Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Dissidence and Conformity
Reading Te Graun's as-per-usual stupid coverage of East European politics, it got me wondering what's happened to Luke Harding. Seems he was given the bum's rush for his disgraceful journalism. By the Russian Government that is, not his employers. Of course this (in some ways justly) was criticised, but I find it quite difficult to get too smug about Ivan's lot given that Harding's journalism was so pathetic. In fact he was as much a propagandist as any statist hack. It seems to me that the Russian Federation did what Te Graun's editors should have done a long time ago, but didn't. See also how principled te Graun were regarding free speech when Anatoly Karlin wrote a fairly objective take on things.
Perhaps its curious that for all the eye-rolling contempt with which right-wingers treat The Guardian that The Exile was the only publication to really stick it to Harding. I suppose the left and right were both equally willing to give up the utopianism that powered Soviet era dissidence. Now I doubt if anyone in the modern left or right would treat Alexander Solzhenitsyn with anything but embarrassment. Yet it seems to me this writer, Orthodox Christian and maths teacher summed up both the spirituality and analytical mind that could have helped to guide Russian in a more pleasant direction and offered a REAL alternative to the populist capitalism of the United Russia party.
Still, whilst the mainstream western media might once have insincerely praised people like Solzhenitsyn, in some ways I think they will not fall into that trap again. Their main problem is that they have to fight a perpetual war against people who think that Western atomised plutocratic consumerism is vulgar, nihilistic and undesirable. They'll have a hard time running out of people who think that.