Russia abandons literary past!!! ZOMG!!!11!!!eleventy!!! Um, OK. Has anyone heard of this little thing called the financial crisis? Anyone?
The Russian movie industry is largely in limbo at the moment, which means that high-art projects get shelved. Trust me, I ought to know.
And I just love the line about the Kremlin’s “steely” silence. Why is that even in there? A play on words regarding Stalin? Those evil Russians, they’re just like they were back in the 1930’s! Sending each other to gulags and… Well, not shelling out money for a Tolstoy centenary is just like sending people to gulags! Gulags of the soul! “Steely silence,” wow, you’d think the Kremlin was refusing to comment on, oh, I don’t know, an assassination. Is this all part of the unofficial style handbook? “Nobody will pick up your article unless you dress it up in adjectives that capitalize on stereotypes of the Russian Federation. If you can’t throw in ‘bear-like,’ go for ‘steely.’ ” I don’t even blame journalists for this anymore, it’s the entire media culture that I blame.
Of course, if there was a Kremlin-sponsored Tolstoy centenary, everyone would just complain about how the government sticks its nose everywhere and attempts to nationalize culture or some crap like that.
I do find it sad that the 100-year anniversary of Tolstoy’s death is not getting nearly enough attention in the country, but I am also amused by Natasha Perova’s allusions to “Western trash.” How much do you want to bet that when she’s talking about “Western trash” she mostly means Twilight?
No one single instant of it was unendurable. Here was a second right here: he endured it. What was undealable-with was the thought of all the instants all lined up and stretching ahead, glittering… – David Foster Wallace.
Someone asked me recently if I “like” being unhappy. It’s a strange and, at the same time, normal question. Unhappiness can, after all, become familiar, like a pair of well-worn boots you slip into with a little sigh of satisfaction, even if you actually think that the heel is fugly or whatever.
What do you do when you isolate and recognize the feeling of familiarity? Look for a consenting rainbow to have sex with? Hop along the yellow brick road to enlightenment picking up endearingly creepy companions along the way?
These aren’t just rhetorical questions on my part, because I’ve been thinking about the idea of acceptance lately. In TIME*, the awesome Barbara Ehrenreich recently wrote that:
We don’t have to dwell incessantly on the worst-case scenarios — the metastasis, the market crash or global pandemic — but we do need to acknowledge that they could happen and prepare in the best way we can. Some will call this negative thinking, but the technical term is sobriety.
Ehrenreich is talking about responding to the ongoing economic crisis here, but I find that this kind of wisdom applies equally to other, even more abstract areas of life. Sometimes, things suck, and you have to admit it. Sometimes, you suck, and not in the fun way either. The night gets longer, and colder, and even more densely populated by howling stray dogs and drunks. Your idiot neighbours leave the building door open, and someone swipes your welcome mat, and probably trades it for heroin – along with their firstborn. A creature slithers out of a Stephen King story and sits on your chest at night, drinking your blood and breath. You struggle to write clever blog entries, when you really should be working.
Continue reading ““Do you like being unhappy?” “Do you like the fact that rain is wet?””