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Going Everywhere but Away

Posted by Michael Dolan on January 11, 2014 in Uncategorized |

We were intrigued by the book’s title for obvious reasons: “Words Will Break Cement.”  It’s an account of the punk band Pussy Riot, whose members were sentenced to jail after a performance that mocked Russian president Putin.  Author is Masha Gessen, Russian born writer now living in New York.

It’s a little bit easy to kick Russian authorities while they are what they, but here is a representative sample of Gessen’s point of view from her blog: “At their root is the lying impulse developed over nearly a century. Since the early days of the Soviet Union, reporting good results was more important than actually achieving them.”  http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/powerlessness-and-pretense/  We’ve seen the same attitude from officials closer to home.

This just in: A typical suburban city in the US just dumped its new Economic Development Director and refused to supply any information about it, citing privacy rules.  But city leaders conjured a message nonetheless.  The fired guy’s boss asked department managers for help in “communicating a positive message to the City organization.”  http://www.oregonlive.com/tualatin/index.ssf/2014/01/tualatin_recruiting_new_econom.html#incart_river

Report good results no matter the reality.  Same thing as Russia, right?

The book is a little political so readers can reach their own conclusions about it.  However, it does point out the ineffectiveness of cracking down on the facts.  The incident the authorizes want to conceal happened more than two years and we are still talking about it.

 

New York Times book review:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/books/masha-gessens-words-will-break-cement.html?src=dayp&_r=0

 

NPR Interview:

http://www.npr.org/2014/01/08/260746432/the-pussy-riot-arrests-and-the-crackdown-that-followed

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