Cultural Differences

There is an interesting discussion taking place at Jonathan’s blog:

Most child abuse is not by the hand of priests. Yet we are more outraged by their abuse than by almost any other set of child abusers. Why is that? The church is supposed to be better than that. So outrage at those scandals is actually a back-handed form of respect: we respect those institutions implicitly, police or church, and hold them to a much higher standard.

I was really surprised by this statement because I never felt this way and assumed nobody else did either. Here was my response:

This really depends on who the “we” are. I’m definitely not one of the “we” because I don’t come from a strong religious tradition. Since I don’t come from the school of thought that expects anything better or anything just even remotely positive from priests, I’m not more outraged by child abuse by priests. I’m a lot more outraged by parental child abuse.

How USSR Deprived Its People of Fanzines

I just read a very funny article by one Sergey Kuznetsov titled “When Russians thought the Internet would make them free.” Of course, it’s cute to see how Russians still can’t get over the idea that somebody or something other than themselves holds the keys to their jail cell. Centuries pass, and they still sit there, waiting for their good tsar. Mr. Kuznetsov probably sees a difference between waiting to be delivered from one’s misery by Putin and waiting to be delivered from said misery by the Internet but, in reality, the difference is slim.

Kuznetsov’s article starts in a cryptic way:

For the majority of young men, imagining a Soviet closed society is as hard as it is to imagine the world without miniskirts, contraception, and X-rated video.

The only thing this can mean is that, for some mysterious reason, it must be much easier for young women to imagine life without miniskirts and contraception. There is no explanation for this startling conclusion. The author just rambles off towards a different topic and begins describing the sad horrors of Soviet reality:

We had Samizdat – the underground circulation of typewritten books – but mostly it was anti-Soviet prose and poetry or – rarely – poorly-translated pornography. We had no fanzine system or means for sharing independent information about movies, books, music etc.

Yes, this was definitely the worst thing about the Soviet system: porn was not written in a beautiful language and there were no fanzines. Poor Soviets, just imagine them, sighing over aesthetically displeasing porn with not a fanzine in sight! In the meanwhile, their lucky Western peers were busily consulting fanzines to swap the reviews of their favorite works of pornography all day long!

What follows is a long lament about the unfairness of the world that hasn’t given Russians a free Internet. This is the main complaint of the Russian people throughout the ages: they haven’t been given enough by mysterious unnamed forces.


Did you know there is an app that puts you in touch with random strangers who want to cuddle?

I’m very glad I’m not on the dating market any longer because if I were and people started revealing that they’d used such a service, I would be too creeped out to consider seeing them again. This is similar to how I feel about people who have used the services of sex workers. Not that the activities are similar but they betray a mentality that is so alien to mine that I wouldn’t be able to be around them.

Unethical Philosophers

Philosophy is a booming field, so philosophers don’t need to worry about the job market. As a result, they are entertaining themselves with public unravelings. The most recent scandal in philosophy has to do with a professor who posted a statement of principles on her blog and a colleague who took her post personally. He wrote an email to her that she made public.

I’m used to academics behaving in weird ways in public and not caring about the consequences because, hey, they’ve got tenure, their field is doing great, so who cares what the consequences are for everybody else? But I find it beyond strange that philosophers would be so oblivious to the concept of ethics that they would publish personal emails online. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that they also snoop through their children’s pockets, spouses’ email accounts, and colleagues’ briefcases.

At this time in my life, I’ve pretty much had it with academics who get upset over nothing and start freaking out publicly and obnoxiously without any care as to whom and what they damage. 

Gone Girl: The Movie

Who’s going to see the Gone Girl movie on Friday?

I’m definitely going because the book it is based on represents an extremely important pop culture phenomenon that nobody (but me) is noticing.

You probably don’t know this (because you are an intellectual and way above such things) but Gone Girl is a megabestseller. It’s poorly written, it’s badly plotted, it’s clumsy in every single way.

Still. After decades of Bridget Jones, Sex and the City, Friends, Gilmore Girls, etc, the enormous commercial success of this book demonstrates that women have finally had it with reading about and watching these crowds of pathetic women who fixate on a pair of pants and worship at its altar.

Gone Girl offers a tiny little rebellion – and it is even successful to some minuscule degree – against this life scenario. This is a book of female rage, and that alone makes it an interesting phenomenon.

I’m also very curious how Hollywood will deal with the book’s lack of happy ending.

Burying Lenin

Finally, the monument to Lenin in my native city of Kharkiv has been toppled. This was the biggest Lenin statue in Ukraine.

And it only took 23 years.

Russians, in the meanwhile, can’t let the corpse of poor Lenin escape from the necrophiliac exercises they have been subjecting it to for 90 years. Contrary to Lenin’s wishes, he hasn’t been buried next to his mother. The guy hasn’t been buried anywhere because the Russians just can’t let him go. Whenever anybody mentions the need to just bury poor Lenin already, half of Russia goes batshit crazy protesting against the hugely shocking idea that torturing the corpses of people who have been dead for almost a century might be a weird collective pastime.

Therapeutic Value of Forgiveness

Is the same as that of tomato juice. If one happens to forgive one’s abuser(s) in the course of therapy, that’s fine. If not, that’s also fine.

However, trying to make oneself forgive is extremely damaging. Mandatory forgiveness reinforces original trauma. Any therapist who promotes the idea that “you have to forgive in order to move on” is definitely a quack and possibly a religious fanatic.