12 July 2005

"America, f*ck yeah!" and Soviet "imperialism" in Central Asia

Less than 48 hours in the historic parts of the north-eastern US on the weekend, 20+ of which were spent on the road: a shameful lack of time to reassure one's (okay, mine!) "culturedness". At least my kultness had been proven more than adequate!

In addition to the landscape (though not quite as gorgeous a drive (I should say "ride", not "drive", as I drive rarely, period) through Wisconsin), I was yet again impressed by American patriotism. Almost every car sported stickers, most commonly and expectedly the "support our troops" kind and of course, flags - a lot of flags. The only time I see such numbers of patriotic memorabilia here in Canada is on Canada day and on Canada day only. In fact, at any given time I notice more "gay pride" insignia.

This simple observation reassured my preference for the American model of immigration, for example, as opposed to that of Canada - we all remember our junior high social studies classes and being taught (if this sort of thing can even qualify for being educational) that Canada exceeds the US because it has a cultural "mosaic" and integration, as opposed to the American "melting pot" and assimilation. It should be noted that both of these North American countries regretably prefer pop instead of time-tested culture, what little of it these youngsters do have in comparison to mother Europe. At least in the case of the US, however, beer and mindless mass (often sporting and/or hyperrealistic) spectacles of choice are supplemented by a greater sense of unity and national allegiance than what we see in the Babylonian city of Toronto.

On the way back from "America, f*ck yeah!" I finally finished Chingiz Aitmatov's (a Kyrgyz author) errr.....Executioner's Block - I have no idea how else to translate the title of this late Soviet novel into English. My mother bought it for me along with his other best seller when she visited me here in May, because it seemed like I had read just about everything worth reading offered in the local Russian bookstore we visited. I was not familiar with this author, and frankly the novel was just above mediocre, although its ending would make a great Hollywood flick. I was particularly annoyed by the Bulgakovesque (I am aware of the fact that he is not the only author to have done this, but at least he was the best) inclusion of a thematic "time warp" back to the mental torment of Pontius Pilate after his decision in regards to Christ.

The reason I mention this, other than to rant about the fact that I used to read a book a week back in the good old days, is the fact that I have just come across an interview with Aitmatov in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Apparently he now resides in Brussels and plays quite the diplomat. I was intrigued by his praise of Russian/Soviet "imperialism" and the benefits that it brought to the former Soviet asiatic republics - a breath of fresh air in contrast to the bullsh*t we have been fed for the past two years by the simpleton Western media like the Washington Post and such (re: Georgia, Ukraine vs Russia). His frank late Soviet nostalgia likewise reminded me of my own plight. In the case of the younger generation, however, this nostalgia is doubled- mourning the loss and the inability to experience this loss to a fuller extent.


Anonymous said...

"The only time I see such numbers of patriotic memorabilia here in Canada is on Canada day and on Canada day only. In fact, at any given time I notice more gay pride insignia."

BUT, did you control for the neighborhood in which you spend most of your time? I thought not!

ninaKay said...

Do you speak English?

Anonymous said...

Hah. I wrote a paper about Aitmatov a year or two ago. Neat. Not sure if you'll see this, but pretty sure I won't remember to check back, so oh well.