May 7, 2007
No, this will not be a retraction of last night’s limerick musings. Rather, I come to offer a correction (really an addendum) to a very important list: my morning’s diet of newspapers. Many of you may be confused as to how I manage to read the entirety (yes, even the offal–similar to the German abfal, “The edible parts collectively which are cut off in preparing the carcass of an animal for food” or, “Refuse in general; rubbish, garbage; a piece of this”) of ten newspapers every morning. The answer, as it is to everything, is to consume six fried eggs and a glass of laudanum ‘ere 3 every morning. It seems, however, that starting tomorrow I will have to consume my glass of laudanum at 2:45 as DH is now a loyal reader of Pravda, the Russian newspaper that used to be the mouthpiece of the communist party (thanks to world’s smartest man runner-up–behind Aaron Sorkin, natch–and lab school parent, Steven Levitt for the tip).
At first glance, Pravda seems like your standard newspaper. The current headline is about Yesterday’s Salad’s own Nicholas Sarkozy’s plans for the French parliament. But, look a little (very little) deeper, and it becomes clear that the majority of the paper’s budget is not spent investigating the weighty issues of our day. Here’s the headline of an article that appeared about a fortnight ago: “Gastrointestinal medications may break wind and result in severe gas attacks.” While this may have been published in Pravda’s communist period, being, as it were, important information to have, I doubt this next article would have been: “Various media outlets portray breasts differently.” Mon dieu! Clearly taking a formalist bent, the article posits that different formats lead to different types of portrayals. Or, to (intentionally mis)quote the great Professor David G. Roskies, “The medium is the message.” Seeing as the communists exiled a great many formalists, including Bakhtin, to Siberia, I doubt they would have tolerated this type of analysis in their own agent of repressions. Freedom lives at Pravda.
Another recent article discusses Maria Sharapova‘s dream “mixed doubles” partners. Coming in at number three (behind James Bond and John McEnroe) was Vladimir Putin. And here I thought Pravda’s foray into US Weekly territory was a clear sign of westernization and a turn away from being an authoritarian mouthpiece.
Nonetheless, with its mix of high-fallutin reportage and formalist leanings, Pravda is a welcome addition to my daily reading material.