Mankind's only alternative 5   FEB.   23  
Mankind's only alternative
Vlad's Daily Gloat - The eXile Blog

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

City Beat March 20, 2003
Paddy Goes Better with Coke
By John Dolan Browse author Email
Page 2 of 2
Then came the units who had nothing to do with Paddy, or Russia, or anything except the sheer joy of prancing down the middle of the street to the cheers of thousands -- the incurable parade-junkies: cheerleaders with pom-poms, a six-man Dixieland band in blue windbreakers, giant vegetables...and animals.

The animals made me so happy that I realized how much I've missed them in Moscow. This isn't much of a town for animals. So far I've seen pigeons, hooded crows, sparrows, and one rat. Oh, and on one memorable evening last October, a Bactrian camel. It was standing outside the Uzbek restaurant on Pokrovka, a bored handler holding its bridle. I was so excited I raced home, looked up "Camel" and "docile" in the bilingual dictionary, and zoomed back to ask, "Verblyud pokoren?" Unimpressed with my perfectly grammatical question, the handler nodded, and I patted the camel's soft, shaggy side.

Ever since then I've counted this noble Bactrian as one of my oldest Moscow acquiantances -- so imagine my delight at seeing it marching with its fellow animals to celebrate the genocide of the Celts! There it was, its two humps looking fuller but otherwise unchanged, trudging along with a Shetland pony, a llama and an elephant.

An elephant! It was a gorgeous sight, walking loosely inside its skin like a man who's lost a lot of weight, and blowing huge clouds of steam out its snout like a land whale. It wasn't a big elephant, but any elephant is better than no elephant at all.

And the dogs were out too: a single row of Irish terriers straining at the leash, and off to the side a lone Irish setter, dumb and hyperactive in the tradition of the breed. When I was a kid, my family, succumbing to crude ethnic nationalism, got an Irish setter. We named it Finn McCool, and spent a year trying to work with the autistic beast. After it ripped my brother's upper lip nearly off in a fit of pique, we decided that tribalism had its limits, dumped the setter at the pound, and stuck to Great Danes.

But even the setter seemed beautiful on Novy Arbat, so starved am I for animals.

As each contingent passed, I got more nervous, wondering when the real tricolour -- the Irish one -- would make its tragic appearance. The Irish flag is bitter grief in graphic forrm, a testament to unrequited love: the green of the Nation stitched together with the white of Peace and the Orange of Unionism -- graphic proof that the Green loves the Orange. But the Orange hates the Green. Which is why wearing that tricolour in some Loyal neighborhoods of Belfast, Glasgow and London can get you beaten to death with a half brick.

As for the third colour, the white -- well, it doesn't do anything at all. The white stands for Bono, Geldof, that whiny girl in the Cranberries -- for all the smug Irish Thames readers who hate even being reminded of the ghettoes of the North. Oppression in Burma? Geldof will be on the next plane. Oppression in Derry? Forget it.

In San Francisco in the eighties, we of Irish Northern Aid marched in the St. Patrick's Day parade like the wicked witch at the princess's christening: we were there expressly to spoil everyone's day, to rain on their parade. The Irish Consul used to make a point of walking off the grandstand when we passed, to demonstrate his disapproval of those who sympathized with violence (unless committed by the SAS, UDF, UFF, UDA, or LVF).

So attuned were the actual Irish-Irish among us to flags and colour-symbolism that they spent hours discussing what we should do when the Consul left the platform. I tried telling them no one in America would even notice whether some Dublin flunkey stayed, left or stood on his hands. I said we should stick to the basics that people needed to know, the horrific facts the Empire had successfully suppressed, like this:

  • Q: What was the population of Ireland in 1845?
  • A: 8,900,000.
  • Q: And what was the population of Ireland in 1851?
  • A: 6,600,000.

2,300,000 people crushed in an artificial famine in six years. We repeated that brief, simple historical catechism to every bored, cool Californian we could buttonhole.

And where does a Californian get off claiming a share in suffering he got second-hand? Well, the only claim I have is the genetic stigmata which appeared miraculously during the parade: sunburn -- in Moscow, in mid-March, while standing in deep shade on Novy Arbat! Verily by their melanoma ye shall know them.

What I remember most now is the crowd drifting home afterward. A handsome crowd, as Russians generally are, far handsomer than any tribe of the British Isles. Kids were carrying any flag available -- even the Irish tricolour, object of this strange, almost innocent homage by a people whose holocaust has come this century -- is still in progress, in fact. The population of Ireland started rising, for the first time in 150 years, during the l990s. Russia's population is still falling, a demographic disaster which has aroused gloating, rather than compassion. It's happened before: at the height of the Irish Famine, the British Prime Minister said, "This famine is a judgment of God on a stubborn and indolent people, and we must not ameliorate it overmuch." You can hear the same smug verdict about Russia, stated much less eloquently by every Fascist dick on American talk-radio.

And yet there were the Russians -this great and more cruelly crushed people -- cheerfully giving homage to a little crushed people. Does anybody have a punchline to that? I don't.

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit

Browse author
Club Review
The Columnist With The Mostest : Another night with the rich and beautiful
Snapper Season
eXile Prediction: Snapper Season Coming Early! :
Get Your Putin On :

the edGy post-guide to moscow :


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