Feb 11, 2011

Эпилог (7/6?)

After the great upheaval of the Russian Civil War, but before the great upheaval of Stalin's counter-revolution, there was a great upheaval in the Soviet Union.  The arts - suppressed before and after the 1920's - saw an unprecedented flourishing in that decade, unleashed by the iconoclastic spirit of the Revolution.  Everything new was in vogue, and great strides were made in literature, film, animation, music, and any other art form I can't think of right now. But the Russians have a saying:  "What goes up, must not go up."  In the winter of Stalinism, the arts, like the political system, entered a deep freeze.  Stalin's 'socialist realism' became the only permissible artistic style, and the government effectively silenced any artists who dared deviate from that norm.  "Formalism," the Stalinist term for anything interesting, was ruthlessly suppressed.

The point of this story is that Stalin, like any human being among us, was not without his redeeming qualities.  This blog has, in my opinion, deviated too far from its original vision, and this period of waiting in Maine has obviously driven me to stylistic extremes.  I promise that from now on, I will try to return the blog to form.  That is, tell stories, reflect on Russia, reflect on my own adjustment and anxiety, and then leave room for comments from friends and family and other readers.

~~~ 

The FedEx man with my passport and visa arrived today, and I will fly out on Monday.  Two small notes:

1) The ongoing theme I was trying to introduce about grad school was cut tragically short.  A few nights ago, I was accepted to my top choice school, and have already sent my forms in.  That school, if you'll recall from this post, was the College of Tropical Agriculture at University of Hawai'i - Manoa.  For those of you who actually know me, this paragraph is mostly true; grad school question is resolved.
2) Much, much more importantly, my little pageview scheme with the 'loading' picture exceeded my wildest expectations.  Thanks to Google Analytics, I know that the average reader hit 'refresh' between 3 and 4 times before moving on.







How do you say "sucker" in Russian?  I'll find out in three days and tell you.

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