The Pit

Berkeley canceled a talk by Dawkins (Schmawkins, Petrovkins, it doesn’t matter who) because of his “abusive speech on Twitter.” 

It’s shocking how fast Berkeley went from a stellar university that was respected all over the world to a place where nobody sees any problem with the argument that it’s not necessary to read a book once you’ve read a tweet. 
If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to see a link to an article describing the massive protest against this cloying and degrading talk of abusive tweets. 

This Is Too Easy

Hilarious! Now Fox News is shilling for Putin in the exact same words The NY Times, The Nation, and Co used to do it. They haven’t even tried to change the text of their propaganda handout a bit for a new audience. I’m sure the Kremlin has never dealt with a more accommodating mark than the US voters. They must be stunned at how easy it is. 

And hey, can you criticize them if you were eagerly consuming his very shit when your friends disseminated it?

Running Out of People

What Russians have shared with the Europeans for the past 150 years is the fear that their culture might die. In the recent decades, both Russia and Europe have connected this fear to the anxiety over running out of people. Russians were led to the idea of human scarcity that imperils the very existence of their culture because of their stably shrinking population. Europeans arrived at this idea as a result of the “graying population” trends. 

To what extent the worry over a shortage of people who will carry the shared culture forward is justified is absolutely irrelevant. Whatever people fear is real enough for them. And they will act in response to this fear, trying to conjure up more people.

For Russians, “more people” can be squeezed out of the [quite correct] idea that culture stems from language. They declare that whoever is a native speaker of Russian is Russian irrespective of where they live or whether they call themselves Russian. The next step in this line of reasoning is that national borders mean nothing, and the Russian jurisdiction should reach wherever real Russians live. 

For Europeans, the idea of “us” doesn’t come from shared language or shared blood. It comes from the concept of soil. This is why there is all the drama around who gets to plant a foot on European soil. That’s why African migrants hang from the barbed fences in Ceuta and Melilla, hoping to touch European ground at least with the tip of their toes and become European the moment that happens. Civil Guards treat them like dogs, like animals, until migrants touch the “European” soil of African Melilla and become Europeans who suddenly deserve due process, rights, and public assistance. 

It’s a very magical concept of soil that is hard for me to comprehend because it’s very alien to me. I have no idea how culture is supposed to be transmitted through the soil. For me, culture is, first and foremost, language. But that’s probably because I’m a Russian-speaker.

Friday Link Encyclopedia 

I have OCD and I say fuck you, you dumb freak to the idiot in this article

new beer is being denounced as sexist. God, I hate this type of shit. 

The ugliest parenting post ever. And there’s a lot to choose from in this category. 

storage pod for husbands

A blogger denounces hatred and gives a great example of tolerance by ranting against “inbred bucktooth foul mouth cretins in Deep South states.” Oh, the beauty of tolerance and brotherly love!

Why Americans love apocalyptic narratives. Good but not deep enough. 

An example of how brain-damaged libertarians are. Unless it’s another parody that I’m taking too seriously. 

Even good, intelligent people are unraveling and start babbling incoherently as a result of Trumpmania. And yes, it’s a mania not a phobia. They totally love him. 

That’s one sad little kid from a very weird family

Beach Observations

The teenagers at the poolside read paper books a lot, which makes me happy. Thick books with adult covers. I can’t understand the titles, unfortunately. 

It’s only girls who are reading, though. I haven’t seen a single boy with a book so far. And there are many, many teenage boys here. (It’s a family resort.)

Also, a huge and happy group of Argentineans with kids moved in. Talking about the joy of life, these folks are a pleasure to observe. They are so into whatever they are doing that it’s beyond cute. And the Daddies are so into spending time with the kids that it’s really great. Whenever the Argentineans hear me teach Klara how to pronounce my name, they think we are greeting them in Spanish. 

Dolphins often swim close to the beach and jump up in the air. What I don’t get is the people who immediately grab their phones to snap photos. There are thousands of beautiful, professional photos of dolphins online. What’s the point of trying to add a few more?