Here’s my prediction for what’s going to happen.
One day Putin will croak or disappear or be removed. Some new Putin will be put in place. Russia will announce its dedication to building democracy and will condemn war. The West will remove sanctions and happily move on. Russia will re-militarize, regroup, and start a new war.
Whether in that cycle or the one after, Russia will use nuclear weapons. I’m hoping that by that time there will be Western leadership that won’t be terrified of doing what’s necessary. Which is ensuring that a country called “Russia” no longer exists. Not in any genocidal way, God forbid, but simply in the sense of creating several healthy nations where there’s now one gigantic, diseased failed attempt at a country.
We can avoid all this right now by pressuring our politicians to not remove sanctions no matter how many times the next Putin repeats “democracy, freedom and elections.” Otherwise, there’s absolutely no chance Russia won’t use nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future.
And the funny thing is, these Russian patriots don’t have any love for their own language. The author I’m translating uses the expression “под покровом ночи” completely seriously. It’s like saying “since the dawn of humanity” in English but worse. We are talking about a sarcastic, unsentimental language. You can’t do “под покровом ночи” and “запечатлел поцелуй на ее устах” unironically.
Think about really bad clichés in English. This author uses every one she can think of in Russian.
Ah, here we go. Paragraph two of my translation. A graphic description of a Ukrainian child being raped by a Russian soldier.
The novel was written before February 24. The author is a middle-aged, very educated Russian woman. And what does she choose to do in her free time? Fantasize about Russian soldiers raping Ukrainian children, of course. What makes the story particularly cute is that the word “Ukrainian” is never mentioned. It’s obvious from geographic names where the action takes place but the existence of Ukrainians is too traumatic for the Russian writer to mention even in passing.
I started this translation ten minutes ago, and there’s already all this. Putin, schmutin. This woman doesn’t live in Putin’s Russia. She lives in Montreal. There’s something badly wrong with these people completely independent of Putin.
One of my father’s obligations I’ve taken over is translating a novel from Russian into English. He translated about two thirds, and now I get to finish it. The author is a Russian woman, so obviously, the novel is about the glorious Russian troops. It’s set during World War I, and the very first paragraph I have to translate is about Russian troops murdering civilians and raping women in Western Ukraine. The soldiers are portrayed as poor miserable victims, driven to this behavior by bad leadership. Because that’s how it always works in Russia.
This is pretty much the last thing I want to be translating right now but duty calls. I’ll also be translating poetry because there are poems in this novel.
I have no dog in the gun control fight but I do dislike specious, fake arguments. “Why not ban just the AR-15?” is such an argument. Nobody can possibly take it seriously since it comes from the same people who said “it’s just gay marriage” but then put male rapists into female prisons.
The same people also said “two weeks to flatten the curve” and then locked us up for two years and trashed our standard of living.
I used to believe these liars. “It’s just referring to somebody with a name they chose, what’s the big deal?” Then, almost instantaneously, it turned into “let’s imprison parents who refuse to castrate their children.”
These are people who always pretend to be for some reasonable, moderate measure but the second you compromise with them, they go for the most outlandish, winner-takes-all feast of extreme radicalism.
The gun violence problem in the US is the problem of gangs. Anybody who forgets to mention gangs in a discussion of gun violence is a liar. And of course it’s the same liars who pretended that COVID is dangerous to children and Officer Sicknick was murdered with a trash can by Trump supporters. (Or five million other lies).
We have terrible gun violence in our Democrat-run city of St Louis. The last time a Republican was a mayor was in 1945. We also have terrible gun violence in Chicago. The last time Chicago had a Republican mayor was in 1931. The sky-high murder rate in these cities owes entirely to the gangs. Almost a century of uninterrupted Democrat rule of these cities created the conditions for the existence and dominance of these gangs.
Constantly, I see and hear devastating news about people of all ages, good, peaceful, innocent people, being gunned down here in St Louis. Or upstate in Chicago. We are expecting a very bloody Memorial Day, as usual. These victims are a direct result of the failed policies of the Democrats. What these cities need is somebody like Rudy Giuliani but we’ll never get one.
I feel very strongly on the subject of gun violence in St Louis and Chicago. And the indifference with which the BLMing anti-gunners react to it makes me sick.
We are doing care packages for the homeless at church, so I went to the Dollar Store to get a bunch of stuff. I’m mentioning this not in order to show off my charitable contributions but to explain why it took me 15 minutes to get checked out.
The cashier asked about my Ukrainian badge, I started to explain, and gradually the whole line and people at the next cash register joined in the conversation. Everybody is very supportive and well-informed. A woman started praying for Ukraine to be accepted in the NATO. I said that the NATO should be so lucky for Ukraine to accept it. People cheered. It was really good. God bless American people.
By the way, the situation at the front line got much better, so now I’m cured. I still can’t hear with the impacted ear but everything else magically improved overnight. My health, apparently, is in the hands of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
There was a UEFA Champions League game at the Stade de France in Paris yesterday. The game was delayed as the police massed attendees outside, turning them into sitting ducks for gangs of marauders. Police stood by indifferently as gangs of 20-30 young men assaulted attendees, stole their wallets and phones, and sexually molested young girls. Stade de France is located in Saint-Denis, which is a heavily immigrant area. Young men who might be second or third generation but still not remotely integrated form these gangs and terrorize anybody they come in touch with.
At the UEFA game, police pepper-sprayed the attendees who were trying to get away from the harassment by these gangs. But there was absolutely no reaction to anything that the marauders did in plain view.
This isn’t even being reported. All you see in the reports is that the game was delayed because the fans are somehow to blame. That the fans were assaulted and robbed en masse doesn’t get mentioned. That young girls were molested nobody cares about “in the age of #MeToo.” Chances are, if you know nobody who went to the game, you won’t even find out about this.
The problem with these roving gangs of hooligans in France has gotten worse over the past 15 years but the only thing that’s changed is that nobody even talks about it anymore. I remember reading an account by a Ukrainian traveler in France 15 years ago where a small group of young immigrant men harassed passengers on a train and nobody dared to make a peep except for the skinny female Ukrainian traveler. Everybody else seemed to think they deserved the mistreatment.
Being around people right now feels like being rubbed with sandpaper on all sides. Company – especially the kind that requires a lot of effort – is torture. But I had to take Klara to a backyard party at her new friend’s house. Everybody there was a complete stranger. These are lovely people but I’d rather pick cucumbers in a field all day (yes, I have that experience from the Soviet kolkhoz) than make small talk at this moment in my life.
In any case, though, Klara had an amazing time. I looked at her and the other kids and thought, these are the luckiest children in the history of the world. Swings, a trampoline, a slip-and-slide, sprinklers, baby deer walking around, hot dogs, apricots, cherries, and nobody yelled at them or tried to edit their behavior in any way all evening.
It’s funny how one can be in great discomfort yet simultaneously extremely happy for somebody else to the point that the discomfort no longer matters. I’m observing American childhood from the sidelines, and it’s a great experience.
We have lost the capacity to talk about economic despoilment, about social class, about precarity and exploitation.
All there is anymore is sex.
This is why the Left is so obsessed with sexual freedom. They can’t imagine any other kind of freedom any more. This is why there are five million completely invented sexual orientations that are loudly defended by people who rarely have any sex at all.
And this is why the QAnon imagines sexual exploitation instead of speaking of the very real economic depredations that are destroying the standard of living of both the QAnoners and of the gender-fluid polyamorous woke snowflakes.
What the QAnon wants to say is, “a small group of very rich people are refashioning the economy to ensure that our children have no economic opportunities.” But they don’t know how to say that because this language has been destroyed. So they say “the elites are raping our children and bathing in their blood.” The sentiment is absolutely right. But they confuse the metaphor and reality, and as a result will never achieve anything.
Twenty years ago, everybody on the Right and older people on the Left would tell you that America is a force of good in the world.
Ten years ago, the Left crossed over to the side of “America is the source of evil.” There was absolutely no calamity that occurred anywhere in the world and at any time in history that wasn’t America’s fault. At the more outlandish side of the spectrum, I heard colleagues blame the US for Stalinist purges and students blame the Muslim invasion of Spain in 711 on the evil America.
But at least the Right was open to the point of view where America didn’t cause absolutely everything bad that ever happened and actually did some good things.
This is no longer true. It’s rare to see anybody on the Right under the age of 70 who doesn’t share the Left’s knee-jerk reaction of finding America at the root of every evil.
Why this idea was created is obvious. In order to continue to exist, the nation-state must be loved. If we don’t love our nation and think it’s the best, it will fade away. And once it fades away, the democratic institutions lose all power. We become easier to rob and control.
It’s clear who benefits from all this. What’s less clear is why the people who have everything to lose and absolutely nothing to gain from this are so eagerly parroting the moronic lies about systemic racisms and NATO expansions.