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#131- Dictators, Immigration, #metoo, and other Imponderables A Conversation with Masha Gessen

 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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10 July 2018 07:42
 
Twissel - 10 July 2018 05:42 AM
Ned Flanders - 10 July 2018 04:08 AM
Twissel - 10 July 2018 03:56 AM
Ned Flanders - 09 July 2018 06:09 PM

ugh. I found this guest disagreeably argumentative. She spoke in a conclusive, condescending “because I say so” manner. I first time every I might not finish a SH podcast.

It’s because she speaks from first-hand experience to someone with next to no clue.

change the word “to” to “at” and I’ll go along with that statement. Sam has had plenty of guests who were far more educated in their domains than sam, and me, and most of the time I’m deeply appreciative of their sharing their knowledge. This lady didn’t do that for me at all.

 

Why would the presentation critical if the message itself is so important? Listeners can do a bit of work for the sake of information.
Gessen doesn’t have an obligation to entertain us.


I think there’s a fine line between silly tone trolling and calling people out on elitist dismissiveness / tone deafness that is truly consequential. I’d say it comes down to content. In this case Gessen was making a claim that was actually fairly derogatory towards a large group of people - if one feels the need to make a claim like that for whatever reason, I do think that is the time to be very aware of how your message comes across and to back it up with details / explain it clearly.


That’s not to say that I think messaging has to be nicey-nicey and appeasing (much as I hate to say it, I realize that in many environments that’s simply an invitation to let people bully and take advantage of you, and as much as I object to that aspect of the world, the world does not seem to care about my objections,) but I think when it gets to the point where it might be working at cross-purposes with itself, that is a problem. If I were Russian and heard an interview wherein someone advocating for more liberal policies basically called me kinda dumb or, at best, willing to play dumb, I can’t say I’d be particularly inspired to learn about their ideas.

 
 
Ned Flanders
 
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10 July 2018 08:55
 
NL. - 10 July 2018 07:42 AM
Twissel - 10 July 2018 05:42 AM
Ned Flanders - 10 July 2018 04:08 AM
Twissel - 10 July 2018 03:56 AM
Ned Flanders - 09 July 2018 06:09 PM

ugh. I found this guest disagreeably argumentative. She spoke in a conclusive, condescending “because I say so” manner. I first time every I might not finish a SH podcast.

It’s because she speaks from first-hand experience to someone with next to no clue.

change the word “to” to “at” and I’ll go along with that statement. Sam has had plenty of guests who were far more educated in their domains than sam, and me, and most of the time I’m deeply appreciative of their sharing their knowledge. This lady didn’t do that for me at all.

 

Why would the presentation critical if the message itself is so important? Listeners can do a bit of work for the sake of information.
Gessen doesn’t have an obligation to entertain us.


I think there’s a fine line between silly tone trolling and calling people out on elitist dismissiveness / tone deafness that is truly consequential. I’d say it comes down to content. In this case Gessen was making a claim that was actually fairly derogatory towards a large group of people - if one feels the need to make a claim like that for whatever reason, I do think that is the time to be very aware of how your message comes across and to back it up with details / explain it clearly.


That’s not to say that I think messaging has to be nicey-nicey and appeasing (much as I hate to say it, I realize that in many environments that’s simply an invitation to let people bully and take advantage of you, and as much as I object to that aspect of the world, the world does not seem to care about my objections,) but I think when it gets to the point where it might be working at cross-purposes with itself, that is a problem. If I were Russian and heard an interview wherein someone advocating for more liberal policies basically called me kinda dumb or, at best, willing to play dumb, I can’t say I’d be particularly inspired to learn about their ideas.

why is there no thumbs up feature here? thumbs up.

 

 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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10 July 2018 11:06
 

Thanks. : )

 
 
edgecumbe
 
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edgecumbe
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10 July 2018 22:37
 

Can anyone point me to a source for the claim that 0% of second generation Muslims in the UK think homosexuality is morally acceptable (made at around 35 minute mark)? This strikes me as wildly off.

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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12 July 2018 23:09
 

If Ms. Gessen’s point about Russian public opinion was that Ruskies are dumb, it would have been very easy for her to say that. She did not, and went to some length to assure The Boss that this is a reliable phenomena. All of it was a missed opportunity to call them dumb.

If that is the only explanation listeners have for such a phenomena, Ms. Gessen does not own it. Granted, she did not flesh it out as anything else.

We have a smaller proportion of these opinionless people here in the states. They are not dumb here either. Opinions are, for them, an entirely different commodity than us posting types would expect. Growing up in the Midwest, I have been in a near constant state of horror observing it. It is a demonstartion of stupidity and not a condition.

These opinions are not answers to “What do you think?” or “What do you want?” The question that addresses them is “Which did you choose?” and “Where did you get them?” It is a selective process only. Opinions are consumed like beer, not held or arrived at like thoughts. Once one chooses Bud, one then goes to the store and gets the beer. Once Fox is chosen, one goes to the TV and gets the opinions. Brand loyalty to Bud comes from focusing only on Bud and getting used to the taste. Even when exposed to better beer, the Bud loyalist shrugs it off like a home team having a bad season. “Bud needs me”.

Hearing a few things that feel good as they wash down the ear canal is the way to develop affection for the larger and incomprehensible opinion source behind them. Regular consumption leads to a dependency on the buzz which can make other opinion sources unsatisfying and can trigger painful withdrawl symptoms. As long as the opinion source maintains a consistent connection in the brain as the source of the buzz, it won’t matter how convoluted the opinion might be, or distasteful to non-consumers of the brand.

It would be a rare and secretive thing for someone in their life to encourage or instruct them in building their own opinion or a belief that there is any point in doing so. Usually, the brain task that thinks things through is never developed or strengthened and is even encouraged to atrophy. Here in the Midwest, the average Joe drinks his Bud and the naturally gifted in this brain task become misfits and join rock bands. There isn’t anything else to do.

[ Edited: 12 July 2018 23:11 by Nhoj Morley]
 
 
sojourner
 
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13 July 2018 08:11
 
Nhoj Morley - 12 July 2018 11:09 PM

If Ms. Gessen’s point about Russian public opinion was that Ruskies are dumb, it would have been very easy for her to say that. She did not, and went to some length to assure The Boss that this is a reliable phenomena. All of it was a missed opportunity to call them dumb.

If that is the only explanation listeners have for such a phenomena, Ms. Gessen does not own it. Granted, she did not flesh it out as anything else.

We have a smaller proportion of these opinionless people here in the states. They are not dumb here either. Opinions are, for them, an entirely different commodity than us posting types would expect. Growing up in the Midwest, I have been in a near constant state of horror observing it. It is a demonstartion of stupidity and not a condition.

These opinions are not answers to “What do you think?” or “What do you want?” The question that addresses them is “Which did you choose?” and “Where did you get them?” It is a selective process only. Opinions are consumed like beer, not held or arrived at like thoughts. Once one chooses Bud, one then goes to the store and gets the beer. Once Fox is chosen, one goes to the TV and gets the opinions. Brand loyalty to Bud comes from focusing only on Bud and getting used to the taste. Even when exposed to better beer, the Bud loyalist shrugs it off like a home team having a bad season. “Bud needs me”.


That sounds like six of one, half a dozen of the other to me - if I said “Wait, are you calling my behavior dumb?” and you said “Oh, no no, I’m just saying you consume your opinions like beer and don’t arrive at them by thought”, I wouldn’t go “Oooo, ok, so sorry! I totally misunderstood you, thanks!”. But, if you see a meaningful semantic difference there, sure, maybe she was implying some other adjective that has a few shades of difference. I am always up for semantic parsing, after all.

Hearing a few things that feel good as they wash down the ear canal is the way to develop affection for the larger and incomprehensible opinion source behind them. Regular consumption leads to a dependency on the buzz which can make other opinion sources unsatisfying and can trigger painful withdrawl symptoms. As long as the opinion source maintains a consistent connection in the brain as the source of the buzz, it won’t matter how convoluted the opinion might be, or distasteful to non-consumers of the brand.

It would be a rare and secretive thing for someone in their life to encourage or instruct them in building their own opinion or a belief that there is any point in doing so. Usually, the brain task that thinks things through is never developed or strengthened and is even encouraged to atrophy. Here in the Midwest, the average Joe drinks his Bud and the naturally gifted in this brain task become misfits and join rock bands. There isn’t anything else to do.


I have mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, I think it is an extraordinarily positive development in humankind that we pretty much always grant mental clemency to populations now, and only hold authorities responsible in conflicts. If anything, we tend to feel great sympathy for groups like the North Koreans. I think this is a fascinating exercise in intuitions. I mean think of the following, a set of intuitions that I am fairly sure many people share:


- I find that I can easily feel sorry for North Koreans - a country running modern day concentration camps.


- If someone said “Do you think it’s positive that we no longer hold entire populations responsible for the decisions of those in power and have moved that much further away from a ‘salt the earth’ mentality”, I would say “Yes, absolutely.”


- And yet if someone said “Do you feel bad for the Nazis then, the ones who were just part of the party but not in authority?”, I would find the question appalling. I hold the whole country responsible for that atrocity.


- And yet... if someone said “Do you feel bad for the Germans who lived under the Stasi in East Germany”, I would say “Of course! It’s so wonderful that the fought for freedom”, as if someone literally sucked all the Nazis away in some sort of space-time vacuum and replaced them with other, more sympathetic Germans. I still find it jarring to remember that this was actually the same group of people. It just doesn’t connect at a visceral level.


On the other hand, exonerating people as entirely separate from their governments - assuming they are, so far as we know, actually in agreement with their government - does require a bit of mental gymnastics. Gessen, to my mind, takes the standard liberal line about Sheeple, although perhaps more justifiably as Sheeple in the US are said to be brainwashed entirely by propaganda that they could freely choose to ignore in favor of other information sources; in Russia one can at least say that other sources of information are a good bit harder to come by. Vladimir Kara-Murza generally says that opinion polls in Russia are simply meaningless, because people taking them can never be assured that they’re private, and so of course they’ll just give a ‘safe’ answer (seeing as how they do fluctuate up and down and Putin’s approval ratings recently dropped significantly over pensions, I’m not sure that I’m convinced of that response either, although I prefer it to the Sheeple answer.) But whatever you say, you have to come up with some reason why (a dynamic Harris often talks about with religion, actually,) people don’t really mean what they say.


When it comes to religion, my response to that has always been “People believe what they say, but it’s more important to ask why they believe it in the first place.” Harris’s answer to that question is, to my mind, strikingly similar to Gessen’s in this interview - because they’re indoctrinated, taught “at their mother’s knee”, and so on. So I like to think I’m being fairly consistent in disagreeing in both cases. I don’t think Putin could have simply come up with any narrative he wanted - I think it is no coincidence that Russia ended up with this particular narrative, because narratives are much more the result of prior circumstances than simply the ability to pour information into people’s heads at will (if that were the case, think of what an easy job therapists would have, lol. “So, I suffer from low self-esteem…” “Don’t worry. You’re awesome. You’re fantastic, you are literally probably the best person in the world, flowers bloom and birds sing when you walk by, and it’s true because I just said so.”... “Oh my gosh thanks!! I totally believe you.”... “Great, next session we’ll address your delusions of grandeur, I heard you’re hallucinating about the ability to make flowers bloom and birds sing”.... “Wait what?”)


But again - I do think the resulting sympathy for populations of people vs. their governments is a very positive thing, so I am hesitant to criticize it too much, even though I think in a perfect world it would be possible to retain that sympathy while having a (to my mind) more realistic view of things. I’m not convinced that it isn’t an either / or proposition at this point in time though, that the sympathy wouldn’t disappear with the ‘it’s not their fault they’re being brainwashed’ narrative, so if I had to choose one, I suppose I’d reluctantly choose to keep the more peaceful sentiments with the probably incorrect interpretation of other people’s minds. But I think it would be better to understand that people probably do mean what they say, but that if we understood every part of that story, we’d feel the same way.

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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13 July 2018 22:16
 
NL. - 13 July 2018 08:11 AM

That sounds like six of one, half a dozen of the other to me - if I said “Wait, are you calling my behavior dumb?” and you said “Oh, no no, I’m just saying you consume your opinions like beer and don’t arrive at them by thought”, I wouldn’t go “Oooo, ok, so sorry! I totally misunderstood you, thanks!”. But, if you see a meaningful semantic difference there, sure, maybe she was implying some other adjective that has a few shades of difference. I am always up for semantic parsing, after all.

If you’re stuck on a conclusion, than all talk is parsing.

We should be dumbfounded by this broad accusation of dumbness. It’s dumb.
It’s a dumb dumb, actually. As in silent and undescriptive.

To dismiss her observation or question her competence because a lack of imagination has burped up a quick conclusion that she must be stupid for having, is short-sighted. But it does go down like a cold Bud.

As for all those other hands… I am old and must worry about whiplash. Perhaps another newbie…

 

 
 
sojourner
 
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14 July 2018 07:54
 
Nhoj Morley - 13 July 2018 10:16 PM

If you’re stuck on a conclusion, than all talk is parsing.

We should be dumbfounded by this broad accusation of dumbness. It’s dumb.
It’s a dumb dumb, actually. As in silent and undescriptive.

To dismiss her observation or question her competence because a lack of imagination has burped up a quick conclusion that she must be stupid for having, is short-sighted. But it does go down like a cold Bud.

As for all those other hands… I am old and must worry about whiplash. Perhaps another newbie…


I think of it as “having and expressing my own opinion”, but to each his own.

 
 
uuatuu
 
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14 July 2018 15:48
 

As a Russian living in Russia my whole life I want to add some clarifications and put Gessen’s thoughts into context.

1. The first and main thing you need to know about Putin’s Russia is that it is a natural-resources-mafia-state with a main goal to sell as much natural resources as possible ensuring regime survival. The second thing you need to know is that everything in Russia is hypocritical or a kind of Potemkin village. All ‘democracy’ in Russia is of this kind - to pretend as a legitimate seller a thug needs the attributes of serious businessman - elections, corporations, etc. All work is of this kind too - it is a disguise to hide kickbacks. And the third thing - is that the elite doesn’t see its own future in Russia - they steal here but hide and launder at the West (so, by definition, they are not patriots as they claim to be).

2. The innovation of Putin’s mafia state is the implementation of a version of market economy working in tight-belt regime. It provides a slowly declining or horizontal basic lifeline instead of rises and falls - so called Putin’s stability - most Russians choose this poor but stable lifestyle and would kill for it. Psychologically it reminds them the times of the Soviet Union (similar to Chinese who try to prolong historical cycles at all costs, because they know what happens when the era ends).

3. Sam AFAIK has spoken only to people like Gessen and Kasparov who in Russia are sometimes called ultra-liberals. Moreover, they are ‘regime victims’ in some sense of the word and more still - they are of non-Russian ethnicity and Gessen is a homosexual. As a result Sam was put in an echo chamber of opinions of (to put it bluntly) tiny elitist jewish liberal minority which is represented on the Russian opposition media. Such people are (at best) frowned upon by average Russian or are (at worst) to be shot on the spot as the enemies of these same average people. Why is that?

4. That is because those people are widely seen as promulgating the ideas, implementation of which caused so much economic distress in the 90’s. Democratic reforms are (correctly) seen as mostly a disguise for dismantling of gigantic economic heritage of USSR by privatising it in the hands of ‘democrats’. These trauma blinds Russians and prevents them from differentiating the ideas of liberal democracy from practical experience of something going by that name.

5. But they are also blind to the fact that if oligarchs of the 90’s were thieves then Putin’s guys are ten times worse because they are based on powerful intelligence agency, they sell natural resources on industrial scale and in effect are hypocrites.

This mental virus of blaming some long gone democrats of the 90’s selling the Motherland to the West while not seeing that Putin is doing the same thing on a much larger scale (and by that logic is an enemy of the people) IMO is a key to understanding political mentality of average Russian today. Everything comes from there.

 
sojourner
 
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14 July 2018 17:47
 

Thanks for the post and for sharing your perspective uuatuu.


I’m not Russian and have never been there, so my perspective is an outsider’s perspective, but it does seem to me that the Putin government would actually agree with your assessment; albeit framed in a much more positive way. It seems to me that the model they are going for is essentially a monarchy with both historical and modern elements. This hierarchical structure, in 2018, is largely associated with organized crime and the mafia (and so this is how it tends to be viewed today), but was pretty common just a couple of hundred years ago. It seems to me that the model the Putin government is aiming for is one of Putin as “The Good King” archetype.


In some sense I can actually see the logic in this. In many ways (and apologies, I hope this won’t come across as offensive,) I think there has been a time lag of about 200-400 years between Eastern and Western Europe, when you look at the timeline of when things like serfdom ended, for example. (Although the gap began closing much more rapidly once modern communication became possible.) So the idea of just going back in the timeline a couple hundred years and building from there might have seemed like an obvious starting point. The idea that societies going through a period of severe instability (the Russian 90s, in this case,) require a strongman to hold everything together until the dust settles is a fairly common intuition and whether it’s right or wrong, I can understand how people would feel this way. Kings do end up with the bulk of the money in that dynamic but then, governments end up with most of the money in modern democracies (to be clear, I’m not stating that as a cynical moral equivalency - I think it is certainly much better for categorical organizations like ‘governments’ to have the bulk of the money that for it to be controlled by individual people - but I can see how this is a historical continuation and growth of the same instinct. The US government - not the people in it, but the more ethereal ‘government’ itself - has a budget of a few trillion dollars. We expect that, inevitably, it will waste some of that money but use much of it on the population, to defend, house, feed, clothe, educate, and so on. I’m going on the assumption that this intuition applied to the wealth of kings not so long ago.)


Of course, I think I share the common American disappointment in how ‘spreading democracy’ turned out for us globally, and I realize (hope, even,) that I am probably much too cynical about that developmental arc now, assuming it has to be a slow, grinding process that goes through all sorts of unfortunate but inevitable stages before fruition, with an almost magical element that simply can’t be engineered. So I may have overly pessimistic intuitions about this myself, perhaps rule of law and increased tolerance really can grow much more quickly than I imagine. On that I hope Russia will happily prove my intuitions wrong.


At any rate, again, thanks for sharing, interesting post.

 
 
uuatuu
 
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uuatuu
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15 July 2018 01:15
 

Some more thoughts…

My point about blaming ‘democrats’ is such a core thing in all that that it needs further clarification. You won’t read about these mental undercurrents in mainstream Western media.

There is widespread conspiracy theory in Russia about why the course of its history changes. Sometimes the dismantling of the USSR is seen as the ‘Second Jewish Revolution’ (The first one happened in 1917) - as the influence of some global cabal to break the country up again and sell it by pieces. Many rich people around Yeltsin and would be oligarchs happened to be Jewish and many liberal theorists and ‘democrats’ did too. The details of the conspiracy vary wildly and widely (whether Gorbachev’s predecessor and KGB strongman Andropov was in fact the first traitor appointed by Reagan (!) to install Gorbachev to break USSR up or not, for example).

After a decade of selling Russia by the ruble, the story goes, comes Putin to save it. But the cabal, as you can imagine, is strong. It was not allowing Putin to install patriotic USSR-like economic government branch for 2 decades! So Putin is a captive of the ‘democrats’! They merely allow him to sit on the throne.

Believe me, tens of millions subscribe to something like this or parts of it. Why people love Putin? He saved Russia from the ‘democrats’ (restoration of national pride , strongmanship etc. came much later). Why are a lot of ‘democrats’ still in his own government? They hold Putin hostage (some of them are appointed from Washington)! He can’t do anything. His only chance to save Russia is on the international arena - so he does there what he can.

This bizzare doublethink is really pathetic. Give people Crimea and they forget that Putin is the ‘son of the democrats’ at first appointed and chosen by Yeltsin (whether FSB was trying to subvert political life in the 90’s to come to power is another question). Until 2008 his behavior wasn’t much different from theirs in substance.

And you will never hear anything of that from people like Gessen. Liberal Russian media outlets don’t critcize the 90’s. They may (correctly) concentrate on the subversion of Russian politics and economics by Putin and FSB but feel ashamed to mention negative sides of pre-Putin decade. Perhaps any attempt by them to analyse the 90’s would attract conspiracy-minded people who would ruin it anyway even if analysis is to be fact-based.

No, and Putin is neither building anything nor restoring Russia. All bridges, roads, stadiums etc. are Potemkin villages serving PR purposes and at the same time allow kickback system to function. This a big mistake to think that Russian kleptocrats are ideological. Yes, because many people from Putin’s circle are KGB people they ARE more ideological than oligarchs of the 90’s. Nonetheless their ideal of good life is a wealthy Western life, they know very well how 3rd-wordly Russia really is, their nouveau-riche mafia instincts guide them abroad and all their activity is instrumental to hide money there.

In Trump you can see many traits of this third world style obscenity spilling out for everyone to see. In 3 years US political life has become much more Russian-like. You need to stop him while your democratic institutions are still working. If Mueller finds anything serious connecting Putin and Trump the ideal result would be to bring them both down. You are still able to do half of the work. grin

[ Edited: 15 July 2018 01:20 by uuatuu]
 
sojourner
 
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15 July 2018 10:33
 

u - Interesting perspective, although I am a little lost on some points (I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying about Jewish people, for example, and if this represents your view or you are describing views you see around you. I hope you’re not getting into anti-Semitic territory, but, again, I’m not clear on what you’re saying.)


Regarding corruption, I have mixed feelings. When it comes to Russian mafia politics, I strongly agree that this style of politics has no place in Western politics. A world where politicians poison opponents and throw them out of windows is simply a line in the sand that cannot be crossed, and until Russia’s government evolves past this point, they should sequestered accordingly. I am usually a softie but when I think a line is uncrossable, I see no wiggle room around that. The West can’t do business with people who enter their countries and poison citizens, period.


Regarding corrupt systems - on that, I revert to my usual softie mode. I grew up with corruption that grew out of poorly run union states (a situation that still causes me to give serious Side Eye when liberals sing the praises of unions,) and quite frankly, so long as it doesn’t collapse in the near future, the bridge to Crimea seems like a more successful enterprise than, say, the Pennsylvania Turnpike to me (I haven’t checked in awhile, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s still not finished.) I feel corruption, once entrenched, is not something that a person can simply do away with in one fell swoop, it takes a long time of changing attitudes; slowly putting restrictions on powerful (and, by the looks of it in Russia, sometimes murderous) people who don’t take kindly to them; getting checks and balances in place that people actually abide by instead of abusing for personal gain, and so on. Corruption and payoffs and kickbacks and having to know the right people is a huge issue in many countries, not just Russia, and so I think it comes down to trying to mind-read and ascertain people’s motivations, which is of course impossible. The actual outcome - grindingly slow progress - may well be the same whether Putin, in his heart of hearts, dreams of removing any and all corruption eventually; or if he grudgingly makes the occasional concession only to appease the public. And since that is the only part of the process that is really observable, I think it’s hard to judge what his motivations there are. But in terms of an alternative - I don’t know, I feel like if an idealistic young reformer were elected tomorrow, Igor Sechin or another one of the scary ass moguls in Russia would just beat them to death with a beer bottle or have them thrown out a window, and then it would be back at square one.


While being wrong is generally not fun, it would be a pleasant surprise to be wrong on that one. Perhaps corruption in Russia could easily be cleaned up and mostly vanquished in a decade or so, and I am hopelessly pessimistic. But I do kinda see how Russian citizens might feel otherwise.


Again, thanks for your post, I hope my reply doesn’t sound argumentative - it’s not meant to be, just discussing how I can understand different intuitions on this one, even as I hope I’ve become a cynical old crank and my intuitions are simply wrong, lol.

 
 
uuatuu
 
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uuatuu
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15 July 2018 13:08
 

No, those views about Jews are not mine. This is just a basic narrative that average Russian (Putin voter) uses to explain current situation and recent history. And this is just the most innocent one. I just tried to present it from the first person perspective.

I understand why you are lost. Not only what happens in the minds of Russians is bizarre, we in general also lack the culture of politeness and political correctness in writing and in speech. Average person thinks like Alex Jones and talks like North Korean television host. Living in this insane environment is tough and it probably shows in my own writing.

 
LadyJane
 
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15 July 2018 13:52
 
uuatuu - 15 July 2018 01:08 PM

No, those views about Jews are not mine. This is just a basic narrative that average Russian (Putin voter) uses to explain current situation and recent history. And this is just the most innocent one. I just tried to present it from the first person perspective.

I understand why you are lost. Not only what happens in the minds of Russians is bizarre, we in general also lack the culture of politeness and political correctness in writing and in speech. Average person thinks like Alex Jones and talks like North Korean television host. Living in this insane environment is tough and it probably shows in my own writing.

Your thoughts are well articulated in your writing.  I am having no trouble understanding your perspective.  Russia is unique.  I can’t think of another country that has made such dramatic changes and been so influential in recent world history.  From the Czarists to the Communists to the Soviets to the present day insanity you describe.  It’s hard to decipher why it doesn’t garner more interest and attention from those genuinely seeking the truth.  And being willing to accept what we find.

 
 
sojourner
 
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15 July 2018 15:48
 
uuatuu - 15 July 2018 01:08 PM

No, those views about Jews are not mine. This is just a basic narrative that average Russian (Putin voter) uses to explain current situation and recent history. And this is just the most innocent one. I just tried to present it from the first person perspective.

I understand why you are lost. Not only what happens in the minds of Russians is bizarre, we in general also lack the culture of politeness and political correctness in writing and in speech. Average person thinks like Alex Jones and talks like North Korean television host. Living in this insane environment is tough and it probably shows in my own writing.


Thanks… probably my fault as the Russian approach to discourse eludes me, at least as I have encountered it online. My family history is Middle Eastern, Irish, and (according to DNA testing) Italian. All groups who, sorry to stereotype, are known in pop culture for hot tempers and just yelling at people during the course of disagreements, and expect the other party to just yell back in kind. I feel like Russians do this but then can, with lightening speed, shift gears and suddenly become sort of deferential if the other party seems a bit offended. I can’t say the ins and outs of this dynamic and when people feel it is the proper time to move in what direction make sense to me, although I do find it interesting, so some ‘getting lost’ is probably inevitable on my part. (Edit: Not to imply that you were yelling in this exchange, lol, but just a general musing on how the Russian online style of communication seems to elude me sometimes, so it’s harder for me to intuit when you are speaking in first person, second person, etc.)


Anyways, again, thanks for sharing your perspective - I am often surprised at how big Harris’s platform is these days, when you look at YouTube views and reported number of podcast followers and such. He was talking in a recent podcast about how, when you compare popular Youtube figures to the nightly news, relative influence and reach seems to be skewing more and more towards the former vs. the latter. So podcasts with people like Gessen and Kasparov are reaching a fairly wide audience, and while I enjoyed this podcast, I can definitely sympathize with the idea that this may well not be a representative view of many Russians. So, fwiw, whether I agree or disagree or am not sure how I feel on the topic, I’m glad you posted with your perspective as well.

[ Edited: 15 July 2018 15:51 by sojourner]
 
 
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