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psychoceramics: The Netizen - Impolitic

And now, an article from HotWired, about the universality
of extremist politics:

>                [The Netizen]  [Image]12 June 1996
>               Running with the Devil          [Noise]
>               Impolitic                        James
>               [Image]                        Pinkerton
>               by John Heilemann                Noise
>               Moscow, 11 June                  ....
>               [Image]
>  See also:                                   [Daily Poll]
>  Special       [G] ennadi Zyuganov may be    The Fire
>  Report            new to this democracy     This Time
>  by Brock     thing, but his news           Daily Poll
>  N. Meeks     conference today in the          ....
>  and Declan   heart of downtown Moscow
>  McCullagh    was, in all respects but       [Daily Quote]
>  A thousand   one, a curiously familiar       A Fond
>  points of    sort of affair.                Farewell
>  blight                                        Daily
>               On stage, surrounded by TV       Quote
>               cameras, Zyuganov sat in a       ....
>               tan suit, his few remaining
>  Media Rant   hairs slicked back and          [Links]
>  by Jon       patted down on his head, and    Life on
>  Katz         proceeded to sound just like  the Inside
>  Powell and   any American presidential        Links
>  Dole are     candidate (only his voice        ....
>  probably     was thicker, and more
>  liars        ominous). He chided Boris
>               Yeltsin for not debating
>               him. He deflected questions
>               about who might make up a
>  [-   HuntingtZyuganov cabinet. And he
>               spun - furiously - when
>               asked about Yeltsin's
>               apparent dramatic rise in
>               the polls. "Someone's rating
>               doesn't grow that quickly,"
>               he said. "Only a bamboo in
>               the jungle can do that."
>  Post of       [MORE RUSSIANS] As I said, familiar -
>  the Day                       except for one thing: time
>  Join the     and again, Zyuganov was asked not just about
>  revolution   his views on Stalin, but how he felt about
>               Hitler, too.
>               Zyuganov ducked these questions like a pro. I
>               was pondering whether any other serious
>               political candidate in a major world power is
>               routinely asked whether he has a soft spot
>               for der Führer. And then I remembered that
>  Don't look   Pat Buchanan used to be asked questions like
>  back         that (OK, not quite like that, but questions,
>               at least, about his defense of accused Nazi
>               war criminals) all the time.
>               Buchanan has, of course, often been compared
>               to another of the Russian candidates, the
>               hot-headed ultranationalist Vladimir
>               Zhirinovsky. Indeed, you may recall the
>               headlines during the primaries when Vlad
>               actually endorsed Pat. (Wise heads that they
>               are, Buchanan's people rejected the
>               endorsement, which led Zhirinovsky, in turn,
>               to send Pat a second letter accusing him of
>               being a Zionist. Go figure....)
>               But the truth is that, in many important
>               respects, it's Zyuganov, not Zhirinovsky, who
>               is the Pat Buchanan of Russian politics. The
>               Communist is, it must be said, Buchanan
>               without the charm - or the wit, or the
>               oratorical skills, or the sense of humor. But
>               when it comes to substance, they share more
>               than you might think.
>               At bottom, both men are ideological hybrids.
>               Zyuganov's trick has been to graft fierce
>               right-wing nationalism onto the Communist
>               Party's left-wing economics; Buchanan's trick
>               was to graft left-wing economics onto the
>               Republican's Party's social-issues
>               conservatism. Yeltsin's former prime
>               minister, Yegor Gaidar, an ardent reformer,
>               brands Zyuganov a "national socialist"; more
>               than a few clever writers have called
>               Buchanan a "social nationalist."
>               Like Buchanan, Zyuganov is a xenophobe (or
>               Slavophile, if you prefer) and a paranoid.
>               Most strikingly, the Russian is enamored of
>               the same sort of wild conspiracy theories
>               that Buchanan's rhetoric is littered with.
>               David Remnick, in a brilliant recent article
>               in the New York Review of Books, found in
>               Zyuganov's writings a passionate hatred of
>               the phrase Buchanan so demonized: New World
>               Order. In his books and on the stump,
>               Zyuganov warns of a "united world government"
>               run by the Trilateral Commission, the Council
>               on Foreign Relations, Harvard University
>               ("the brain trust of world liberalism"), and
>               other internationalist institutions. You can
>               just bet that, if you asked, Zyuganov would
>               be against NAFTA, too.
>               Let's be clear: miles separate Buchanan and
>               Zyuganov on many scores. For one thing, there
>               can be no debate about Zyuganov's
>               antisemitism, which is blatant. For another,
>               Buchanan would never, even his wildest
>               moments, have accused Bob Dole of being the
>               spawn of Satan. But that's exactly what
>               Zyuganov said of Yeltsin the other day - I am
>               not making this up - at a surreal Communist
>               rally in Moscow.
>               "Let's remember the prediction of the
>               Apocalypse," Zyuganov proclaimed, against a
>               backdrop of red and white balloons. "Two
>               beasts sent by the Devil are coming out of
>               the abyss. The first one has a mark on his
>               head; the second one has a mark on his hand."
>               The reference to Mikhail Gorbachev, with his
>               birthmarked forehead, and to Yeltsin, who
>               lost two fingers in a boyhood accident, was
>               lost on no one.
>               Nor were its political implications, for
>               these were manifestly the words of a man who
>               fears that it all may be slipping away. It's
>               still too early to know if his fears (and our
>               hopes) are justified, but if they are,
>               that'll make one more thing that Zyuganov and
>               Buchanan have in common: a surprisingly
>               strong start followed by a complete, and
>               ultimately blissful, collapse.
>               ....
>               Rave on about your own favorite paranoid
>               right-wing xenophobes, in Threads.
>               email John
>       [netizen]
>             [SEARCH]
>       [HOME]
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>      Copyright © 1996 HotWired, Inc. All rights reserved.


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