Mankind's only alternative 8   FEB.   23  
Mankind's only alternative
War Nerd RSS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Feature Story August 24, 2003
Jesus Ate Their Brains!
By John Dolan Browse author Email
Page 5 of 5
This is the sort of inane, formulaic reversal that Graham Greene turned into a lucrative literary career, the sort of twist people who haven't read Nietzsche associate with him; but it's totally unworthy of a great novel like We. It wasn't even a good guess about what was to come. Stalin was not the Pharisees, the NKVD was not the Roman Army, and the massacred intellectuals were not Christ. These quick cuts to Calvary blur the real scene, the killing floors and torture rooms of Stalin's police.

Bulgakov's protagonist in Master and Margarita also comes dangerously close to Christ-hood and martyrdom himself, but Bulgakov had the one charm proof against martyrdom: he was funny. All around the rather pathetic Master swirl characters much stronger, braver, smarter and funnier than he. Besides, in reality the author Bulgakov asked Stalin for martyrdom and was offered a job in the theatre instead. In refusing Bulgakov's demand for immediate Golgothification, Stalin unknowingly performed his one great service for Russian literature.

Yerofeev used the same saving comic talent to lighten his hero's martyrdom in the late Soviet novella Moskva-Petushki: his Christ-self is a drunken swine. A martyr, yes -- but at least a drunk, selfish one, a martyr to the drink. You can hear Yerofeev's resentment against the dull, required stations of the cross he leads his protagonist through, as if the authors themselves were tramping to Calvary only because they had nowhere else to go.

When the Soviet state went out of business, one essential component of the Christ plot vanished: there was nobody to play the Roman soldiers any more. So we can say that Yeltsin & co. did one great thing: they made it impossible to do the Russian Christ without making a joke of yourself.

In the most dramatic proof of this, Solzhenitsyn came home and tried to shoulder the old rugged Cross -- on a talk show. Yup, like Christ's public-access program on South Park. It bombed -- just like Christ's on South Park.

Which was damned lucky -- because Solzhenitsyn's worldly success, his fame, was one of the most dangerous elements of the Christ cargo-cult. He was not only a saint, he was famous and rich. He made martyrdom seem like a good career option, even to weedy poets who wouldn't have lasted a week in the camps.

That's the trouble with the Christ story: it's the original template for that famous Russian nihilist slogan, "The worse, the better." Christ is the tar baby; the more you hit him, the stronger he gets. And that makes people imagine there'll be some compensation for their tears, some return on all the suffering they've invested. By that reckoning, Russia should be in for the biggest dividends in history. But there's no such return on suffering -- not the big sufferings anyway. There may be rewards for suffering here and there -- American college kids retailing their bad childhoods for bragging rights or preferred admission to law school. But these rewards tend to go to those who are already good at grabbing things, and already living among the wealthy.

The really massive sufferings tend to be quiet, uninteresting, and ignored. Take the seven-million-or-so dead Ukrainian peasants from Stalin's artificial famine; no one remembers them, or ever has. Or ever will. They weren't interesting to the intellectuals.

It's like that line from the Bible -- one of the few honest lines in the whole book: "To him who has much, more shall be given. And to him who has little, it shall be taken away." So, after 70 years of carrying the cross, the Russian intelligensia got exactly nothing from the death of the Soviet state except marginalization, and the ignominious struggle for cash.

Another salutary shock was provided by the return of the Church. Nothing eliminates Christ-envy like having his actual Church back in place, reminding you every day of its venal, witless, reactionary, grimy habits. We should all chip in generously to the priests with cashboxes who haunt the Metro perekhods. The more bells they buy, the more Russian writers will wake up hungover on Sunday mornings cursing the whole gaudy Christian pantomime once and for all, allowing it to trickle down to the fools, the majority, where it belongs.

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit

Browse author
The Gaishnik
Field Guide To Moscow: Corruptoris Lardum :

Ukrainians In the Mist : Gorilla tactics in the campaign for Ukraine's highest office

Moscow Nitelife Guide :

Donetsk Paper Tigers : Popular sentiment in Donetsk might be fascist, but it doesn’t have to stay that way


Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442