I have been a fairly consistent purveyor of doom for most of my adult life. It has been a regular theme in my daily discourse as well as in much of my work (As my children can attest), coupled with a theme that this catastrophe has been impeding for generations, gaining momentum and weight in our cultural descent, and is sweeping us toward the inevitable conclusion of a new dark ages.
I forgive myself (impatience being another mark against me) for this fear because I was raised in that cold-war generation that conducted drills in grade school teaching us to hide beneath our desks in case of nuclear attack. What is left to say to that? At the age of eight I knew that desk was not going to save me from destruction. But then the psychological implant of such ideas would have been difficult to escape if I hadn’t been daily witness to the abject stupidity and meanness of my fellow human beings. Details at 11:00.
One escape from this insanity was to indulge in it, much in the way burlesque once relieved audiences with a condensation of the human comedy of their daily lives. For kids of my age, this wonderment of debauchery was the Warner Brothers cartoon with its manic display of foolishness coupled with more wit than we could find in the all the assigned texts in our schools. Wit being the key. It is the lever that moves the boulder off our toes.
But as I grew older, there was less and less of such relief available. Rock & roll further glorified the stupidity amidst us. Movies offered voyeuristic escape that could not be carried out beyond the lobby. TV offered the totally witless experience of Gilligan’s Island and the realization that the people who watched such programs also voted. Not having a religion to stay me, I grew spiritually despondent. And as I have made much of here and elsewhere, I turned evermore to books to shore myself against the onslaught of the barbarians. Usually older books but sometimes the work of younger spirits who were standfast against the flood. I have written about these as well.
So, it is yet another gobsmack in this twilight to discover something so brilliant and funny, so rich in comment and fun, as Masha and the Bear. I won’t describe it. Discover it for yourself. Start at the beginning. Savor it. Be a child again and rediscover the sense of life you wanted to keep within and to live. It’s that good.
It’s also Russian. And the fact that Russian writers and artists are capable of such humor, given the dire straits they face daily, tells me that against all odds there is still some hope for us yet. Solzhenitsyn said as much but he never had so much fun saying it.