If you don’t read Russian, you probably don’t know of the existence of Dmitrii Arteymev, an opinion essayist for the popular APN.ru website (APN stands for Agency of Political News) and self-described “Orthodox Christian.”
I have to say, I envy you.
The misery of knowing that a person like Dmitrii Artemyev exists is a burden that I cannot bear alone. Having invited all of my Russian-speaking friends and relatives to share it, I shall now inflict some choice bits on my non-Russian-speaking friends as well. The bits were originally part of an essay on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day.
What follows is a translation, combined with my own commentary. Please note that my good Russian-English dictionaries are presently away from me. I have, however, tried very hard to do this monstrosity justice… or injustice, as the case may be.
Portions of this text are taken from Artemyev’s column, “The 8th of March: Celebrate It or Not?” which can be found here in its original format. The translation was done for entertainment purposes only. No misogynists were harmed in the making of this translation (I am referring, of course, to physical harm). The author wishes to thank the good editors of APN.ru for hiring Mr. Artemyev and, coincidentally, providing the author with hours upon hours of hysterical laughter.
Please note that Dima is a diminutive of Dimitrii. I am sure that the author’s name is actually a pseudonym. I imagine that in real life, he looks something like this:
Picture found at the ABC Family site (ironically enough).
[The author begins by pointing out that the 8th of March is a Soviet holiday, and anything Soviet is teh Devil]…. An Orthodox Christian who celebrates a Soviet holiday kills the divine within himself, crucifies Christ within his own soul, joins up with Judas, Lenin, and Trotsky. There is no curse that he does not cause to fall upon his head for behaving this way, no tortures of hell that he does not bring upon himself by celebrating anything that has to do with Soviet crap.
Notice the classic tactics of a foaming-at-the-mouth, barking-at-the-moon, fire-and-brimstone preacher. One has to say that they translate wonderfully onto the page. You can easily imagine Dmitrii Artemyev on some street-corner in Moscow, harassing people as they go home from work, little globs of spit forming at the corners of his mouth.
In his other opinion pieces, Artemyev has written about being raised in your typical Soviet family. One has to wonder if the basis of his writing is a sublimated rage against daddy… or, more importantly, mummy. What, they didn’t let him go to the disco? Make him cut his hair? Told him that his girlfriend from Krasnoyarsk was just using him to get residency in the capital? The possibilities are endless, and endlessly grim.
Someone really ought to make a horror movie about this.
The 8th of March is, in these present times, referred to as a “women’s day…”
So, we celebrate the woman, because she is woman. This has nothing to do with some sort of feminine goodness, which is, in any case, impossible, since there is no such thing. If a woman is capable of having any good qualities they are the same as the good qualities of a man, but weaker and less developed, because a woman’s nature is more severely compromised by sin. By God’s mercy, we forgive a woman many things, those we cannot forgive in a man. But in this particular case, we see the celebration of woman as woman, a celebration of feminine nature.
The history of March the 8th started with female workers demanding decent pay… but I digress. Dmitrii Artemyev is a man who does not bow to the Factionista.
His acute problem has to do with having been born in the wrong place and wrong century. The Inquisition would have welcomed Dima with open arms! They would have loved him in old Salem town!
He’s Miniver Cheevy, with an Internet connection and a Taliban-esque glint in his eye, the sort of person you try to avoid on the metro, what with his bad breath and deadly earnestness. Maybe some strapping, pig-tailed Tamara or Katya threw a plastic shovel at his head in the sandbox all of these years ago, which was when the trouble started. Or perhaps his mother walked in on him when… yeah. You just never know, when a delicately calibrated youthful mind may suddenly implode, never to recover.
I have to admit: the natural qualities of woman – for example, the ability to give birth, or, even more so, the ability to be a mother, raise children, and so on – may, perhaps, deserve respect and even admiration, though not in the form of a holiday. But this isn’t what we are talking about anyway; we would then celebrate Mother’s Day, or something along the same lines. Oh no, we are talking about the feminine in its most basic form. We are, factually, admiring the qualities of the feminine soul and body of the lowest, most sinful caliber. Female breasts, genitals, the womb – this is what we worship when we worship “woman.”
You can tell that Dmitrii spends a lot of time on the important question of breasts and wombs, with a tissue box and a bottle of lotion for company. In fact, I am willing to bet that he typed this entire opus with one hand. And that the tissue box and the bottle of lotion have started having conversations with him in the middle of the night. And the hand has developed an individual personality, not unlike Thing from the Addams Family, minus any of the latter’s charm.
… This becomes apparent in the symbolism of the holiday. Women are given flowers, and the givers know well that a flower is a plant’s genital organ, opening up to be fertilized. A flower is a symbol of tempting lust. This is actually why having little flowers on your balconies is a sin, an innocent-seeming bouquet is an honest symbol of orgiastic sin, of group sex, and any interest or delight one might take in flowers is therefore sinful.
Thank you for an important scientific discovery, Dima. Internet p(or)n is getting unreasonably expensive, not to mention the fact that many conservative countries now use firewalls to prevent their citizens from being corrupted. You’ve solved the problem by reminding us that one can get off to the sight of a clump dandelions.
Or… maybe it’s just you.
I can put in a call to Renegade Evolution and see if she faces market competition from little old grannies tending to their petunias, but I have the distinct feeling she might send me to the shrink.
On a more serious note, I do recall at least one Biblical passage on the beauty of flowers. As you can see, no one is up to Dimitrii’s moral standards. Not even the Lord, our God.
If you can smell a rose, this means you won’t be too disgusted to smell the unmentionable body parts of a woman – because this, at its essence, is the same thing.
Is there a word for people like Dimitrii Artemyev? One commenter mentioned the term “florophile,” but is that scientific? I hate to get too excited at this point in time, but could I have possibly discovered a new branch of abnormal psychology? This could be cool, like discovering a new star, or a species of butterfly. I’d like to name it after myself, but then people will think that I was the one molesting flowering cherry trees at the botanical gardens… or however it is that Dima amuses himself on the weekends.
I won’t even speak about alcohol, everything’s clear where it’s concerned… Wine is a weapon of adultery. Communion Wine is a Miracle of God… But wine by itself, especially champagne, is adulterous.
Yes, the author does actually state, at least grammatically speaking, that champagne commits the sin of adultery. I am not taking artistic license. One has to wonder at the horror the author must experience when he encounters, say, a thread passing through the eye of a needle (the eye of a needle being, of course, another metaphor of God’s… But Dimitrii has already established that he thinks that God is a sick pervert).
Does the very sight of champagne bubbles not make one think of the sin of adultery?
Make me think of what???
An old Russian jokes comes to mind:
A man visits a psychiatrist: “Doctor… I think I may be a pervert.”
“Well, let’s not be hasty in our judgment. I am going to hold up some ink-blots, you’ll tell me what you see in them, and we’ll go from there.”
“Well, the first one is a woman and a man and they’re, you know… The second one’s even worse, it’s three women and two men, and they’re, you know… The third one is…. EEEEEEW… A man and a dog?!?!?!”
“Oh dear,” the doctor shakes his head solemnly. “I am afraid that you may indeed be ill, my friend.”
“I may be ill, doctor, but you’re one to talk!”
“Beg your pardon?”
“Where did you get such dirty pictures from???”
I have to wonder how Dima manages to walk down the street. All the buildings are phallic symbols, all of the cracks in the pavement are… you know.
As one brilliant commenter to the piece put it: “I have long began to notice interesting phenomena in nature. A fish’s head, for example, reminds one of the physiology of the male member. Therefore, cleaning a fish symbolizes the sin of Onanism. Not to mention the fruits that we harvest from trees after they flower came from orgiastic sin, not to mention the inter-species perversion of bees… Tea reminds me of urine… Eggs furthermore remind us of male physiology… Caviar looks like ova… The most terrifying substance of all is, of course, water, because we all know what wetness refers to. Indeed, I am perpetually terrified now, Dimitrii, because even the opening and closing doors on buses remind me of women’s genitals, and pens and pencils of the male phallus – disgusting weapons of the devil! I can’t look at bananas or pickles without making the sign of the cross! What am I to do? How can I live? Even in the number 3/8 I have discovered the devil’s symbols! 8 + 3 = 11, which symbolizes a woman’s legs!!!!!!!!!!!! This world is a monstrous place, brother, monstrous indeed!”
Champagne is the ritual wine of March the 8th, different from vodka, which we drink on the 23rd of February [another Soviet holiday – translator’s note], vodka being, in many ways, a more moral drink…
Once again, this isn’t artistic license. The author really does ascribe a sense of morality to vodka. If anything, it’s an interesting literary device. I might, perhaps, argue that the chair I am sitting on is also moral, because it is masculine and hard, as opposite to a soft and feminine couch. Of course, “hard” also implies… well, you know, so the chair may not be off the hook yet. Perhaps if we sufficiently interrogate it as to its intentions, we might be satisfied with its moral status, and move on to judging the table, the lamp, the cough syrup, and the Nokia-brand mobile phone, all of which presently surround me.
After all, I don’t want to end up in hell by slumming with a bad crowd, do I?
… The shame, the pathetic impropriety of such celebrations is readily apparent. In this day, women openly demand men to treat them as if they’re “special,” they demand presents, and worship. Of course, they are always doing this, in accordance to their nature. But on this day this happens openly, as if it’s right. Even those women whose age and physical imperfections usually keep from exhibiting adulterous passion, in this day suddenly remember that they’re female. A respectful woman who has long since abandoned her adulterous years, someone who spends the entire year bent over her desk at work, will groom herself on this day, will put on make-up, will have a glint in her eye and demand attention. She, who has forgotten her sinful nature, returns – even temporarily – into an adulterous state.
One gets the sense that the author watches women. A lot. While standing in the shadows and wearing a trenchcoat.
Notice how he takes it upon himself to judge women’s physical qualities, for example. Or the way in which he thinks he can tell which women exhibit, or don’t exhibit, “adulterous passion.” In a previous essay, he spends a great deal of time describing the special “look” that a “righteous” woman can give to a man, to signify that he should not be looking at her, but studying his own sins. He claims that the reason why many Muslim women wear a face-veil has to do with the fact that they can’t keep an “adulterous smile off their faces” (a statement which, under Russia’s present laws, could lead to APN being sued for promoting religious strife… Something that the editors are aware of, because they altered Artemyev’s piece, taking out passages where he refers to himself as speaking as a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church).
For someone who spends such copious amounts of time referring to women as Teh Sin, he sure is interested in us. Coincidence? We think not.
If you want to spend this day as a human being, and not as a lustful animal, call your elderly mother, or, better yet, grandmother. If you believe, if only a little bit, remind them of how short life is and of that eternity that awaits for us beyond the threshold, of the terrible God’s Judgment, and of how what we must do and how we should live, to have hope in His mercy to us.
… Assuming your female relatives have not changed their numbers and taken out restraining orders.
Bitchez r crazy. They’ll always find some way to thwart Salvation.
My own need to laugh at human folly (for if not laugh, we must weep) aside, I have to report that I am impressed with APN’s commenters. At least half accused the author of embarrassing and degrading Christianity. The other half mostly took the piss. One complained about the practice of giving the criminally insane wide access to public forums. Others used words such as “goblin,” “clown,” as well as other words, most of which I will not repeat (they’re untranslatable anyway).
It should be noted that the author himself regards people who make fun of him in the comments section as those who are possessed by demons. It’s a pretty cool rhetorical device when it comes to rebuffing an ideological opponent, amazing that Karl Rove never discovered it in his long and celebrated tenure as a peddler of apocalyptic p(or)n to the Religious Right. Perhaps he thought it would be too complicated, and therefore make the President appear too elitist.
Say what you will about the Religious Right in Russia, at the very least, they are pretty damn refined. If the American Religious Right is scrappy like Buffalo Bill, the Russian Religious Right is more like Hannibal.
You kind of want to lock the two of them in a room together and see what might happen… In the words of a friend, it will be Asshat Thunderdome! Two asshats enter, no asshat leaves!
And your humble servant will be scalping tickets, per usual.