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

 
ZeroTheCat
 
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ZeroTheCat
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16 July 2018 21:26
 
NL. - 16 July 2018 06:04 PM

Lol, well, maybe that is a matter of what Western media finds fascinating and not what is more prevalent in Russia. If you’re interested, here’s a link about the story.

So that what’s happened =) Well, this is nothing out of ordinary in Russia, even though everyone understands how stupid this is. This is result of unofficial (but semi-mandatory) directive that probably came from local government. How could something even be “semi-mandatory”? For example, students from some universities and schools are encouraged to visit “parade of victory” (celebration of victory over Germany in WWII). Despite no official document claiming so, teachers/professors will usually tell you it is mandatory. There is unofficial recommendation though to encourage students to show up. If you don’t show up - it depends. You’ll either get away with it, or people just will talk to you about either importance of «parade of victory» or importance of school/university complying to unofficial demands of the officials. However, no one will really get into trouble unless square will be empty during parade. Which is never heard of.

NL. - 16 July 2018 06:04 PM

Well, I guess that makes sense… I can’t say I particularly understand US politics because I’m from the US.

I hate big politics. It seems everyone have a plan, and this plan never works as intended.

NL. - 16 July 2018 06:04 PM

I know Harris has done a lot of Russia based podcasts already but in a way I hope he revisits and has on a guest who is more representative of an everyday Russian person, as I enjoy more liberal minded guests but am not sure if that does a lot towards bridging gaps in understanding.

I really hope he does. I think it is crucial to have correct perception of a country and people. It is hard, and there is lot of misrepresentation on all sides. YouTube helps in that regard a lot. It helped me better understand internal politics of USA and Europe. I have been even thinking myself to make few videos about small city I live in for English speaking audience, just to show it for what it is, without cherry-picking good or bad.

 
uuatuu
 
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uuatuu
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16 July 2018 23:46
 

I should add that there are obvious differences between the West and Russia in how people talk about ethnicities and in what is considered to be rude, inflammatory or taboo. Casual talk about ethnicities is widely accepted, usually with anecdotes. Often there is no sign of hate or distaste toward anyone at all. N-word in its Russian form is not rude and just means ‘black person’. The Russian word ‘black’ on the other hand is almost always has a degree of rudeness.

One of the main Russian traits in general is inferiority complex, towards Jews in particular. Yes, many Christian Russians think they are superior to Jews ultimately because of their belief in Christ and that all the material gains won’t matter in the end. But pragmatic, Soviet-times atheist and many of the nationalist Russians take Jews and Israel as their role model. ‘Oh, they cheated us again in the 90’s. We’re so dumb and they are so smart! But we should be like them. We should kling together, help each other, install Israeli-like institutions in education, society, army’ - the line of thought goes like that. What may seem like anti-Semitic is often the opposite. And there is absolutely no hate in this!

 
sojourner
 
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17 July 2018 07:54
 

zerocat - Just a word of caution, Youtube can be an abusive place to begin with, and if you are posting anything about life as a Russian at the moment, the atmosphere over here is increasingly… um… frustrated… so I would be careful in doing that. People here are extremely angry about Trump’s statements yesterday. Ironically, the uproar over this might actually be better understood by someone from Russia than other places, as I think it is based on a growing fear that transnational business tycoons put exclusive international ‘in groups’ over their own country (a dynamic I think Russia knows all too well from the 90s.) At a practical level, there is little reason for the US to be making a lot of deals with Russia one way or the other - there is just not a lot of overlap between our countries, except on a few matters such as international security. Other than that, we tend to operate in different spheres - so it’s not as if there was a pressing or desperate need to appease Putin. But Trump personally is seen as having business interests in Russia - so to see him casually disregard the conclusions of his own intelligence agencies for seemingly no other reason than to please a sort of ‘potential fellow country club’ pal was, honestly, a national slap in the face. It would be sort of like if Putin suddenly started singing the praises of liberal democrats and hinting that he wanted to sell some of the country’s oil companies to them for his retirement plan or something, and also dismissed the FSB as inconsequential during the process. I don’t know if Trump meant for it to come across that way or not but considering that much of his base are those who have been the most hurt by globalization, it was a truly shocking moment.


u - Interesting cultural dynamic in Russia. I think that makes sense as it is a more collectivist country. In the US, there are sort of two camps (well, three if you count people who are just old school racists and don’t care, but that would be mostly much older people and more a fringe than anything). There are individualists, and they actually do see any stereotyping (in contrast to what you describe) of groups as xenophobic. So, for example, it’s still considered offensive in the US to talk about ‘What X group acts like’, even if it’s positive (unless you are in that group) because the idea is that people should be seen as individuals and not stereotyped. The other is more about ‘identity politics’, which leans more towards the collectivist side and more or less says you should consider what ‘group’ a person is from in the name of sensitivity, but certainly would not allow any ‘kidding around’ about it, as that would also be considered very offensive. I am pretty shocked about your comments on the N word, as that would be extremely offensive to any person of color in the US.

 
 
uuatuu
 
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uuatuu
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17 July 2018 13:13
 

The N-word doesn’t have bad connotations due to lack of black slavery in Russia. On the other hand the word ‘black’ is casually used in reference to any person of color in offensive way, not face to face, of course.

 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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17 July 2018 14:34
sojourner
 
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17 July 2018 17:00
 
mapadofu - 17 July 2018 02:34 PM

Gessen’s New Yorker article on summit
https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-putin-and-trump-each-lied-in-helsinki


Interesting article, although I disagree with the implied (to my mind) conclusion that Putin propagates a sort of Alice In Wonderland-esque reality. To the contrary, I think the whole judo thing really does encapsulate his way of being pretty well - keep your eyes ever-locked on what you want, but don’t sweat the details along the way, when it comes to veracity or any other measure. But his motivations seem pretty unchanging. It’s kind of like if you’re talking to a car salesman - do they really like your outfit? Do they really also own a rescue dog like you do, that hey, is actually from the same shelter? Do they really remember meeting your now dead grandmother years ago? Maybe, maybe not, but at least you can be certain that all of their lies will skew almost entirely in one direction, and have a clear idea of what their motivation is. I suppose it’s neither here nor there in the big picture, but as we talk a lot about post modernism and such on these boards (that is Jordan Peterson’s thing if I remember correctly, yes?), I think it is sort of an interesting distinction, if mostly an abstract / philosophical one.

 
 
erNM84LkliH25Fnx
 
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erNM84LkliH25Fnx
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09 March 2019 12:55
 

I felt that she was insecure and defensive or that she has a frail ego, and that defending herself was put before truth.  She couldn’t answer anything without putting Sam’s question down as something like You’re Not Understanding Me, Idiot, and as being this tough guy.  It’s dumb, and I never see this as being productive because in this case Sam goes away potentially escalated by her personality preventing anything further.  It’s like violence begets violence, or like what happens with name-calling.  But I also see Sam as a coward here for tolerating it (and he was like this Rebecca Traister’s conversation too although he blamed latency issues as usual).  It reminded me of the shit-testing concept of Rollo Tomassi.  It also reminds me of the built-in (learned, whatever) sexism of some European countries even though they’re so “liberal” on the beach.  It’s unfortunate because I like Sam’s thoughts and approach otherwise to most things.

It reminds me too of the Jordan Peterson issue of men communicating (where violence is always present) v. men with women.  If violence is off the table, how do you respond to a snarky comment if you’re trying to have a civil intelligent conversation?  I don’t think that makes the woman “strong”; it just shows her to be defensive first but not accountable or after something real.  It’s as if the value systems are too different.  Integrity to truth is not valued, nor is the wisdom to know that you don’t know everything.  So in this case Masha would be intolerant of any other viewpoint but cast herself as being smart and open-minded.  She just sees some injustice, however correct, but is not smart enough to know to grow.  She is what I would call uneducated.  I mean to focus on something for a long, long period of time and to have solutions occur to you in time and in degrees should be enough to realize that you should be more humble and that you have not considered every case.

 
ZeroTheCat
 
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ZeroTheCat
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10 March 2019 15:08
 

By the way, causes of Syrian war became more clear after seing awesome investigation by Russian “To be or..” channel with english subtitles available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n70eszy0JsU, even though this time he didn’t put most links to sources in the description, you can still see sources in video.
UPDATE: I’ve found out that 2/3 of subtitles are duplicated. Sent updates to author, hope subtitles will get updated soon.

[ Edited: 10 March 2019 17:31 by ZeroTheCat]
 
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