Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We Are The Greatest!

From a book I just finished:

I do not believe you know what it is like here. There is this group of people who own everything. This room we are dining in, they own it. This apartment building, they own it. They own the buses and the trains and the boats. And the rivers. Everything is privately owned in this country. We own nothing. Everyone owns nothing.

These same people, they own the factories and the churches and the schools. Every school. And all the books the children read. They wrote the books the children read. They own the art and the music. The radio stations and the TV stations and every newspaper and every magazine.

And, they own the language. In every newspaper and in every school and in every factory they speak with this language and they say the same thing. What are they saying? We are the greatest country in the world. Every other country in the world is poor and dangerous and ugly and we are the greatest.

The quote is not from some professor at Berkeley. It's not from some union boss at the UAW. It's not from some Massachusetts liberal. The book is Off The Map by Mark Jenkins. The book is not about politics. It's about bicycling across Siberia in 1989. And the quote is from Sasha Alexander Tarasov, describing Soviet Russsia.

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