Those Who Didn’t Break

The first to break were those who believed it would end soon. Then, those who believed that it would never end. The ones who survived were the ones who focused on what they were doing, with no expectation of what else might happen.

Viktor Frankl.


The course on Spanish political novel I’m taking as a student starts on Thursday. At this point, I’m taking it more as a psychological mechanism than anything else. I loved being a student, and it’s a sort of a harmless escapism to go back to the student persona and relive my youth, so to speak.

Curiously, the only thing I miss from being young is getting assigned reading lists. It’s simply not the same when you assign them to yourself.

I hope that the person teaching the course doesn’t figure out who I am because we are at different stages of our careers in our shared field, so to speak. Also, I was a student from hell, torturing every professor I ever met in a supercilious, obnoxious way. I’m hoping I can keep that part of my personality under control in this course.

And now I have to go do homework for the first day of class.

Ukraine Event

As promised, here is the link to our live YouTube event about Ukraine on Wednesday:

I’d be grateful if people left likes before the event because, for a technical reason I can’t fathom, that matters.

The event will concentrate on history, literature, and art. The point we are trying to make is that Ukraine is a lot more than the current war. This isn’t about the details of how Ukrainians are fighting but more about what they are fighting for. The time is 5 pm Central US time.

Yes, I will be speaking. For those who don’t know me, I am not the 70-year-old gentleman. I’m the lady who speaks before him.

Fiction Turned Life

Here’s a story from the chronicles of the Russian invasion. In one of conquered villages there was a woman called Lyuba. She lived with her disabled mom and took care of her. A Russian soldier raped Lyuba for a week. Then he told Lyuba he loves her and offered to send her to Russia to save her from the war. Lyuba refused. The Russian soldier got upset and shot Lyuba’s disabled mom.

This is shocking only if you haven’t followed the Russian cultural space for the past 30 years. The Russian soldier simply followed a plotline that inspired countless popular TV series and staged talk shows. The first one of them, as far as I remember, was the massively popular TV series “Охота на изюбря” (2005). In the series, a man brutally rapes a woman and then tells her he loves her and proposes. The woman is finicky at first but then realizes it’s true love, and they live happily ever after. This plot was repeated endlessly in books, TV series, etc.

I’m not excusing the rapist/murderer, of course. I’m simply explaining the thinking behind his belief that rape is romantic.

Somebody asked in the comments what I mean by Russian dysfunction. This is one example.


The Russian Google (called Yandex) has always been extremely censored. It shows only the results that are politically convenient to a ridiculous degree.

In what concerns the Bucha massacre, the censorship algorithm of the Russian Yandex unwittingly created a poignant contrast.

This is how Google reflects Bucha:

And this is how Yandex does:

In Russia, Bucha is still a pretty, peaceful village. Before Russians came.