poemless. a slap in the face of public taste.

May 14, 2010

Baby pictures!

Filed under: Culture: Russia — poemless @ 3:38 PM
Tags: ,
No – I didn’t have one. 
God forbid.  I hate babies.  “Hate” may be the wrong word.  I hold no real animosity against babies themselves.  They didn’t choose to be babies.  Mostly it’s the parents I hate.  And the cult of parenthood.  Oof.  But babies, children, mostly I feel sorry for them.  They all seem a little confused and angry and sad on the inside, and hysterical on the outside.  The other day my cat ran into a little girl in the hallway of my apartment building.  They were both bewildered.  I like putting animals and babies together.  It’s miraculous.  The little two legged beasts turn into angels, the absolute personification of the sublime, and the little four legged beasts turn into saints, nobly tolerating the demands and abuse of the two legged beasts because that is why they were put in this earth.  Like star-crossed lovers, they eventually had to be torn apart and returned to their proper families.  Oscar actually seemed somewhat terrified and disoriented when we got back inside.  He’s not used to children.  I can’t even verify that he’s ever been handled by one before.  I tried to explain to him what children were.  “Like, half space alien, half pet,” I told him.  Keep in mind I treat pets like children, so I’m not advocating giving kids as presents or locking them in the garage.  I just mean, they are small and needy and silly and it makes us feel good to care for them.  Yet they grow in us and often need to be cut out of our stomachs, they make up their own languages and can’t really be trusted. And have big eyes and small bodies.  Like aliens.  Oscar looked at me like I was the alien and sat down in front of the tv to watch a documentary on the Spanish Inquisition.
Anyway, baby pictures!  Care of FP Passport:
Aw…  Normally when I’m shown pictures of people’s children I have to lie and pretend like I care and then I punish them by showing them photos of my cat which instead makes them pity me for some reason and frankly it’s not right because I think I’ve got the better deal.  But you have to admit, this is a cute kid!  Those eyes!  My mother warned me of Russian boys before I got on the plane to Moscow.  Then she repeatedly sent letters repeating those warnings.  Specifically, she warned of “puckish” Russian boys with their “impish” eyes.  Looks like they’re born with them…  Also, Medvedev’s mother (far right) is beautiful too.
Once a nature boy, always a nature boy…  I suppose the only real surprise should be that he manages to put on a shirt for formal occasions.  Truthfully, though, he seems a bit cold.  Well, it doesn’t look like he had the same picture-perfect happy childhood as his protege.  Life in Post-War Russia must have been rather hard.  Compared to all of the cheezy, goofy, nary-a-care-in-the-world childhood pictures of my family (and all others I’ve seen) in mid-1950’s America, this looks downright tragic.  Could be right out of a Dovzhenko still taken decades earlier.  Or one of those late-nite Feed the Children PSA’s.  No wonder we were afraid of Communism. 
And no wonder they were afraid of us…


  1. “Life in Post-War Russia must have been rather hard.”

    It was. There was famine 1946-47, because the German occupation had ruined agriculture in the occupied areas, along with about everything else. the task of reconstruction was collossal.

    Of course, in the West it was widely believed that the USSR would soon attack. Our paranoia really is without limit.

    Comment by rkka — May 15, 2010 @ 1:46 PM | Reply

    • What kind of astonishes me is that this photo must have been taken in the mid 1950’s, a decade after the war. It’s just very unlike the photos I’ve seen of typical American families of that era.

      Comment by poemless — May 16, 2010 @ 3:56 PM | Reply

      • Wars of racial extermination, especially when conducted with Teutonic thoroughness and attention to detail, take a very long time to recover from. Belarus did not recover it’s 1940 population level until the mid-1970s.

        Comment by rkka — May 16, 2010 @ 5:12 PM | Reply

  2. “And no wonder they were afraid of us…”

    I wonder if they actually were, at that point in time. It seems the Americans were the ones who took the whole Communist/nuclear threat seriously, not the Russians. At least in the latter years.

    Comment by olivegreen — May 16, 2010 @ 4:28 AM | Reply

    • The Russians took it pretty seriously, and frankly, at least in the latter years, had far more reason to. Which is to say, the US had more to gain and the USSR more to lose from it. But the threat for both sides was very real, is only because of the nature of nuclear weapons. As much as I railed on Hoffman’s “The Dead Hand,” I find myself coming back to it over and over. I really recommend it.

      But the reason for fear that I was alluding to was one of financial superpowerdom, not nec. military superpowerdom.

      Also, I think we can distinguish between what the average person felt and what the official line was. For example, I don’t know many people who are actively afraid of terrorists. We just live with the possibility of terrorism. But the state trumps up the fear of terrorism to justify its policies. I would not be surprised if the same dynamic were in place during the Cold War.

      Comment by poemless — May 16, 2010 @ 4:03 PM | Reply

      • I am going by how the situation was described by my parents’ generation. They definitely did not live in fear, independent of what the state told them. Nobody cared much about what the state was saying by that time, that’s my general impression. It was a kind of white noise. This is not to say they did not realise that nuclear weapons were destructive. It is just the actual belief in the reality of an attack.

        Comment by olivegreen — May 17, 2010 @ 3:40 AM | Reply

      • If you are talking about what those in power were afraid of, you are probably right.

        Comment by olivegreen — May 17, 2010 @ 3:47 AM | Reply

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