:
        This. I was pretty taken aback by Clarissa’s post. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve written angry things about my own country of origin, but that seemed rather over the line and personal. Whatever she thinks of tarot (and my own jury’s out on its benefits, I don’t have much exposure to it), it seemed a little weird to get that angry and immediately make it about….Russians.


        1. This person simply hasn’t seen what my writing looks like when I’m angry. 🙂 Here I was mildly entertained that’s all.

          What can I do if I know how people from my own culture operate?


      2. I didn’t see any suggestions that feminists *should* be into this kind of stuff, just the assumptions that some feminists might be into this kind of stuff, which you know, is perfectly all right. I find icky, if not downright shaming, your suggestion that they *shouldn’t* be. Since when does someone’s wish to pay for a tarot reading need your seal of approval? Natalia Antonova has made a handful very interesting contributions to Feministe over the last two years or so. I don’t think there’s any reason to imply that she’s landed there looking for ways to con people, like the Russian (she’s actually Ukrainian) tricksteress that she is. Other guest bloggers have advertised for stuff they do at Feministe. Yes, tarot is a bit on the silly side but there’s nothing harmful about it.


        1. “Since when does someone’s wish to pay for a tarot reading need your seal of approval”

          – And when does my right to express my opinion about smart Ukrainian business women duping silly American marks need your seal of approval?

          ” I don’t think there’s any reason to imply that she’s landed there looking for ways to con people”

          – And charging money for online Tarot readings is not a con?

          “Yes, tarot is a bit on the silly side but there’s nothing harmful about it.”

          – You probably don’t have any relatives or friends who have been conned out of everything they have by these con artists. I have seen people hand over their family heirlooms and the last dime in their pocket to them. So you will excuse me for being surprised that a progressive resource helps yet another con artist dupe women. For many people, Feministe is, indeed, a seal of approval. And I believe it is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly.


          1. I get your concern about con artists but what you’re displaying here is simply bad faith. This person is not some random fortuneteller who emerged out of interwebs mist. She’s a well established feminist journalist, she’s using her real name, she’s made no attempt to conceal anything, you can bother to look her up before jumping to conclusions
            – Meropi


            1. ” She’s a well established feminist journalist”

              – Don’t make me laugh.

              “she’s made no attempt to conceal anything”

              – How on earth can you know that?

              ” you can bother to look her up before jumping to conclusions”

              – I don’t need to look anything up to feel surprised that at a feminist blog a post appears saying “send me $100 for an online magic potion.” Of course, the blog owner has the right to let anybody whatsoever advertise their services on her blog. But I have the right to express my surprise at what kind of services are being peddled.

              I have to ask, is there a reason why you are so invested in this story? I’m invested because a) somebody close to me has suffered from these tarot card readers and b) as a Ukrainian living in North America, I get stereotyped as a crook all the time. And I can’t complain because whenever you turn there really is a Russian speaker making sure that the stereotype persists. This is a grudge I hold against my community and this person has played into it. Obviously, I’m annoyed. Why do you care?


              1. I think there’s sufficient proof out there that stereotyping, sexist, racist, xenophobic prejudices will continue even in the absence of factors that feed them. I think it’s very harmful to try to combat stereotyping by targeting the community at the receiving end. And for the record, as a Romanian I am quite well acquainted with how hurtful stereotyping can be when dealing with it personally. But I won’t lash out against other Romanians’ actions for making me look bad. I will lash out against other Romanians’ actions for being bad. And while certain actions can only fuel bigotry, the main problem that should be addressed is the existent bigotry. There should be no excusing it and this reverse approach always serves to downplay it, in my experience.
                I was irritated by your ‘icky suggestion’ remark and that’s what prompted me to comment. I read it and felt it was extremely judgmental, policing what a ‘serious feminist’ should or should not be interested in. I am sensitive to that and how quick people are in judging women’s choices. Rereading, I realize you were referring to the implications of advertising tarot in a feminist space as icky for bleeding into the woo=women’s stuff narrative and not actually calling feminists who happen to like this sort of mumbo-jumbo icky. If that is the case, I apologize for jumping head-on like that. And I admit that in part, my defence of the ad on Feministe was based on a personal interest in the subject, coupled with my sympathy for the poster, whose writing I happen to like. I see myself spending a moderate sum on tarot (if I actually had money to spend) for a bit of silly fun, but I realize how that many people willing to spend large sums on this kind of services are usually not the ones who think of it as silly fun and sometimes don’t really have that money to spend to begin with. So yes, they are extremely vulnerable and it is obvious why this kind of practice has such a bad reputation.
                I hope I managed to make myself clearer here.
                – Meropi


  2. Just about every serious discussion degenerates into a mystical one. For instance, some woman Mike and I know on Facebook posted that she’d recently had an “epiphany” about the influence of a social aspect in human affairs. Sure, there is a social aspect. Just the fact that gender relations are somewhat different all over the world is indicative of a social aspect. The woman who posted originally likes to view herself as very scientific and hard headed, despite being prone to insights that disappear a day or two later, and getting very concerned about conspiracy theories. After about forty follow up posts, the topic on that thread turned to the idea that there was a Christ element in physics.

    I’d like to add here that although some of my own theoretical paradigm employs some terms that may be considered highly mystical or what have you, the trajectory of my paradigm takes you from emotion toward detachment or logic. If you spend much time following my ideas and practicing them, you will become virtually completely detached from humanity, and capable of seeing it only from afar.


    1. “Just about every serious discussion degenerates into a mystical one. ”

      – I know! There were several volunteers on that website willing to pay good money for online Tarot reading to a person who touched their bleeding hearts with some cokamamie story of being victimized by a picture of a penis asking for a Tarot reading. I kid you not, that seems to be the story. People are so facile. You put on a cloak of the identity label they like on you, and they will do anything for you.

      So sad.


  3. I don’t know much about it, but I’ve heard there are pretty big cultural differences between the United States and Russia when it comes to acceptance of certain non-scientific modalities, and that they are taken much more seriously in the former USSR.

    Is it true?

    Also, a good comment:
    A licensed medical professional is bound by law to keep your information confidential, with few exceptions. Anyone else who claims to offer you advice or help with a situation can do really unpleasant things with that information, and may even be liable to answer for their advice in a court of law.


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