Voovin | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Twenty years ago, in Moscow, Matt Taibbi was a misogynist asshole—and possibly worse

EX-ARIZONAN, I respect your thoughts. They are logical and reasonable from today's point of view, in the environment of Weinstein and O'Reilly. Their satire was brutal, aimed at the very target they are now being accused of being, but it was very clearly satire to those who knew Russia well. Consider, episodes of Seinfeld, the Road Runner and Bugs Bunny are no longer acceptable TV fare, from today's vantage. Therefore I think contemporary expectations should be tempered, and T&A's real subjects should be seen for what they were; hypocrisy and corruption, and poor journalism on the part of the newspapers blind to what what happening then. T&A broke big stories of corruption, much of it American bred, and rubbed it in the news of news organizations while pretending to be ugly gonzo journalists, but there was good reason for the subterfuge. Matt could not have written "...the (Moscow) expat loses all sense of proportion; his moral rudder is swinging wildly. He's never sailed in these seas, and even as he's about to capsize in a storm of bad decisions, he's convinced that he's the most clever, cunning little cracker that Eurasia has ever seen. It's the arrogance of a colonialist. That's what makes him so reckless and idiotic: that mixture of undeserved hubris, inexperience, and neophyte evil, projected through the average mind of the average expat." while sailing without a moral rudder of his own. I dare say that their brutal style needs to be examined, not only in context of their whole body of work that comprised the Exile, but also in context to what was happening around them at that time, and that under those circumstances they will pass a test of decency. If you read Matt's book, the Great Derangement, he goes undercover as it were, as a born again Christian and spend a year attending church as one, so this role playing is a part of his M.O. as a writer.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Voovin on 10/30/2017 at 4:30 AM

Re: “Twenty years ago, in Moscow, Matt Taibbi was a misogynist asshole—and possibly worse

As someone who lived in Moscow before, during and after the period that Matt and Mark worked the Exile to the infuriation of quite a few people, I can tell you that their writing in the Exile was primarily a work of fiction, used as means to legitimize the serious topics they were addressing, specifically to keep themselves from appearing as aspiring journalists. Any other approach would have gotten themselves in big trouble. And it should be noted that had a fraction of their colorful narrative been nonfiction, they would have gotten themselves in equally big trouble. The guys who they were lampooning, corporate execs from oil companies and the like, were far more guilty of the behaviour they were constantly bragging about. Sex was a commodity in Russia during those years, proffered for many reasons and mostly without much moral consideration, but without understanding the context of the society at that moment in time, it's probably better to refrain from judgement. In particular, in the passage cited above regarding Ames' coercion of his 'friend" to get an abortion, there's probably not a word of truth. First, a Russian woman would invariably resort to abortion in that situation without much consideration above the practical, particularly if her beau did not support the pregnancy. I am sure Matt is not happy with much of what he put his byline to back in those days, but it's not because he is embarrassed by his behaviour; rather his serious reporting now has to be seen through his association with that rambunctious, gonzo style of journalism.

7 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Voovin on 10/29/2017 at 9:35 PM

Re: “Twenty years ago, in Moscow, Matt Taibbi was a misogynist asshole—and possibly worse

As someone who lived in Moscow before, during and after the period that Matt and Mark worked the Exile to the infuriation of quite a few people, I can tell you that their writing in the Exile was primarily a work of fiction, used as means to legitimize the serious topics they were addressing, specifically to keep themselves from appearing as aspiring journalists. Any other approach would have gotten themselves in big trouble. And it should be noted that had a fraction of the colorful narrative been nonfiction, they would have gotten themselves in equally big trouble.

8 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Voovin on 10/29/2017 at 9:20 PM

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