How to Swindle a Westerner: A Short Guidebook

The post is based on this discussion.

Rule #1. Ask a Westerner where s/he is from. When s/he answers, exclaim, “Canada / Scotland / Spain / Texas / Germany / Quebec, etc.! By the way, it used to be a dream of mine to emigrate to your beautiful country. But then I decided to stay home and try to make it as wonderful as Canada / Scotland / Spain / Texas / Germany / Quebec, etc.”

Rule #2. Figure out what the Westerner’s political leanings are and say either,

a) “I’m a neo-Marxist with Anarcho-Syndicalist sympathies, and by the way, can I borrow your copy of The Parallax View just for a second? I’m going to quote it tomorrow at the meeting of my cooperative of queer feminists.”


b) “I’m a believer in free markets because this is what our Lord Jesus Christ mandated, and by the way, I stayed up reading Ayn Rand all night long to inspire me to do the best at the five full-time jobs I’m working today.”

Rule #3. Tell all your buddies that there is a gullible Westerner with a loose pocketbook in the vicinity.

Geographers Get Weirder

Yesterday’s geography student sent me another e-mail. In it, he refers to me as “a gal.” Like in “I can see you are a Tuesday/Thursday gal” (meaning that I teach on these days.)

I find this completely inappropriate. Unless this student is 90, something is wrong here.

I’m Fixated on This House

I have a tendency to fixate on something and then not being able to move on. So in order to exorcise the ghost of this house that I’ve been staring at for two weeks, I will post the pictures here. Tell me what you think.

It’s a slideshow, so keep clicking or give it a moment to move through the pictures.

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Good News From Ukraine

Ukraine’s corrupt and Putin-loving President Yanukovich finally announced his resignation. He also initiated a return to the 2004 Constitution which limited presidential power. The Constitution that was being used more recently is modeled after the Russian one, in the sense that it grants the president vast and almost unchecked powers. Historically, the Russian people are used to having an absolute monarchy. Ukrainians, however, had a functioning democracy back in the XVIIth century, so a president who has dictatorial powers bothers them.

This is important because the fall of this corrupt president was one of the main goals of Ukraine’s protesters. However, the goal of re-electing the parliament has not been reached yet.

Compared to the Russian White Ribbon protests in 2011-12, the Indignados movement in Spain, and Occupy Wall Street, Ukrainians actually achieved something. And this is a big deal.

However, what Ukrainians achieved – and once again, it’s more than all other Western protesters did – is quite limited. There isn’t really anybody vastly better than Yanukovich to run for president. The country is still located between the authoritarian Russia and the exploitative EU. People now won’t be killed in the streets, which is obviously great. But all of the larger issues remain.