Friday, January 27, 2006

David Remnick, funnyman

New Yorker editor David Remnick's got jokes! From Lenin's Tomb (just finished, was great), his Pulitzer-winning 1993 account of the last years of the Soviet Union:
"You are the worst kind of anti-Semite!" Volsky barked. Why had I besmirched the reputation of such a good man as Bogdanov, why had I mentioned two such obviously Jewish names as Bronfman and Zuckerman? "Don't you realize what people will do with this?"

I could not quite tell yet whether Volsky, in his fury, knew that I was Jewish. To be frank, a Malawi tribesman could take one look at me and say, "This man is a Jew." But Volsky was off of a flight.
And:
[USSR vice-president Gennady] Yanayev... was the worst sort of Party nonentity. He was a vain man of small intelligence, a womanizer, and a drunk.

I'm not sure it is possible to describe just how hard it is to acquire a reputation as a drunk in Russia.