MONDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2021
What the Russkie said: "No people are uninteresting," Yevgeny Yevtushenko once said.
In fairness, he said it at the start of a poem—at the start of a poem called People. On the other hand, there's no sign, in the whole of the poem, that he meant his comment to be ironic, as Cummings plainly did when he said, "Humanity i love you" at the start of an angry antiwar poem of that name.
"No people are uninteresting," the Soviet-era Russkie wordsmith said. As he continued, he offered additional odd remarks:
And if a man lived in obscurity
making his friends in that obscurity
obscurity is not uninteresting.
In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight.
It goes with him.
There are left books and bridges
and painted canvas and machinery.
Whose fate is to survive.
But what has gone is also not nothing:
by the rule of the game something has gone.
Not people die but worlds die in them
Whom we knew as faulty, the earth’s creatures...
When a person dies, what has gone is not nothing? That's what he actually said!
He said, No people are uninteresting! Astoundingly, he even said this:
"And if a man lived in obscurity, making his friends in that obscurity, obscurity is not uninteresting."
It may be that the double negatives had the Russkie confused. For ourselves, we'll guess that he actually meant the various things he said!
No people are uninteresting? Today, we're involved in a great tribal war, testing whether that proposition, or any notion dimly like it, can long endure.
It's hard to maintain belief in such notions at the present time. On the one hand, you have The Others, waving their hands in the air, evangelical style, as they rail against a mask mandate way up north, in Alaska.
(For links, come back tomorrow.)
In fairness, these Others didn't behave in the way Rachel told us they did. Of course, being misled by our number one "cable news" star is nothing new for Us.
It's hard to watch those Anchorage voters while maintaining faith in us, the people. We'll discuss their sobering conduct tomorrow.
That said, it's also hard to watch their counterparts from our own floundering tribe. Somewhat oddly, they arrive with degrees from the finest schools. At present, they're running institutions like the modern-day Yale Law.
When a person dies, what is gone is not nothing? Writing in the wake of the gulag, Yevtushenko was affirming the value of every person on earth. It's hard to maintain such a framework when one surveys today's fields of dreams.
Often, we humans are appalled by the behaviors observed among people like Them, but are oblivious to the inanities performed by creatures like Us. In the current context, can Our tribe possibly match Theirs, dumbness for dumbness for dumbness?
It says here that yes, we can! We'll examine the contest all week
It's sobering to watch The Others in action—but then again, there's Us. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but us-and-them the people barely seem human in these, the short twilight years.
Tomorrow: Night after night, up there