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Xi Jinping's Russophilia Seems Genuine
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From a Twitter summary by @PyotrNemets of Xi Jinping’s The Governance of China [download].

Now while I realize such official tracts are most often just mainstream political pablum in any country, I think highlighting 19th century Russian literature – and this selection isn’t exactly very congruent with official Chinese ideology – is quite telling.

His admiration for Putin has also long seemed to me to be laid on too thick to be entirely, or even substantially, artificial.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Bilateral Relations, China, Russia, Xi Jinping 
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  1. Martin Amis on Chernyshevsky

    It fills you with extraordinary torpor to learn that Lenin read Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s insuperably talentless novel What Is To Be Done? (1863) five times in one summer. To read this book once in five summers would defeat most of us; but Lenin persisted. ‘It completely reshaped me,’ he said in 1904. ‘This is a book that changes one for a whole lifetime.’ Its greatest merit, he stressed, was that it showed you ‘what a revolutionary must be like’. Humiliating though it may feel, we are obliged to conclude that What Is To Be Done? is the most influential novel of all time. With its didactic portrait of the revolutionary New Man, its ‘russification’ of current radical themes, and its contempt for ordinary people, ‘Chernyshevsky’s novel, far more than Marx’s Capital, supplied the emotional dynamic that eventually went to make the Russian Revolution’ (Joseph Frank). I am reminded of a recent aside by a Russian writer (Victor Erofeyev) who was trying to account for the cult of Rasputin. There are ‘some grounds for saying,’ he wrote, that ‘deep down, Russia has nothing in common with the West’.

    • Replies: @inertial
    , @Dmitry
  2. Gerard2 says:

    I’m pretty sure she sang Katyusha in Russian also.
    I know Putin singing Fats Domino signifies jackshit…but this type of russophilia does signal a positive

  3. inertial says:
    @Swedish Family

    I read Chernyshevsky back in school. I thought the book was required but after I read the whole thing I learned that only a small piece of it was required reading, the rest was optional. Bummer.

    But, I kind of enjoyed it. It’s not a well written book, but on the other hand it’s less of a slog than many of the other Russian classics. I understand why Lenin loved it but someone like Martin Amis hated it. It’s basically a Utopia. Sort of like Yefremov’s Andromeda Galaxy, or Strugatskys’ Noon Universe books, or many others, except it takes place in the real 1860s Russia so there are no space ships, etc. (However, there is one short sequence that shows an imagined far future; that was the required part.)

    I am reminded of a recent aside by a Russian writer (Victor Erofeyev) who was trying to account for the cult of Rasputin. There are ‘some grounds for saying,’ he wrote, that ‘deep down, Russia has nothing in common with the West’.

    What cult of Rasputin? Russia may or may not have something in common with the West but Rasputin has nothing to do with it.

  4. Dmitry says:
    @Swedish Family

    I guess these are the books translated into Chinese. Choices of what they translate in China, probably influenced by Soviet choices. For example, – Chernyshevsky was an applauded figure in Soviet times. Nekrasov was quite acceptable. And then you can see how the only 20th century writer in the list is – Sholokhov.

    Some of what is exported is quite unexpected. For example, Pavel Bazhov is really (which is cool) popular in India.

  5. Gerard2 says:

    I guess these are the books translated into Chinese. Choices of what they translate in China, probably influenced by Soviet choices. For example, – Chernyshevsky was an applauded figure in Soviet times. Nekrasov was quite acceptable. And then you can see how the only 20th century writer in the list is – Sholokhov.

    …..but they did fall out very badly with the soviets quite soon after Xi’s birth.
    It should be noted that plenty of British poets, novelists and the playwright Shakespeare were still very popular among the soviets, almost to the point they became more a Russian thing than a British one. Or maybe there is just an unwritten rule that , except in cesspit Ukraine, ….anything of “classical” culture ( pre-WW1?) is deemed fair by all sides to learn from eachothers countries.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @Dmitry
  6. songbird says:

    I bet reading his book is as dull as watching paint dry. I try to avoid reading the books of politicians. For one, I doubt the authenticity of the writing.

    But communist leaders are the worst. They tend to dust off their old speeches and throw them in. When you hear about those old guys falling asleep at Politburo meetings, you commiserate with them. And from what I have read, Xi’s book is like that.

  7. Sean says:

    Xi looks like his favorite thing is eating. At least Putin is in shape. Laid on with a trowel, as Disraeli said of his flattery of Queen Victoria. Ice hockey! That is Putin’s thing, and didn’t he appoint at least one person who was on his ice hockey team to high office that he was unqualified for?

    At this point the only thing that can go wrong for Xi is Russia allying with America too soon to stop the Globalzilla that China will have become in a couple of decades.

  8. It does not matter whether Xi genuinely likes Russia. The only thing that matters is his sanity. In view of totally crazy, irresponsible and unpredictable behavior of the dying Empire, any sane Chinese leader would work to maintain good relations with every country that dares to stand up to the Empire, including Russia, as well as with South Korea, ASEAN, African and Latin American countries, India, and even Japan. At the same time any sane Chinese leader would seek to punish the most subservient imperial vassals, like Canada. That’s exactly what Xi is doing. It only attests to his sanity, nothing more.

  9. @Gerard2

    The issue is a lot simpler. People do still read books in Russia, despite best efforts of libtards with their “education reforms”. My sister-in-law once talked to a Swede and to her surprise discovered that he never heard of Astrid Lindgren and her Karlsson books. When she told him about it, he said that all those books in all languages were specifically written for Russians to read. About sums it up.

    • Replies: @inertial
    , @Seraphim
  10. Hillbob says:

    By the way What does Trump read? Heard he just finished an exhausting time on the 12 pager children’s “Hickory Dickory Dock” and the brave mouse that ran up the clock. He found the pictures fascinating but had more difficulty with the words. Indeed the numero uno in a land of zeros

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  11. inertial says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Karlsson is not well known in America but Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking is quite popular and is sold in every book store.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @melanf
  12. @inertial

    sold in every book store

    That sounds good for non-Americans, but… There used to be two bookstores in Nashville, TN (population ~600,000), but one went out of business. I’ve seen more bookstores in downtown Mexico City than likely exist in the whole of the US. However, the largest bookstore I’ve ever seen in my life was in Portland, OR. I wonder whether it still exists, I visited it in 1996.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
  13. @Hillbob

    Trump is probably like Tony Blair (aptly called Bliar by his UK compatriots). He only reads the checks he writes, and there he focuses on the numbers, not the letters.

  14. @AnonFromTN

    The point of Nashville isn’t about reading. Its about the bars, fried chicken, and live country music! Who goes to Nashville to read?

    Instead of lamenting about lack of bookstores, AnonFromTN should go to Whiskey Jam on Monday nights at Winners Bar and have a good time.

    For the weekend nights, AnonFromTN can go to pretty much any bar on Broadway or Demonbreum/Division, they’re all gonna be pretty lit.

    Rebar on Division is great on Sunday afternoons, while Tin Roof on Demonbreum is excellent Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

    AnonFromTN can also go for a ride on a pedal tavern on weekend evenings.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @Anonymous
  15. @AquariusAnon

    Sound advice: drunk people don’t read no books. Problem is, most TN residents are sober most of the time, but they don’t read even while sober. They do have The Book at home, but they don’t read that, either.

    I respectfully disagree about country music, though. It is boooring. People say that there are only two country songs, pessimistic and optimistic. They begin the same, “my truck broke down, my dog died, and my girlfriend left me”. Pessimistic ends with “and I am in jail”, while optimistic ends with “but I still have a few beers in my fridge”.

    Bluegrass is so much more entertaining, and you can get drunk in Bluegrass cafes just fine.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
  16. songbird says:

    I should like to hear Xi give a book report without reading from the jacket.

  17. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @AquariusAnon

    I recently tried Nashville hot chicken for the first time. It was very good, and seriously one of the spiciest things I’ve ever had, spicier than most spicy exotic dishes from around the world. Anatoly really likes spicy food, so I wonder if he ever tried it when he was in the US. It doesn’t seem to be very common outside of Nashville.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
  18. @Anonymous

    Exactly. I haven’t tried Prince’s, but Hattie B’s is awesome. You pay fast food prices for restaurant quality chicken there. Just don’t try Hattie B’s mac and cheese: tastes like frozen mac and cheese outta a can.

    Anatoly, unfortunately, never been in the South in the US, which is a real shame. Nashville is hands down one of the best cities in the US. Excellent bar scene, very nice people, palpable southern culture, great food, hot southern girls (but you do have to sift through fatties).

  19. songbird says:

    Xi said “War and Peace” was his favorite work of Tolstoy. Nicholas II only read “War and Peace” when he was in the custody of the Bolsheviks.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  20. @AnonFromTN

    Country music? Boring??

    Are you behind the times? “My dog died”? Really???!! This isn’t 1970.

    Country music nowadays talk way more than just “my dog died, my truck broke down”. There are sad songs of course, but majority of country songs nowadays are upbeat party songs and love songs.

    The most hipster thing ever is to virtue signal for bluegrass and letting everyone know how much you hate country, especially when you live in Nashville. Country music is why Nashville is so popular, so embrace your city’s identity instead of trying to change it. Nashville is full of anti-country transplants as it is, especially anti-country Donbass Sovoks (and I’m extremely anti-Maidan and pro-Russia mind you).

    Check out Luke Combs. He’s the most popular country singer right now and his lyrics are much more intelligent than pretty much all the other top 40s songs.

    LANCO and Old Dominion have very heavy indie influences; even hipsters who hate country would like those bands.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  21. @AquariusAnon

    Yea, right. I never heard Luke Combs, will check him out, but I don’t think he would turn me to country music. I never liked it, but after I took my German collaborator (at his request) to Grand Ole Opry, I sincerely despise it. BTW, he was very much disappointed, too. Next day I took him to a café with live Bluegrass music (Bluebird on Hillsboro) and he liked it.

    I know all about transplants. The guy who repaired our cuckoo clock (German Black Forest clock, but purchased in Chicago) told me that from Southern perspective there are Yankees – those who come down South and return up North, and damn Yankees – those who come and stay. He was a damn Yankee himself.

    The only indisputably good thing in Nashville I know is Vanderbilt. I like polite Southern drivers: if they see you, they let you change lanes (but that’s a big “if”). I like friendly Southern people. However, that reminds me of a story about Nixon, who was introduced to a Southern senator, who his aides told him will be friendly if things come to impeachment. After the meeting Nixon said: “He sure is friendly, but, my God, is he dumb!”

    Sorry to disappoint, I do live in Nashville, but on vacations I get the heck out of here. Sometimes even in between for 2-3 days I go someplace more civilized, like New York, Chicago or even Atlanta. But everything is relative: when we drove here via the South, Alabama appeared not bad after Mississippi (that was really something, looked like an average IQ there is smaller than the shoe size), then TN appeared much more civilized than Alabama. Alabama is a winning comparison, though: it is too easy to be more civilized than that.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
  22. Seraphim says:
    @songbird

    Most likely Nicholas II knew the real history of 1812.

    • Replies: @songbird
  23. @AnonFromTN

    Yeah I heard about Bluebird Cafe, but didn’t check it out nor am I too interested. I would love to check out the Green Hills area during the daytime next time I return to Nashville. I do love Midtown Nashville and The Gulch. Can’t say much about Vanderbilt itself, as its no longer a southern university. I love the area surrounding Vanderbilt though.

    Most Europeans and metropolitan Americans really, *really* hate country. This is one of America’s last remaining mainstream art forms that isn’t rootless cosmopolitan, and I hope it stays that way.

    Most of Mississippi is a shit hole, but Ole Miss has one of the highest concentrations of hotties in this country. Alabama has quite a few nice spots. Birmingham, Mobile, and Huntsville all have large upper middle class populations.

    You think Atlanta is better than Nashville? Atlanta is more dangerous, dirtier, grimier, and with much worse traffic than Nashville. People are not as nice. The politics and roads are both third world. There’s so many transplants and their descendants in Atlanta that southern culture is rapidly fading into oblivion, especially in the younger generation. On top of that, it’s also the unofficial capital of Black America, which we all know what that means. The presence of the film industry is the final nail in the coffin for Atlanta’s status as a southern city.

    Atlanta is indeed the biggest city in the South though, so it does have all the amenities you’d expect from an American city with over 5 million people, especially a growing, economically prosperous one.

    There are a lot of dumb idiots in the South, but this is one of the few regions in the US with a distinctive “aristocracy”. I noticed a large contingent of them in Nashville, which has a more visible presence than the equivalent in Atlanta.

    The fact that you think New York or Chicago, or transplant-ridden, black plurality Atlanta is more civilized than Nashville just tells me that your anti-Southern.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  24. @AquariusAnon

    Man, if you think Atlanta roads are third world, you’d count Ukrainian roads as fifth world. Traffic in Atlanta is bad, that’s true, especially on the highways. There aren’t too many blacks in upscale malls there, or where our classmate lives and where we will have a reunion of our University class of 1980 for the second time this year.

    If by aristocracy you mean “old money”, thanks much, I’d rather live w/o them. When you see a total moron driving a Mercedes or BMW, you know it’s old money, and you know that their family IQ ran into the ground three generations earlier.

    South is not the only genuine America, heartland (flyover states, in libtard lingo) is just as genuine. I like it better: friendly, but no-nonsense people, who never bought and never will buy PC BS. There are many honest-to-God eateries there, with good non-synthetic food and white waitresses, you just should not be lazy and drive ~10-15 miles away from highways. Besides, in the heartland you have respectable white ladies cleaning your hotel rooms, not Mexican or black ladies, like in the rest of the country. To me the heartland people feel closer than Southern white trash. Too bad they are the most squeezed by the current globalist libtard establishment. It is the heartland people that the scum calls “deplorables”.

  25. @AnonFromTN

    Tennessee is deep red: Its one of the most “deplorable” states in this country. The bi-coastal establishment hates Tennessee as much as they hate Nebraska. I find middle class and above southern whites to be a bit more knowledgeable than Great Plains whites.

    Nashville demographics is actually no different, if not better, than cities of the same size in the heartland, such as Indianapolis or Kansas City, with a more attractive and more upscale white population, and a better economy. Even smaller heartland capitals like Omaha, Des Moines, and Wichita have almost just as many blacks and Mexicans.

    Regarding white waitresses and housekeepers, you are talking about small towns in the heartland. Check out some of the more prosperous smaller towns in middle and east Tennessee; they are just as good as in the heartland.

    In fact, a majority of the Uber drivers I had in Nashville were nice, friendly, chatty whites from the surrounding white country side. Good luck getting a white Uber driver in Atlanta.

    And yes there is significant old money in Nashville that I noticed. The good ole boy old money class is an integral part of the South, and I guess you hate Williamson County…. again that’s extremely hipster.

    If you hate the South so much, nobody forces you to live in Nashville. We don’t need anti-Southern sovoks in the South. Go to Iowa or something, where they have plenty of space to accommodate Sovoks. Don’t come crying to me when you find out Des Moines is barely whiter than Nashville with a trashier, less educated, worse looking white population.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @AnonFromTN
    , @AnonFromTN
  26. @AnonFromTN

    Have you been to Lenox Mall on a weekend or weekday evening? It is majority black, even though its a very upscale mall!

    There aren’t many blacks in the neighborhoods lining GA-400, but the metro area overall has around equal numbers of blacks and whites, which is a bad sign.

    And regarding your hateful comments on white southerners, you must be judging them from Appalachia, too many of whom are indeed very white trash. In much of the south, the whites are just as honest and hardworking as heartland whites.

    For highest quality native white southerners, I recommend checking out South Carolina.

  27. melanf says:
    @inertial

    Karlsson is not well known in America but Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking is quite popular and is sold in every book store.

    I read something similar about Sweden. It’s hard for me to understand: Pippi Longstocking-a pathetic and boring tale, mediocre writings in comparison with the brilliant stories about tricksters Carlson and Emil

    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    , @inertial
  28. @melanf

    I read something similar about Sweden. It’s hard for me to understand: Pippi Longstocking-a pathetic and boring tale, mediocre writings in comparison with the brilliant stories about tricksters Carlson and Emil

    Although I think Pippi Longstocking is the most popular in Sweden, I remember watching all three on film or animation when I was younger.

  29. utu says:
    @AquariusAnon

    We don’t need anti-Southern sovoks in the South. . – Or in America. He should go back to Russia.

  30. utu says:

    https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/how-bad-writing-destroyed-the-world-9781501313127/
    About How Bad Writing Destroyed the World

    A congressional investigation placed the blame for the financial crisis on Alan Greenspan and his deregulatory policies-his attempts, in essence, to put Ayn Rand’s Objectivism into practice. Though developed most famously in Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Objectivism sprouted from the Rational Egoism of Nikolai Chernyshevsky’s What Is to be Done? (1863), an enormously influential Russian novel decried by the likes of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov for its destructive radical ethics. In tracing the origins of Greenspan’s ruinous ideology, How Bad Writing Destroyed the World combines literary and intellectual history to uncover the danger of hawking “the virtues of selfishness,” even in fiction.

  31. Ender says:

    OT but how do you create a system of livelihood and community around the altright that is not only on the internet? I mean has anybody thought of setting up a right wing kibbutz where those who are banished from society for their views can still find a sense of community and a new home and livelihood? I mean if the prospect of being outed for having right wing views is a lifetime of sleeping on the sidewalk injesting meth, since even burger flipping is of limits to you, and you know that unlike in the case of liberals, you are basically on your own with no prospect of anybody backing you up publicly, then you can hardly blame the altright for having such a low level of popularity, and you can hardly hold people in contempt for fear of losing everything that they have, I mean the hippies at least had their communes. I am talking about building a community where your right wing supporter could air his views without fear of harassment and sleeping on the street, and in order for this to work, you need a 50 50 ratio between males and females of child bearing age, sort of like Orania.

  32. songbird says:
    @Seraphim

    Reading is probably more popular in communist countries.

  33. @AquariusAnon

    Let me make this clear: I do not live in Nashville because I chose to live in Nashville, the only reason I live in Nashville is because I work at Vanderbilt. South has several high-class research Universities, including Vandy, Duke, Emory, UNC. The heartland does not have any Universities at that level. I do like small town folks better than city folks, but I cannot live in a small town, as there won’t be a good University there. The only exception I know is Rochester, MN: a typical corn town with a world-class Mayo Clinic medical and research center in the middle. But, as Mayo grad students told me when I interviewed there, the state bird of Minnesota is a mosquito.

    I was in Charleston, SC, for a few days once. It is quaint, but it did not knock my socks off.
    Living in Nashville you become aware how the people feel about educated folks. That was best expressed by NC senator, who said: “If North Carolina ever needs a zoo, we can fence off Chapel Hill” (Chapel Hill is where UNC is located and where practically all Duke faculty lives: to live in Durham, you need to carry a cocked gun at all times and always be prepared to shoot). It is not universal, but pretty widespread.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
  34. @AquariusAnon

    BTW, on semantics. You can call “Sovok” anyone who treats Deep State propaganda about “horrors” of communism and Deep State propaganda about homos and open borders the same way, i.e., as pure BS. However, this does not make that old BS any more true or trustworthy than new BS.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
  35. It is impossible to ascertain what China is capable of or actually wants. Civilization lasting more than 3500 years just cannot be put in a few words. Even their history is deceptive: now, they’re facing challenges unseen in any slice of the past.

    Tentatively, I would say they will remain Sinocentric, collectivist, politely disinterested in the other parts of the world & generally family-oriented functioning individuals. Middle Kingdom. Confucianism in a new garb. Sure, they are capable of extremism, expansionism, extreme atrocities, utter inhumanity…. but, who with 3000 – 4000 years long history isn’t?

    They, I think, will remain fundamentally racially different from Westerners/whites. There are brain imaging studies in perception, absolute pitch frequency, … They’re different. It remains an interesting question: do they have the capacity, or psychological profile, to enjoy or understand parts of high Western culture (music, literature,…)? Sure, we also have changed (moral of Homer’s Iliad is alien to most of us). But, while I do enjoy heights of Chinese culture in some aspects (religion, philosophy)- their music, literature & visual arts still remain basically incomprehensible.
    Language is not the only barrier.

    Our cultural heroes, from Prometheus, Dionysus, Christ,… & our deepest identity currents are, I think, essentially unacceptable to them. So are our types of humor.

    As for Russians & West, Russians are freakish immature Westerners. Important English writer E.M.Forster has, some time before WWI, concluded that the English were great physically, mentally in good shape, solid but nothing spectacular & underdeveloped emotionally. Russians are- my opinion- overdeveloped emotionally, but they need to grow their rational self. This is immaturity, but Western-type immaturity. These are stereotypes, but for now I’m satisfied with them.

    Lenin & Chernyshevsky. It is perfectly reasonable that this work had had a liberating effect on him. Imagine you’re living in a stifling autocracy & small, still voice is telling you that life can be great, purposeful, free & fulfilled. It must have been similar to religious revelation. It is not a literary quality of the revelation that matters.

    How it all ended, we know….

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    , @Seraphim
    , @utu
    , @AaronB
  36. Common courtesy is a small price to pay for control of the world’s largest landmass, nuclear arsenal and cache of natural resources.

    • Replies: @songbird
  37. songbird says:
    @John Gruskos

    It is an interesting contrast to Zhou Enlai.

  38. @AnonFromTN

    You may or may not be a Sovok, but you are a Dixiephobe. Its one thing to feel disdain towards the dregs of Southern society, who can indeed be pretty horrible like the dregs of most societies, but its another to also hate the upper middle class and old money elite of the South too. This is full on Dixiephobia.

    Being Dixiephobic runs counter to being pro-Russian, pro-LDNR anti-neoliberalism.txt. Keep in mind that the biggest bi-coastal Russophobes have the exact same thoughts on southerners that you do.

  39. @AnonFromTN

    The NC Senator is right. Chapel Hill, and its extension, Carrboro, *is* a cesspool of neoliberalism.txt, due to all the neoliberal professors and students at UNC and Duke. Its presence is an affront to Dixie values, because just like you, they think that southerners are dumb hicks and go out of their way to put down, and refuse to associate with them and their culture. North Carolina would be a better place without Chapel Hill/Carrboro.

    Nashville and Middle Tennessee natives hate you not because they hate academia, but because they hate the anti-southern holier-than-thou attitude that academia brings. Keep in mind a significant amount of these people went to college or even graduate school themselves.

    The South doesn’t monopolize good schools. Lots of great schools in the Midwest too: UIUC, UW-Madison, WUSTL, Purdue, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and even Ohio State are just some examples of cutting-edge, world class research universities in the Heartland with research capabilities just as good as Vanderbilt.

    Now that you are “stuck” in Nashville, you have to embrace the local southern culture of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Hating a place you are stuck living in is really counterproductive and not healthy.

    And while Chapel Hill needs to be fenced in as a zoo, some parts of Nashville too, need to be fenced in due to toxic neoliberalism.txt or anti-Southern values. East Nashville is cancer, so is Hillsboro Village to a lesser extent. The worst is Fido’s on Hillsboro. They don’t even serve sweet tea!

    Overall, there’s too many Dixiephobic hipster (or AnonFromTN) transplants in Nashville. Any more of them come, then Nashville will be the next Austin, and kiss goodbye to Southern hospitality, conservative values, Christianity, and country music.

    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @Dmitry
  40. Dmitry says:
    @AquariusAnon

    Lol I won’t dismiss this kind of surreal conversation – it is why Anatoly Karlin’s forum on Unz is only for the cognoscenti.

    If I remember the user correctly, AnonfromTN is a civilized old man. Asking his demographic to be passionate for country music, is like asking heterosexual men to suddenly fall in love with the Eurovision Song Contest.

    Find for him some classical piano recital in this area.

    • LOL: Anatoly Karlin
    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  41. Dmitry says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    will remain fundamentally racially different from Westerners/whites.

    Bardon you write interesting comments.

    Today, Chinese are still very socially different, strange and “stiff”, but this is not as fixed as you write, and this is changing rapidly with the new generations.

    I know only from my personal experience in my own life. For example, I remember when I was studying for several months to prepare for the IELTS exam, and had a constant rotation of nationalities as classmates. And today I also work and live in a very mixed nationalities (although with different nationalities) environment.

    The easiest classmates to study with were people like Italians and Mexicans, and the most annoying and strange (although still sympathetic) are Saudis, Chinese. However, I remember a Chinese girl who was extroverted and friends with Italians, Russians, Brazilians, Mexicans, Ukrainians, Japanese.

    Nihilistically, everyone in the class was equally excited when the iPhone 5 was released (this was in 2012).

    Cultural distance in communication between I and my grandparents’ generation, is already larger than between many nationalities.

    A question what is actually happening to all our minds with this process is not discussed enough. What happens when your children go to summer schools with other nationalities, learn the same foreign languages, while using the same software, watching the same football, and watching the same films?

    I don’t think there is exactly homogenization of the soul, as long as everyone goes home to their own culture and traditions. But the kind of social social strangeness and oddness which we perceive today with the Chinese today will be a lot less in the future generations.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    , @Hyperborean
    , @utu
  42. Dmitry says:
    @Dmitry

    happens when your children go to summer schools with other nationalities

    Incidentally, as a positive byproduct, they can learn how inaccurate a lot of media portrayals of different nationalities are. In real life, Mexicans, for example, can be almost the opposite of how they are described in American media and films.

  43. Dmitry says:
    @Gerard2

    but they did fall out very badly with the soviets

    I am not knowledgeable in this topic, but how did these writers Chernyshevsky, Nekrasov and Sholokhov fall out?

    Shakespeare were still very popular

    Shakespeare is a really great writer. At this level, writers become accessible to all intelligent readers, not limited to local audiences, and are even great in translation.

    Translating Shakespeare must be extremely stimulating and enjoyable work.

  44. @Dmitry

    Chinese people are generally extroverted and probably have been since the cultural revolution (I’m guessing here).

    Even old ladies are like that.

    In fact, this is somewhat annoying, because I prefer ‘colder’ nationalities.

    I haven’t interacted on a deep level with that many Koreans or Japanese compared to Chinese, but if their cultural self-image is correct, I think I would find it easier to get along with Japanese or Koreans.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  45. Seraphim says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Western ‘maturity’ = narcissistic navel gazing. West the Best, f**k the Rest. Give them Chernyshevsky and Lenin to speed up their maturation. They have the guns.
    Maturation is followed by decay. The West matured too much.

  46. Dmitry says:
    @Hyperborean

    I haven’t meet a large number of Chinese, but the ones I have talked to were a bit difficult to understand in my personal experience (even at the high language level).

    Yes, all Japanese I have met seem unusually sympathetic and courteous. This is not just as “customer service” in Japan, but also meeting them in the West.

    Koreans I have never met.

    The nationality I’ve found difficult to talk to (offline), are Americans – although to be honest, I’ve never really talked to any for more than ten minutes in a personal context. But my older brother has a lot more experience with Americans and also says they were usually not socially so friendly with him after some time (and he’s more polite than I).

  47. Dmitry says:
    @Dmitry

    I’m wondering – maybe with some ignorance – if this is one reason Americans are so nationally successful? Perhaps it is linked to being on average quite difficult and workaholic characters.

    Although, perhaps this is just nonsense – last time we were talking about this topic on this forum a few months past, people here were dismissing my view, saying Americans are generally very hospitable.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
  48. Dmitry says:
    @Dmitry

    Koreans I have never met.

    I mean the actual Koreans – but I would assume they are now becoming socially similar to Japanese, as a result of their high economic development level in South Korea, high social capital in Korea, and the similarity of life-style to Japan?

  49. @Dmitry

    In my experience, Americans are just as different as anyone. I had three American grad students, one extraverted, two introverted, they all become good company after they figure out that you can be trusted. Besides, most Americans become a lot more human after a drink or two.

  50. @Dmitry

    The closest to Nashville really good orchestra and decent opera are in Chicago. Even that is not world-class; say, Met opera is way above. Met is at the highest level, along with La Scala, Bolshoi, Mariinka, Berlin Statsopera, Munich, Vienna, and others at the top. Technically, Nashville has an opera company. A few years back they launched a promotion campaign under a slogan “Nashville opera – it’s not what you think”. Soon enough they stopped that, figuring (correctly) that this slogan tells people that Nashville opera is exactly what they think.

  51. @Dmitry

    I would say Americans are easy to talk to. Its just harder to make a deep connection with them. And a lot of times, the region they are from will determine how easy they are to talk to. The South and the Midwest are tied for the most easy to talk to, who are either a friendly and talkative bunch. This is followed by the West Coast, and then last would be the Northeast, who can be rude and antisocial. America is too diverse/large to generalize as a country.

    Chinese are indeed very different. They are pretty extroverted within their social circles, but Chinese people, especially those living overseas, are a highly insular and closed off group: they make little to no contact with locals wherever they go. Its quite easy to make friends with other Chinese if you are Chinese, but friendships can evolve into being quite transactional.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  52. @Dmitry

    Americans are generally very friendly to strangers. They certainly are not workaholics. In fact, the majority of Americans is lazier than the majority of Russians. Another difference: in Russia a person who is good in his chosen field but does not know anything else, including literature and music, would be called “professional cretin”. In the US this is the norm. I met very few Americans who knew things educated Russians take for granted. But there are those in the US, and many of them are quite successful. Decent people just do not go into politics in the US, this sphere is left to greedy spineless shit with no self-respect, mostly with below average intelligence (smart shit of this description goes into law; failed lawyers often end up in politics).

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  53. Dmitry says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Americans are generally very friendly to strangers.

    Yes this is what people said to me. But also that it is difficult to make friends if you live there. I know that the “working environment” (even without discussing the high salaries) can be very good in America.

    They certainly are not workaholics. In fact, the majority of Americans is lazier than the majority of Russians.

    Lol – ok I guess some things like the attitude to lawns, is misleading me.

    I met very few Americans who knew things educated Russians take for granted. But there are those in the US, and many of them are quite successful.

    Although to be honest, American internet users we read here – like Mr Hack, Utu, AP (it’s Ukrainian American), AaronB, Thorfinnson, and some others – mainly seem to have cultural knowledge. But this is probably more Karlin’s forum attracting all the most strange and eccentric cognoscenti.

    • Replies: @AnonFromTN
    , @Hyperborean
  54. Dmitry says:
    @AquariusAnon

    are a highly insular and closed off group

    Have you also seen the boyfriends bullying their girlfriends in public, and shouting at another in the restaurants?

    I’ve seen this in the train where I live (this in Western Europe), and also the last time I was in a restaurant there was a young Chinese boyfriend and girlfriend shouting at each other without embarrassment.

    • Replies: @AquariusAnon
  55. @Dmitry

    A lot of times, its the girlfriend starting shit angering the boyfriend or throwing a public temper tantrum. And since most Chinese guys have poor frame, they shout back.

    Are most of the Chinese people you see tourists? I find that Chinese girls are especially non-agreeable when they travel.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  56. @Dmitry

    What Americans call “friend” in Russia would be called an acquaintance – someone you know but are not very close to. There is rarely true friendship in the US. If you want a real friend, socialize with Russians, Ukrainians, Italians, etc.

    The lawns are not really voluntary. In most places there is homeowners association that keeps an eye on your lawn. If it seems to overgrow, they will warn you, and if you don’t mow it next weekend, they will hire a pro to mow it and hand you the bill. The same is true if the paint on your house is peeling, or something else on those lines. They will make sure your property does not look uncared for or dilapidated, as that would depress their property values. In most cities there are ordinances specifying how tall you grass should be, and if it is taller than that, your neighbors will rat on you, the city will send mowers, charge you for their work, and fine you.

    Unz represents maybe 0.1% of America. You could have noticed that at least half of posters here are Europeans, and about half of the “American” half are foreigners (even Ukies are foreigners, however much they try to show their loyalty to their adopted country; probably out of fear of being sent back to their shithole).

  57. utu says:
    @Dmitry

    What happens when your children go to summer schools with other nationalities…

    There are NGO’s targeting countries with more traditional cultures which organize camps and retreats for teenagers with an emphasis on girls where the teachers and counselors are young foreigners (mostly men) to open them up culturally…, to fight xenophobia…Sexual attraction and curiosity is the greatest destroyer of walls. Anyway people who come up with these NGOs and who finance them certainly know what is their goal. While the parents who send their children there have no clue thinking it is a language immersion camp or something tangible and practical. It really is close to pedophilia and child abuse. These NGO’s concentrate on population from small provincial towns because the “opening up” process in large cities does not need help and prodding into the multiculturalism.

    BTW, Putin was so right to restrict operations of foreign NGO’s in Russia.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  58. utu says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    “…but for now I’m satisfied with them.” – I do not like to agree yet but you are onto something. I have returned to Nabokov’s essay which I read recently where what he writes might be very a propos of what you wrote:

    https://www.nytimes.com/1981/08/23/magazine/nabokov-on-dostoyevsky.html
    Not to go completely mad in those surroundings, Dostoyevsky had to find some sort of escape. This he found in a neurotic Christianism which he developed during these years. It is only natural that some of the convicts among whom he lived showed, besides dreadful bestiality, an occasional human trait. Dostoyevsky gathered these manifestations and built upon them a kind of very artificial and completely pathological idealization of the simple Russian folk.

    His attitude toward the Government had completely changed since the days of his youthful radicalism. ”Greek-Catholic church, absolute monarchy, and the cult of Russian nationalism,” these three props on which stood the reactionary political Slavophilism were his political faith. The theories of socialism and Western liberalism became for him the embodiments of Western contamination and of satanic sin bent upon the destruction of a Slavic and Greek-Catholic world.

    This emotional overdevelopment of Russians you posited may actually has something to do with sentimentality that Nabokov finds in Dostoyevsky which is not to be confused with a true sensitivity:

    We must distinguish between ”sentimental” and ”sensitive.” A sentimentalist may be a perfect brute in his free time. A sensitive person is never a cruel person. Sentimental Rousseau, who could weep over a progressive idea, distributed his many natural children through various poorhouses and workhouses and never gave a hoot for them. A sentimental old maid may pamper her parrot and poison her niece. The sentimental politician may remember Mother’s Day and ruthlessly destroy a rival. Stalin loved babies. Lenin sobbed at the opera, especially at a performance of ”Traviata.” A whole century of authors praised the simple life of the poor, and so on. Remember that when we speak of sentimentalists, among them Richardson, Rousseau, Dostoyevsky, we mean the nonartistic exaggeration of familiar emotions meant to provoke automatically traditional compassion in the reader.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  59. @Dmitry

    Although to be honest, American internet users we read here – like Mr Hack, Utu, AP (it’s Ukrainian American), AaronB, Thorfinnson, and some others – mainly seem to have cultural knowledge. But this is probably more Karlin’s forum attracting all the most strange and eccentric cognoscenti.

    There are a lot more Americans in other parts of UR, they will most likely be more representative.

  60. Looks like Russian literature is genuinely popular in China, so Xi Jinping may well even be telling the unvarnished truth.

    He is certainly an intellectual, unlike Trump, so I could certainly see him reading Russian literature in between books on AI.

    • Replies: @melanf
  61. melanf says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Looks like Russian literature is genuinely popular in Russia

    No. Russian “classical” literature (Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, etc.) is forcibly studied at school (and in monstrous volumes). It naturally develops a reflex in schoolchildren-classical literature is something incredibly boring and dull, reading such books is a pleasure for masochists. Among the “classics” there are authors who are quite interesting and relevant (almost all famous poets since Pushkin, Gogol, both Alexei Tolstoy, Bulgakov), but the main part of classical literature in Russia – is whitewashed tombs. Normal People read George Martin and Tolkien (and their Russian counterparts) and try to forget (like a nightmare) Leo Tolstoy from the school curriculum.

    • Replies: @Hyperborean
    , @Dmitry
    , @inertial
  62. @melanf

    From context, I think we can see, Karlin mistyped and meant to say ‘Russian literature is genuinely popular in China’.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
  63. Dmitry says:
    @utu

    I’m not talking about NGOs (wtf is this?), but about normal international summer schools which I have myself studied when I was both a teenager and young adult.

    When I was a teenager, I studied in summer courses in English and even studied German in a summer (although I failed to learn German) in Salzburg.

    I also studied as an adult (after university) for English exams, for several months, in one of the most prestigious schools.

    Here below you can see how young adults prepare for the English exams (this is in New York – I was studying only in England).

    In these places, there is a constant rotation of different nationalities almost every week. So after a few months, you have studied with half of the world. Some weeks your class is inundated with Saudi fellows, who slow the class. Then they leave, and week later you are studying with Swiss, Kuwaitis, Japanese, etc.

    Summer school for children is like below.

    She is in a good school with small classes. At 7:00 – this is how rapport with children of different nationalities like Mexicans and Italians is naturally.

    Video below at 1:20 – you can see how much more adequate the new generation of Chinese are becoming.

    Just briefly looking at YouTube videos of these, reminds me of a lot of memories.. In my time, which was more than a decade ago, we didn’t have nationalities like Indians.

    All this is a much better model for international interaction, than occurs from “open borders”, illegal immigration and multiculturalism.

    A paradox is why a experience is so utopian, compared to how dystopian most relations between nationalities are.

    In the international course, children become much more patriotic and proud of their languages, than normally. The cultural differences seem larger than normally, but these differences become also something very pleasant and distinguished.

    When meeting in neutral space and language, there is not “dissolution of national characteristics”, but the opposite – people exaggerate them.

    People realize the beautiful aspect of own their culture (from mannerisms, to humour), when they see it perceived positively in the eyes of others. Italian classmates in this context are extremely exaggeratedly Italian and pretentious – more than you see in Italy. Latin American girls, are behaving very glamorously, not like unmoored Mexican immigrants in America.

    When you meet other nationalities in this context, the desire is not to erase cultural difference, but to want a world to maintain its unique and separate countries. This is also the correct model of civilization where uninteresting, often initially unpleasant, characteristics of peoples are, by historical isolation, sublimated into interestingly divergent attitudes to life.

  64. Dmitry says:
    @melanf

    I would not generalize so much by author.

    For example, the second half of Dostoevsky’s “Idiot” would be great for teenagers (it has a very addictive love story if you read this far). But it is not in the school program.

    The problem is “Crime and Punishment” in the school program, for 16 year olds – very few enjoy it.

    Tolstoy’s War and Peace is not suitable for 16 year olds and I would remove him, but he is a great (in the parts I have read) writer if he is read by adults in their 20s .

    As for comparisons to George Martin, it does not need to be in school, precisely because anyone can read it for pleasure anyway.

    The best foreign literature was Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in the school program – but it should have been read two years later than it was. I wonder what age they read “Romeo and Juliet” in America and England?

    • Replies: @melanf
  65. Dmitry says:
    @AquariusAnon

    Are most of the Chinese people you see tourists? I find that Chinese girls are especially non-agreeable when they travel.

    I think the Chinese near where I am are students. I’m not really sure though.

    Near where I live, there are sometimes young Chinese couples. I read there are a lot of the apartments purchased by people from Singapore (so some of these could be from places like Singapore).

  66. @utu

    Nabokov writes on something that is beyond his powers of comprehension. True, he is right about two things: Dostoevsky’s ideology & a streak of sentimentality in him- basically something he got from potboilers he re-read & from Dickens he admired. It is not much debatable that Dostoevsky’s ideology is laughable & generally, naive.

    But, Freud was closer to truth in his assessment of Dostoevsky in his essay “Dostoevsky and Parricide”.

    The moralist in Dostoevsky is the most readily assailable. If we seek to rank him high as a moralist on the plea that only a man who has gone through the depths of sin can reach the highest summit of morality, we are neglecting a doubt that arises. A moral man is one who reacts to temptation as soon as he feels it in his heart, without yielding to it. A man who alternately sins and then in his remorse erects high moral standards lays himself open to the reproach that he has made things too easy for himself. He has not achieved the essence of morality, renunciation, for the moral conduct of life is a practical human interest. He reminds one of the barbarians of the great migrations, who murdered and did penance for it, till penance became an actual technique for enabling murder to be done. Ivan the Terrible behaved in exactly this way; indeed this compromise with morality is a characteristic Russian trait. Nor was the final outcome of Dostoevsky’s moral strivings anything very glorious. After the most violent struggles to reconcile the instinctual demands of the individual with the claims of the community, he landed in the retrograde position of submission both to temporal and spiritual authority, of veneration both for the Tsar and for the God of the Christians, and of a narrow Russian nationalism – a position which lesser minds have reached with smaller effort. This is the weak point in that great personality. Dostoevsky threw away the chance of becoming a teacher and liberator of humanity and made himself one with their gaolers. The future of human civilization will have little to thank him for. It seems probable that he was condemned to this failure by his neurosis. The greatness of his intelligence and the strength of his love for humanity might have opened to him another, an apostolic, way of life.

    So far, so good. This is what a reasonable modern civilized person would perceive in Dostoevsky’s work.

    Yet, being an atheist & materialist, Freud couldn’t comprehend that what really mattered in Dostoevsky was not his ideology, nor lapses into sentimentality, nor his preachy world-view. Dostoevsky is pneumatologist, not a psychologist. He is, to use Freud’s disciple Jung’s ideas, archetypal writer who wrote scriptures in the guise of ordinary novels. Archetypes are his true field, and he is there with only a handful writers, mostly founders of religions or very few philosophers.

    American critic Harold Bloom has, with a deeper & wider understanding, temporarily (and only partially) subdued his Jewish bias & in his small book on novelists wrote better & more insightful comment (being a Gnostic on steroids only helped Bloom in this case)

    Dostoevsky had his own mode of humor, but he might not have appreciated Perelman either. Crime and Punishment is less apocalyptic than The Brothers Karamazov, but it is apocalyptic enough. It is also tendentious in the extreme, which is the point of Perelman’s parody, but Dostoevsky is so great a tragedian that this does not matter. Raskolnikov is a powerful representation of the will demonized by its own strength, while Svidrigailov is beyond that, and stands on the border of a convincing phantasmagoria. Until the unfortunate epilogue, no other narrative fiction drives itself onwards with the remorseless strength of Crime and Punishment, truly a shot out of hell and into hell again. To have written a naturalistic novel that reads like a continuous nightmare is Dostoevsky’s unique achievement.

    Raskolnikov never does repent and change, unless we believe the epilogue, in which Dostoevsky himself scarcely believed. Despair causes his surrender to Porfiry, but even his despair never matches the fierce ecstasy he has achieved in violating all limits. He breaks what can be broken and yet does not break himself. He cannot be broken, not because he has found any truth, objective or psychological, but because he has known, however momentarily, the nihilistic abyss, a Gnostic freedom of what is beyond our sense of being creatures in God’s creation. Konstantin Mochulsky is surely right to emphasize that Raskolnikov never comes to believe in redemption, never rejects his theory of strength and power. His surrender, as Mochulsky says, “is not a sign of penitence but of pusillanimity.” We end up with a pre-Christian tragic hero ruined by blind fate, at least in his own vision. But this is about as unattractive as a tragic hero can be, because Raskolnikov comes too late in cultural history to seem a Prometheus rather than a bookish intellectual. In a Christian context, Prometheus assimilates to Satan, and Raskolnikov’s pride begins to seem too satanic for tragedy.

    Socio-culturally, Freud (and on a more shallow level, Nabokov) was more or less, right. But one cannot judge archetypal texts solely- or primarily- by these standards.

    • Replies: @Seraphim
  67. melanf says:
    @Dmitry

    As for comparisons to George Martin, it does not need to be in school, precisely because anyone can read it for pleasure anyway.

    The task of the school is to encourage people to start reading for their own pleasure. Forcing students to read books for children not intended, and for children absolutely incomprehensible is a real crime. According to this, 90% of the” classics ” (especially the whole Leo Tolstoy) should be removed from the school curriculum. Instead, the school should invite the children themselves to choose books (for reading, discussion in the classroom, etc.) from the list of books interesting for children.

    Tolstoy’s is a great (in the parts I have read) writer

    I don’t know how to measure greatness. But there is one difference of Tolstoy from other writers. Turgenev, Goncharov, Chekhov, Dostoevsky taught reasonable things (knowledge is better than ignorance, work is better than laziness, etc.) but Leo Tolstoy was completely insane, and taught insane things. His advice goes straight to hell.

    On this, it is better that as few people as possible read the books Of Leo Tolstoy. It is best that this author has been completely forgotten.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    , @Dmitry
    , @Seraphim
  68. inertial says:
    @melanf

    I can’t speak for Sweden but English-language children literature doesn’t lack for magical trickster playmates. Pippi, on the other hand, is unique.

    • Replies: @melanf
  69. inertial says:
    @melanf

    I have heard the claim that foreign translations of Tolstoy are better than the original. I can’t confirm it myself because I haven’t read Tolstoy since school. I really should but the school year caused me to associate Tolstoy with pain. I should read him but I can’t bring myself.

  70. melanf says:
    @inertial

    but English-language children literature doesn’t lack for magical trickster playmates.

    Name one who can compare to Carlson and Emil?

    Pippi, on the other hand, is unique.

    Children’s version of Mary Sue

    • Replies: @inertial
  71. inertial says:
    @melanf

    Sure. For Karlsson: Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh (the book version, not the Disney version,) pretty much every supporting character from Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle, Paddington Bear, characters from Narnia that I can’t remember right now, and ditto Harry Potter. I am sure there is a lot that I am forgetting.

    I haven’t read Emil, it wasn’t that popular in the USSR. But judging from description, how about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn?

    “Children’s version of Mary Sue.” Duh. Of course!

    • Replies: @melanf
  72. melanf says:
    @inertial

    Sure. For Karlsson: Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh (the book version, not the Disney version,) pretty much every supporting character from Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle, Paddington Bear, characters from Narnia that I can’t remember right now, and ditto Harry Potter.

    Of course,” children’s ” tricksters are known for a long time (Tom thumb), but they do not get close to the level of Carlson. Either too sugar (Pen, Potter) or too stupid (Winnie the Pooh-really not a trickster but a simpleton)

    I haven’t read Emil, it wasn’t that popular in the USSR. But judging from description, how about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn?

    Tom Sawyer is close, but Emil is much better (as children’s literature at least)

  73. Seraphim says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    All ‘critics’ of Dostoevsky who pretend to see in the personages of Dostoevsky a description of the psycho-pathologies of Russia, reveal at certain moments the real object of their criticism: “veneration both for the Tsar and for the God of the Christians, and of a narrow Russian nationalism”, the objects of the burning hatred of the godless revolutionary ‘teachers and liberators of humanity’, who would kill the Tsar, kill the boyars, kill the popes, tear down the churches, kill the nationalists. These ‘liberators’ Dostoevsky denounces as the real psychopaths who would bring disaster upon Russia (and who would certainly have executed him). They are the first ‘Russophobes’.
    The most critical don’t beat around the psycho babble bush and point directly to his “nasty antisemitism and the tedious jingoism of his ‘Russian idea’ as exhibited in his Diary of a Writer”, “fantasies linked with the most savage pogroms”.
    Where they all fail is in their incapacity to understand that Dostoevsky was a pious Orthodox in the traditional mold and not a messianic prophet like Solovyov and Berdyaev, the undercover Bolshevik agent of influence (the true authors of the “Russian idea”), because they do not have the faintest idea what Orthodoxy really is. They never read the words and teachings of Starets Zosima to Aliosha Karamazov.

  74. Dmitry says:
    @melanf

    especially the whole Leo Tolstoy) should be removed from the school curriculum.

    This is true, to an extent. Most students are just skipping and reading online summaries nowadays.

    According to this, 90% of the” classics

    To return to Dostoevsky. “Crime and Punishment” should be removed from the school program.

    However, abridged (edited) version of “Idiot”, would be great with teenagers, because it is an addictive, love story in the second half of the book.

    If the text could be coherently edited and reduced, to focus on the second part.

    but Leo Tolstoy was completely insane, and taught insane things. His advice goes straight to hell.

    You can skip parts where it is talking about his political and social ideas (most people are skipping). There’s still very great scenes, descriptions and he is a great writer.

    Two years ago, I read Anna Karenina. I skip many boring, self-indulgent pages, of political ideas. But some scenes inside the book are just excellent and memorable (I usually forget books a few weeks after reading, but I can remember this book quite well).

    However, this book is not suitable for teenagers.

  75. Dmitry says:
    @melanf

    Instead, the school should invite the children themselves to choose books (for reading, discussion in the classroom, etc.) from the list of books interesting for children.

    Then they will all be reading Harry Potter in grade 11.

    The number of books available should be reduced, and they should be suitable for teenagers – but they should also be serious books which they would not read anyway.

    Sasha Spilberg was actually recommending good books to her audience of teenagers: “1984” by George Orwell (I have read this and it’s quite interesting), “Picture of Dorian Grey”, etc.

    “Romeo and Juliet” is great, but should be for two grades later than currently.

  76. Seraphim says:
    @melanf

    Not only Tolstoy’s advice goes to hell, but sadly Tolstoy himself. People seem to be unaware of the fact that Tolstoy was excommunicated by the Orthodox Church for his insane teachings. In actual fact he ‘excommunicated’ himself.
    “It is perfectly justifiable that I have renounced the Church that calls itself Orthodox… I renounce all the sacraments… I have truly renounced the Church, I have stopped fulfilling its rites, and I have written in my will to my close ones that they should not allow any clergymen from the Church near me when I will be dying…”.
    “I believe in the following: I believe in God, Whom I understand as spirit, as love, as the source of all. I believe that He is in me, and I in Him. I believe that the will of God is most clearly and intelligibly expressed in the teaching of the man Christ, whom to consider as God, and to pray to, I consider the greatest blasphemy”.
    ““That I deny the incomprehensible Trinity; the fable of the fall of the first man, which is altogether meaningless in our time; and the blasphemous story of a God born to a virgin to redeem the human race – is absolutely true”.

    He died as he wished, although apparently he had second thoughts when death came knocking at his door. Probably he saw what was awaiting him.

    The Church only confirmed his abjuration:
    “In our days, God has permitted a new false teacher to appear – Count Leo Tolstoy. A writer well known to the world, Russian by birth, Orthodox by baptism and education, Count Tolstoy, under the seduction of his intellectual pride, has insolently risen against the Lord and His Christ and against His holy heritage, and has publicly, in the sight of all men, repudiated the Orthodox Mother Church, which reared and educated him, and has devoted his literary activity, and the talent given to him by God, to disseminating among the people teachings repugnant to Christ and the Church, and to destroying in the minds and hearts of men their national faith, the Orthodox faith, which has been confirmed by the universe, and in which our forefathers lived and were saved, and to which till now Holy Russia has held and in which it has been strong.
    Therefore the Church does not reckon him as its member, and cannot so reckon him, until he repents and resumes his communion with her. To this we bear witness to-day before the whole Church, for the confirmation of the faithful and the reproof of those who have gone astray, especially for the fresh reproof of Count Tolstoy himself. Many of those near to him, retaining their faith, reflect with sorrow that he, at the end of his days, remains without faith in God and in our Lord and Saviour, having rejected the blessings and prayers of the Church and all communion with her”.

    ‘War and Peace’ was written before his ‘conversion’ to anarchism. It retains a dose of sanity, although the seeds of insanity started to grow in the very process of writing the ‘docudrama’ (highly fantasist) of War and Peace (perhaps that’s why it is so easily adaptable for the screen).
    Interestingly, it was roughly the same period when Dostoevsky undertook the opposite conversion.

  77. Seraphim says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Not only in Russia, but in Eastern Europe in general. As a child and teenager I was reading (in Romanian translation, of course) “The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson”, “Gosta Berling Saga”, “Christin Lavransdatter”, “Njáls saga”, and many other. Practically all major, and many minor works of the universal literature (contemporary included) and art history have been translated and were available in numerous editions and very much in demand. The high school curriculum included a course of universal literature.

  78. AaronB says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Chinese poetry and landscape painting is very accessible to Westerners and widely appreciated by them.

    Chinese love Western classical music and literature, with an apparent fondness for Russian literature, the most stormy and emotionally extreme of Western literature, and French literature, the most excitable and passionate.

    I find the Chinese some of the most easy Asians to talk to while travelling, and many have a very easy going Western manner.

    The only people easier to talk to are the Japanese – who seem to have settled into a relaxed frame of mind after their Great War and just seem to be happy, easy going, and chilled out these days. They are the only Asians with seemingly no chip on their shoulders via a vis Westerners, and can relate to us on terms of complete ease and equality.

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