Mankind's only alternative 29   JAN.   23  
Mankind's only alternative

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 September 4, 2003
Serfin' USA: Duped Russkies
By Jake Rudnitsky Browse author Email

WARRINGTON, PA -- The last thing you want to hear from a 21-year-old from Mariupol is that, really, there's not much of a difference between Ukraine and the States. Mariupol is one of those featureless Ukrainian rustbelt cities that came of age under the Soviets; its only distinction is that its port is reputedly one of the main conduits through which Central Asian smack makes its way to Western Europe. That Mariupol has the highest per capita number of junkies in Ukraine lends credibility to that rumor.

But worldly Max, having tasted life in cosmopolitan capitals Mariupol and Warrington, Pennsylvania, decided that the two countries were quite alike. My initial, kneejerk reaction was, of course, that Max is totally insane. How could he -- a kid with a pinched face who didn't speak English and whose American experience was limited to a month working at a suburban Burger King -- delude himself like that? What was this ignorant punk thinking?

Minimum wage is cool. Nishtyak!

Minimum wage is cool. Nishtyak!

But after spending a couple of days with Max and a crew of temporary workers in America on J-1 visas, observing their imprisoned life in this far-flung Philly suburb, I concluded that Max's understanding of America was much deeper than I originally gave him credit for.

Everyone's got strategies for avoiding the most hateful aspects of American life. Since I moved back six months ago I've walled myself off from white America, living in a Dominican ghetto and chilling with a group of Nigerian hustlers. Compared to me, Max was a regular Margaret Mead; he'd gone native, studying Americans in their natural habitat. And what he saw from his vantage point washing dishes in the back of Burger King was the true face of modern America -- provincial, obese, and entirely joyless.

"I came here because I wanted to make a lot of money," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I still want it. But now I just think it makes you fat."

The nearly 20 kids from the CIS that were working in three Warrington area BKs would have made a great cast of characters for the next round of Poslednii Geroi, Channel 1's Survivor imitation. It was obvious that none of them would ever have hung out together back home, but being without a car in suburban hell is like being stranded on a desert island. Even the few who spoke English with relative ease spent most of their time hanging out with the other CISers. But for the girls' frequent telephone calls home, they almost exclusively lived in a hermetically sealed Russian-language enclave penetrated only by the American BK workers.

There were two Maxes, the Mariupol cynic and an Asiatic Max from Altai who spent his entire first paycheck, over $300, on an X-Box, TV and the latest Mortal Kombat game. Altai Max had clearly figured out how to make living in the States bearable before the others did. Then there was Vadim, a tall, dorky guy from Minsk with a spindly goatee and the look of a borderline Tolkienist or gamer. Dasha was a cute, bookish girl from Uman who is now studying at the Baptist-financed International Christian Academy in Kiev. There was Viktoria, a total babe from some eastern Ukrainian town who dressed in a sort of cowgirlish style and was screwing a half black guy who worked as a bouncer at a dive the next town over. Yulia didn't know any English despite the fact that she was enrolled at the English department at Vladikavkaz's university. Lili was from western Ukraine and didn't even try to subdue her strong Ukrainian accent. And, of course, Seryozha, the cool kid from Moscow. All they really needed was a representative from Siberia and some hidden cameras, and it could have been a hit series. As it was, without the cameras to prod them into making fools of themselves, it was a pretty boring group.

The modern incarnation of the J-1 visa was created in response to a funny thing that happened about ten years ago, right around the time me and all my contemporaries were supposed to grab the keys to dad's station wagon, drive to the nearest strip mall and pick up an application at Mickey D's to land our first jobs. Working a fast food gig seemed, for a while, as essential to the suburban high school identity as the prom, 50 required hours of community service and Turkey Day games against a football team fielded by the neighboring 'burb. Everybody from jocks to the trenchcoat mafia kids was expected to serve time flipping burgers in order to have disposable income to spend on Oxy wipes and 24 packs of Natty Lite. It was part of what made America great, initiating kids into a life of unfulfilling jobs while ensuring that hordes of office workers would be supplied with cheap, grease soaked calories available at convenient drive-thru windows on the commute home.

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit

Al-Dilbert :
Shawarma Shuttle
Shwarma Shuttle Of The Week :

Way East of Tynda: 116 Hours in A Small Room :

Mr. Limonov on Mr. Medvedev :


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.

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.

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
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.

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."

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

War Nerd Summer Reading Guide
The War Nerd By Gary Brecher
It’s summer, you’ve got a little more time off, so you can read up on war instead of trying to live in whatever boring suburb you live in. Lawns, neighbors, dogs, kids—it all sucks and the best thing you can do is get as far out of it as you can.


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

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