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
A bit pompous, that poet is, to our taste. A bit too virtue-signaling, as some would call it.ReplyDelete
But then pomposity is what inevitably attracts you and your liberal comrades, dear Bob.
Tsk. Oh well.
You have an advantage, Mao. You can read Yevtushenko's actual words. Bob was relying on a translation.Delete
Yevtushenko may have said that “No people are uninteresting”, but did he say that every person’s ideas were good?ReplyDelete
That is the crux of the issue. No one is saying the “Others” are uninteresting. What we are saying is that their ideas and ideologies are stupid and/or harmful. Surely that is still allowed in Bob’s post-partisan utopia?
Somerby is not "one of us". He scorns education and equates inanity with insurrection. Phooey on that.ReplyDelete
"As anyone could have predicted, much of the media is once again obsessed with the “Democrats are in disarray” storyline, a perennial favorite that makes it easy to preserve the preferred conventional wisdom that says the right may be authoritarian bigots but at least they aren’t the dizzy dingbats of the left."
This is Somerby main theme -- that those on the left, who he refers to as us and we, are dingbats. And whatever the faults of the right, we are refusing to consider our own dingbattiness, and that is why Trump won.
This is pure idiocy for several reasons: (1) those on the left may have some idiocy because there are idiots on both the left and right, but our party is not dingbatty, (2) Trump won for many reasons, but not because of anything a fringe liberal said or did, (3) our fringe idiots stay on the fringe and are not embraced by the left as whole, unlike Republicans, who have fully embraced Trump, who out-dingbats anything the left has come up with, even on the fringes, (4) there is an imbalance between idiocy on the left vs right because the left's idiocy isn't killing people, whereas the right's is, including its embrace of white supremacy and its use of Ivermectin instead of masks and vaccines to fight covid.
Both Somerby and the mainstream media are joining with the right when they push these "Democrats in disarray" stories. Fox News manufactures and promotes atrocity stories in which the left appears foolish or venal. Then the mainstream media writes a story about how the left is foolish and crazy in its extremism, when none of the right's propaganda has anything to do with liberals and Democrats in general.
If Somerby were an actual media critic and liberal, he would be pointing this stuff out himself and I wouldn't have to mention it. Nor would Digby. There may have been a time when Somerby had people fooled, but that time is long gone.
Saying that something is "not uninteresting" isn't the same as saying that it is "interesting." If people were interesting, they wouldn't be in obscurity because others would be paying attention to them.ReplyDelete
Yevtushenko seems to be saying that everyone's life matters, at least to them, if not to everyone else. That has nothing to do with being interesting or not interesting. I am wondering whether this translation was what the poet intended, since it seems to be confusing importance with interest.
These days, I find myself less and less interested in what is happening on the right. Their shenanigans are now tiresome, boring, and not in any way interesting to me. Their actions have forfeited the right to inherent importance because they have trespassed on the rights of others, whose lives matter too. I am finding it very difficult to forgive those on the right for endangering so many innocent people, especially children and those with auto-immune diseases (such as, most recently, Colin Powell). These are evil people and who cares whether they are interesting or uninteresting? They don't deserve our attention any more because they don't care about the welfare of those in their communities. They are invisible now when we do a headcount of decent human beings, no matter what a dead Russian poet thought about his obscure neighbors.
"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."ReplyDelete
We have no "counterparts" to the craziness occurring on the right, especially not among those who are running institutions such as Yale Law School. If Somerby objects to specific policies or statements of individuals on the left, he should state his objections instead of tarring the entire left with accusations of craziness -- especially when nothing on the left comes close to anti-vaxxers, neo-nazis or Q-Anon for sheer craziness.
Our tribe is not floundering. This is Somerby's invention. His continual attacks on the left show that he is certainly not one of us, whatever else he may be. My current theory is that he sold his blog name to a Russian troll farm back in 2015. The occasional Dylan and Yevtushenko references are to maintain the pretense that Somerby is still here when he left the building long ago.ReplyDelete
"Our tribe is not floundering."ReplyDelete
We lost the Supreme Court. If that's not floundering then .......?
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