Novelist Keith Gessen Totally Schools Us on the RubleOy, chto budet! Sad young literary novelist Keith "Konstya" Gessen, self-exiled to his motherland of Russia, usually confines his rantings to n+1, little-read novels that we make fun of, and his Tumblr. But today, he wrote a Diary column about how the financial crisis is affecting Russia for the London Review of Books. And guess what—we can't even tease him for being pompous and self-important, as is the custom, because we know nothing about how the financial crisis affects Russia. So! We'll publish an excerpt, snark-free, because although we might have an understanding of advanced capitalism as it relates to blog networks or diminished tipping at strip clubs and dive bars, we have no idea about the ruble. Keith, consider this your lucky day.
The guys I play hockey with, a number of whom are bankers, know about the crisis. ‘We could start farming,’ one of them suggested a while ago as we sat in the locker room after another loss to our rivals. ‘I have a balcony. We can raise a goat.’ ‘Or mushrooms. We could grow psychedelic mushrooms.’ ‘No, the FSB controls that market. The minute you came out with your mushrooms they’d be visiting you.’ ‘Gentlemen!’ Our captain wanted us to get back to business. ‘There is a financial crisis. But we are also in a hockey crisis.’ ‘We’re better off with a goat,’ the first banker continued. ‘It will give you milk – and progeny!’
Anyway that's pretty much the most interesting part, although we have to say that the rest is a good way of understanding how the global panicmeltdown is affecting Russia. Damn, never thought a Gessen item would end up filed under "things we actually like"!