Misery

A couple of things caught my eye while I was perusing the book section of Sunday’s New York Times while sipping my post-dinner coffee tonight. The first was a review of Keith Gessen’s new novel A Terrible Country. In this, reviewer Boris Fishman tell us that:

Gessen’s book feels like one of recent literature’s most accurate portrayals of modern Russia, which is to say that I was miserable for hours after reading it.

Because, as you know, Russia is a miserable place and everyone there is just miserable all the time. Miserable, miserable, miserable. Ask all the people who went there for the World Cup. They’ll tell you what a miserable time they had. You won’t find anybody there having fun, or even with a smile on their face. Just miserable.

I think it’s fair to say that the New York Times doesn’t care for Russia very much. Which is where the second thing I noticed in today’s paper comes in. For right at the end of the book section is this week’s bestseller list. And these are the top two of the non-fiction category.

  1. The Russia Hoax, by Gregg Jarrett. (Broadside). The Fox News analyst makes his case for why the FBI investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia is without legal merit.
  2. Liars, Leakers and Liberals, by Jeanine Pirro. (Center Street). The legal analyst and Fox News host argues in favor of President Trump.

If the only American media you consumed was the New York Times, you’d come to the inevitable conclusions that a) Americans are united in their obsessive hatred of their president, and b) it’s all the fault of those horrible Russians who colluded with Trump to get him elected. But judging by the bestseller list, it’s not the New York Times which Americans are getting their news from. It’s Fox. And despite the Times and other media outlets spending the past 18 months relentlessly pursuing the Russiagate collusion story, it seems that a whole lot of Americans aren’t buying it.

All of which, I think, might give those miserable Russians some cause at long last to smile.

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11 thoughts on “Misery”

  1. “Because, as you know, Russia is a miserable place and everyone there is just miserable all the time. Miserable, miserable, miserable.”

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    1. The US establishment still believe that Russia is in the 90’s.

      Unfortunately peoples opinions are slow to change if new evidence emerges, particularly if the evidence contradicts long held views based on faith. This is why some folks still believe in creationism.

      The Gesens have been long term critics of Russia and seem to be filled with a fair amount of scorn for ordinary Russians I would take anything they say with a very large pinch of salt

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      1. From my observations – “western” public is like 20-30 years in the past, “Russia experts” are 10-15 years in the past and Russia watchers ” are somewhat 3-5 years in the past.

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      2. “The US establishment still believe that Russia is in the 90’s.”

        I think some of them (and even large swathes of the population) subscribe to the theory of the Eternal Russia, which is (simultaniously) a “Rough 90s” gangster paradize ruled by the nuke swinging commies, that carry out (hourly) mass repressions of the dissidents, while wanting to conquer plucky Poland and Baltic states. All the while singing “God Save the Czar” and whipping serf peasants at the stables 😉

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