[Landline] Vicious compliance
Russian dissidence, Lydia Lunch, Mati Klarwein's motorcycle valkyrie and more
FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2022
Music I’m checking out: bandcamp
Well, I’m finding it not so easy to organize Landlines right now, preoccupied as I am with Putin, the war in Ukraine and the very dark place where things seem to be headed. (“I expect a serious confrontation with a strong nuclear component”—Nikolai Sokov, a senior fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, March 24, to Politico.) Nonetheless, in the spirit of the late great Andrew Weatherall who famously said “Fail we may / sail we must,” here is a modest offering, hopefully of some use or interest to you…
1. порочное согласие
Posted earlier today by The Times and Sunday Times correspondent in Moscow…
Follow-up tweet from Mr. Bennetts: “Just spoke to the editor. It's a local newspaper, usually focused on repairs, parks, etc. Editor said: ‘It would have been strange to just put out our usual paper and pretend that nothing is going on...’"
Legend! May all involved in this courageous act of “vicious compliance” be safe.
2. BEST ANALYSIS OF THE SITUATION YET
Political scientist Ivan Krastev, a Bulgairan-born researcher at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, gave a deep interview on Putin, Ukraine and the future to Der Spiegel on March 17, full of gems:
The Western media has contributed to creating a false image of Putin. First, they say that Putin is corrupt. That is true. But does it explain his politics? Putin has been the leader of a nuclear power for 20 years. He thinks in terms of history, betrayal and malice. For such a person, corruption is merely an instrument of power. Money may have been important to Putin when he was younger, but it isn’t any longer. Second, they say that Putin is a cynical gambler, a trickster. In 2011, Putin said that the protests against him had been organized by the American Embassy. Western analysts said that was propaganda, because he knew that wasn’t true. He really believes it. In his understanding of history, things never happen spontaneously. If people demonstrate, he doesn’t ask: Why are they out on the streets? He asks: Who sent them? When we take him at his word, he won’t surprise us anymore. If you read his essay from July of last year, in which he wrote that Ukrainians and Russians are a single people and he would never accept an anti-Russian Ukraine, you find out exactly what his intentions are.
Putin has a certain demographic fixation. Since the publication of his essay last summer, he has said on several occasions that had there been no revolution and had the Soviet Union not collapsed, Russia would today have a population of 500 million. He believes that Russia needs the men and women of Ukraine to survive in the new world. On top of that, the pandemic is thought to have caused 1 million deaths in Russia and the country’s birthrate has dropped. Russia is a vast territory that is continuing to depopulate. A large number of labor migrants, most of them from Central Asia, are arriving, to be sure, but the Slavic core of the country is shrinking, which is why Belarus and Ukraine offer the promise of a kind of demographic consolidation. It’s not about the territory of Ukraine, but about the Ukrainian people.
There could be a cease-fire or maybe even a peace treaty, but will the West remove its sanctions? Will the people of Europe forget that the pharmacies here in Vienna were sold out of iodine for several days? Our world has changed. We used to be in a postwar world, now we are in a prewar world. That is the change, and it is taking place in people’s heads.
Read the whole interview: "Putin Lives in Historic Analogies and Metaphors"
3. I DID NOT KNOW THAT
I am deeply embarrassed to report that I had no idea until recently that Lydia Lunch has a podcast — The Lydian Spin — that she’s been doing on a weekly basis since 2019 with co-host Tim Dahl. Lydia and Tim open each episode with a few minutes of sardonic barstool philosopher commentary on recent news bits before moving into hour-long conversations with musicians, artists, filmmakers and others figures in the arts and the avant-garde. Basically it’s free-form, no-ads talk radio for snickering art-punks, bohemian culture heroes and fellow travelers.
Recent guests include Kid Congo Powers (regarding his forthcoming memoir, Barry White, primitive rock, etc.), author Chavisa Woods, Tom Hazelmyer of Amphetamine Reptile… Going back further in the archive, there’s interviews with Sean Carnage, good ol’ Byron Coley, Lisa Kekaula of the BellRays, the late Ricky Powell... It’s endless. Get caught up: lydianspin.libsyn.com/
Note: I’ll have a few more podcast series recommendations in the next paid subscriber-only Landline. You—yes, YOU!—can receive this email, and sustain Landline, by shifting your subscription to paying ($5/month cheep, $40/year cheeper) using this button:
4. BEHOLD A KLARWEIN MOTORCYCLE VALKYRIE
Yowza, right? I haven’t been able to locate a high-res version or print of this winged outlaw image in a few quick searches; if you’re able, please let me know. Also, anyone know what this piece is titled? Help a fellow out!
5. YET MORE WORDS REGARDING OUR PUBLIC LIBRARIES
We’ve been talking about public libraries recently in this newsletter: the tasty digital resources like kanopy and hoopladigital that many of them have started offering over the last year or two, how (and why) to improve their book collections, etc.
One helpful Landline reader reminds me of another major online resource that many (most?) American public libraries are now offering: libbyapp. Sign in with your library card and you get instant access to zillions of e-books, magazines, audiobooks, etc.
Another Landline reader, who is a librarian, wrote to say that many USA public libraries have received extra funding during COVID—funds that will need to be spent before the current fiscal year winds down, after which they will revert to normal (that is: low) funding levels. So, again, any patron can help direct this funding by making suggestions for righteous purchases (“additions to the library’s collection”) through the proper channel (usually a simple online form).
I’ve made several suggestions to the local public library in recent weeks that have already been approved for purchase:
Not bad, eh. If I can do it, you can do it. Help the library in your town get down, America! No excuses.