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Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Mailbag

La Russophobe is pleased to announce a new occasional feature, "The Mailbag," in which she will dip into her stash of lovemail and hatemail to expose a particularly interesting specimen for public consumption.

Reader Steven Conn from the People's Republic of Massachussets writes La Russophobe as follows (apparently too cowardly to place his views in a public comment where the would be subject to the scrutiny of the world, so La Russophobe will help him over the hump):

I noticed that there are way too many of "your" posts - really just cut and paste jobs - that have (0) comments.....anybody reading this recycled propaganda besides you?Orignally someone recommended it to me as a very likely attempt by Russian security services to discredit western criticism and propaganda. I don't know if its deliberate or not, but your regurgitated postings from actual publications seem to do the job.
Yup, that's the whole letter. You only get this much garbage packed into such a small space from a true Russophile nutjob who is crazed with fury that somebody is finally delivering a powerful antidote to the Neo-Soviet propaganda he and his comrades have been spewing.

Let's see, where to begin in showing what a hopeless fool Mr. Conn (as in conn-job?) really is?

Well, first things first. All material published in this blog and not written by La Russophobe is properly sourced and linked. Most of the time, when a post contains quoted and original material, the quoted material is in black and the original material is in red. If Mr. Conn was paying the least bit of attention rather than just impulsively spewing ideological venom, he'd know that. There is not one example in this blog where La Russophobe has taken credit for something someone else has written, and Mr. Conn certainly points to none. No complaint has been received by La Russophobe from any publication source objecting to her use of their material (which is is common and very valuable practice in the blogosphere). La Russophobe dares to suggest that if she were putting these news reports into her own words and giving less credit to the publishers (which she has every right to do), then she'd be accused of mischaracterizing their reports and claiming to be a reporter. But obviously, like any classic russophile, Mr. Conn could care less about being fair.

Then, there's the obvious contradition: Mr. Conn accuses La Russophobe both of putting forth "propaganda" and of not being original, hardly possible. If Mr. Conn wants more originality, that's fine, but the whole reason the quotes are there is to establish that the content is not "propaganda" but mainstream media reporting from around the world, organized in one convenient location. Anyone but an insane Russophile like Mr. Conn can surely see that if all the content was original, then La Russophobe would surely be accused of propaganda. Now, all she can be accused of is collating the news, just like David Johnson does, except with an actual focus and purpose in mind.

Apparently, Comrade Conn believes that when La Russophobe reported that one Russian woman is killed by her husband every 60 minutes and that dozens of dark-skinned people (including defenseless young students) have been murdered in race attacks so far this year, that the Russian stock market has fallen by 30% and that GDP growth is petering out, that 1 million people were lost from the population last year and that various specific acts of Neo-Soviet crackdown are underway (arresting elected leaders, denying exit visas to famous singers, etc.), this is all nothing but Western propaganda and unworthy of repeated consideration. Sources such as the Boston Globe, USA Today and RIA Novosti are nothing but vehicles of propaganda for the West.

Whereas Pravda and ORT are blubbling springs of truth and justice, right? Now, where oh where have we heard this kind of thing before? Oh yeah, the Politburo.

Then, there's the characteristic there's the lack of research (or indeed any kind of substance) from Comrade Conn. I mean, if Mr. Conn thinks this blog has fewer comments than other blogs, how about making reference to some similar examples he's found, then? You know, for instance: "Right now the Accidental Russophile has 30 comments posted on the main page of his blog, while you have zero." Of course, if Mr. Conn actually went so far as to do any research, he'd know that La Russophobe currently has 30 comments on the main page of her blog, while the Accidental Russophile only has 16 (and AR has been around twice as long as LR). And that, of course, doesn't count the mailbag, you know, stuff like the missive from Mr. Conn himself. If he were the least bit fair-minded, he'd pause at least for a second to notice that (a) La Russophobe is a baby blog which has done no self-promotion (yet) but is still far more significant than many much older blogs and (b) it produces far more content each day than most blogs, so posts stay on its main page for a much shorter period of time for comment. What's more, Mr. Conn might have tried to get some evidence from this blog (which now contains almost 300 posts) indicating that it is our goal to attract comments. If he read the first post from back on April 2nd, though, then he'd know that the purpose of this blog is record a history of the rise of the Neo-Soviet Union, not to debate the subject with anyone. But I guess by Mr. Conn's "logic" all the great history texts of our time, which are read only by students who are forced to do so at gunpoint, should never have been written -- and Emily Dickenson should never have put pen to paper, since nobody encouraged her (or even knew she was doing it), and the same for all other great artists who were not "recognized" for their contributions during their lifeimes. They should all have just given up.

But then, facts never trouble Russophile maniacs, now do they? I mean, that is how Russia got into the position it is today. They think about giving up so much, of course, because that is what Russians have been doing for centuries, which has led them to today where they've got a country on the verge of extinction.

Next, Mr. Conn "argues" that by collecting all the stories about the rise of the Neo-Soviet Union and preserving them for posterity in once convenient, easy-to-access public place, La Russophobe is actually doing Kremlin a big favor, and in fact she herself may even be a Kremlin spy. By this "logic," all the attacks upon George Bush all around the world are doing him a big favor, and being made by CIA spies. In fact, Al Gore was a CIA spy, and his attempt to unseat Bush from power was all part of a CIA plot to keep Bush in power. And George Bush did in fact stay in power, didn't he? So I guess he should go give Gore a big fat kiss on the lips.

This would be funny, if it weren't so very sad and tragic. You see, Russophile maniacs bend their elbows when they should be putting on their thinking caps, and it leads to gibberish like this. Pure and simple, this is the kind of thing that keeps Russia from making any progress at all.

Now, does Mr. Conn point to his own blog, which he can argue is doing a better job than La Russphobe? No. Does he point to any other blog where the information collected on La Russophobe can be found, or which in any case can be argued to be making a direct confrontational assault on the rise of the Neo-Soviet Union? Nopski. Does he offer any material to La Russophobe which he believes is of higher quality than what she has got? Again, negative.

La Russophobe must admit that she finds it somewhat depressing to be proved so right about Russia, to know that her most dire forecasts have a wonderful, horrible chance of being far too conservative. Because truly, she doesn't want to see Russia disappear any more than Solzhenitisin did when he attacked the Politburo, but just like with Solzhenitisin Russians are still sitting cowardly on the sidelines. If a Russian in Russia did what La Russophobe is doing now that Russian would be exiled or arrested (or simply killed) and the Russian people would not lift a finger to resist the effort, just as they didn't when Solzhenitsin was booted out of the country.

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