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.