Pancake Batter’s Getting Thick

You wanna fist, you wanna ride
Go to school so you can hide
Hop on the bus & be rewarded
Get off fast & yer retarded
Last off, last in line
Chameleon, you’re doin’ fine

Second hand will tick
Pancake batter’s gettin’ thick
Cut my finger on a butter knife
Watch the blood flow down just like
The blood that I see on your hands

Bloody foot print swollen tongue
Scaly skid mark better run
Bitter swallow get you numb
What is gold? Silver bullets

Source: Drive Like Jehu, “Step On Chameleon” lyrics (slightly edited)

Beyond such basic political engagement, there’s the deeper public diplomacy that would initiate a conversation with ordinary Russians about how they see the country’s future place in the world. How many Russians just want to be part of a normal country, shorn of its cycles of oppression and lashing out? When Dicks analysed German POWs, he found that not all were all were beholden to the Nazi psychic see-saw of bullying and humiliation. He thought these other social groups would be the ones who could rebuild Germany after the war.

There are many Russians—artists, academics, film-makers—who already do a great job of excavating the Russian unconscious. They are often given minimal support by their own government, and some have had to leave the country. There should be a transatlantic fund, independent of any state, to support their work. Likewise we should be thinking of the future generation, and establish a Russian language university safe for critical inquiry.

Source: Peter Pomerantsev, “What the West Will Never Understand About Putin’s Ukraine Obsession,” Time, 22 January 2022

Yes, what Russia needs is more opportunities for the creative intelligentsia to escape the country and perpetuate myths about the authoritarian tendencies of ordinary Russians to gullible, eager (and similarly snobbish and misguided) westerners. When in fact Putin and his regime would have not stayed in power so long without the fulsome and enthusiastic support of a good chunk of the country’s best and brightest. “The people” have had very little to do with it. ||| TRR

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