Sunday, May 21, 2017
Whoa all this talk of Russians everywhere. All oligarchs and spies and ambassadors and collusion with our ridiculous President and his multitudinous slavering acolytes. I can hardly keep up with it. My head is spinning. What happened to the Russia of Tolstoy? What happened to the Russia of Stravinsky? What about the Russia that brought us Chagall and Kandinsky? Yes, there have always been manipulative tyrants and credulous, self-destructive masses in Russia, almost as many credulous, self-destructive masses as we have now here in America, but you gotta keep your culture going.
Artists are my people!
So I went to see a Russian Ballet, by an all Russian Ballet Company, The Eifman Ballet. I went to see Red Giselle.
I will not judge a whole people on their heartless leader and their dark rooms of hackers assiduously fudging the tiny slice of democracy we have left in America. I won't judge them on their B-movie villains, deplorable social policy, or all the mad ways they keep showing up on our front pages. I refuse to judge them on a tiny elite strangling a cowed country and crying out that they, they are Russia.
They aren't Russia.
No, I will judge Russia as they should be judged, by old and gracious standards. I will judge them on how good a ballet they can put on.
So bold of heart I went off in the late Spring rainstorms of Minnesota to see their mighty ballet.
And it was no good. No good at all. It was, all told, a terrible ballet in nearly every way. It was the single worst ballet I have ever seen in my life.
Ah well, as they say in Russia:
Беда́ никогда́ не прихо́дит одна́.
Trouble never comes alone.