kirill medvedev

Sometimes you hear people described as having “never tasted life.” I am one of those people. I look and seem harmless; I’m reasonable, indecisive, well-behaved around others. I rarely consume alcohol; I don’t sleep around; I haven’t used drugs in five years. But I am full of idealism. And that is a lot more dangerous than drugs, alcohol, Satanism, cannibalism, coprophagy, necrophilia.
—  Kirill Medvedev, from “My Fascism" 
родители
(милые идиоты)
почему-то уверены
что кто-то может
растлить их драгоценного выродка
лучше чем они сами
— 

-Кирилл Медведев

parents

(dear idiots)

are for some reason certain

that someone can

defile their precious degenerate

better than they themselves

-Kirill Medvedev

What motivates these people is irrelevant: whether it’s really political naïveté or just ordinary cynicism and prudence. It’s impossible to separate one from the other, and I’m not posing a question of moral judgment. Russian culture as a whole has acquired (very much at the wrong time) the possibility of palpable autonomy, and now each individual artist sincerely defends his or her innocence and independence. But it is precisely through this kind of “innocence” and “sincerity” that works of art become commodities – not because the artist believes himself a spineless, prostituted insect, ready to do anything for publicity, but for exactly the opposite reason: because he values himself and his work very highly and believes that media appearances won’t do him any harm.
—  Kirill Medvedev, Literature Will Be Tested

in the Smolensky supermarket
at the corner of the Garden Ring
and Arbat
among the piles
of expensive
luxurious
foods
I found a sprat paté
for seven rubles;
on the can it said 
it contained pearl-barley
I took two
figuring
this must be a special delivery
for neighborhood residents
who come to the store 
every day
and aren’t anywhere as rich
as the plump middle-aged men
who come here in their cars
from other neighborhoods
to load up on groceries
for real
I took the paté
and started walking alongside
the shelves of products;
I wanted to find some inexpensive
fish
and I looked and looked
at these beautiful foods
lying there on these
shelves
and at the magazines
which looked very odd
against the background of all this food
I walked around 
for so long
that the guards
keeping an eye out for thieves
grew tired of watching me
it was very beautiful there
and I liked it;
I remember 
I didn’t pay much attention
to the other customers
they didn’t really interest me
especially as
there weren’t so many of them
they walked around
hardly looking
placing 
the products into these rolling baskets
whereas I 
very carefully
piously
studied every single item
and read their
exotic names
these magnificently packaged meals
they could make your head spin
(there was for example
a product called
“two rainbow trouts”)
I wandered around so long
that toward the end
I developed a strange 
feeling;
it was something like 
longing;
it was 
a terrible
suffocating longing
and pity;
I was very sorry
for these fish
this wine
several hundred types of wine
and all the cookies
and the magazines
the candies
giant boxes of candies
massive pieces of meat
and fish;
and I looked for a long time
at these 
idiotic beautiful expensive
toys
lying there
on the shelves
of that supermarket
and I thought that this probably was
the main fuel
of civilization
(not because we all live in a
consumer culture,
but simply because
everything else
is just noise
whereas food,
say what you will about it,
is protein
food is the main guarantee
of family happiness and prosperity
everything happens 
because of food
and so there’s probably
nothing surprising about the fact
that families collapse because of it
lovers part over it
and murders are committed
because of it);
walking around a bit more
I thought of the fact 
that the suffocating pity I feel
for these products
is also
a form of fetishism
and also a symptom
of reification;
therefore it probably doesn’t make sense
to feel sorry
for these products
that cause all these things
to happen;
I bought some fish fillets
and two cans
of that incredibly cheap paté
which I named 
“paté for the poor”;
walking out of the supermarket
with these products
I thought of how often
in my confrontations
with the face
of the society of consumption
sentimentality replaces disgust.


By Kirill Medvedev

Trans. Keith Gessen