May 20, 2011

Suspension of Disbelief

So here's an interesting story.  Apparently Barack Obama was preselected by a "global elite."
During the period of roughly February 1992 to mid-1994, I was making frequent trips to Moscow
The stage is set!
Early in 1992, the American half of our venture was invited to V. & T.’s Moscow flat
The game is afoot!
“You Americans always like to think that you have the perfect government and your people are always so perfect."
Those silly Russians!  They hate us for our freedom!
“Well, I think you are going to be surprised when you get a black president very soon,” she said.
“What if I told you that you will have a black president very soon and he will be a communist?” she said. “Well, you will; and he will be a communist.” 
You big silly!  We would never elect a black communist ...
“Yes, it is true,” she replied. “This is not some idle talk. He is already born, and he is educated and being groomed to be president right now. You will be impressed to know that he has gone to the best schools of presidents. He is what you call ‘Ivy League.’ You don’t believe me, but he is real and I even know his name. His name is Barack. His mother is white and American and his father is black from Africa."
Getting eerie now ...
She was full of details about him that she was eager to relate.  She rattled off a complete litany. He was from  Hawaii. He went to school in California. He lived in Chicago. He was soon to be elected to the legislature.
Really creeped out, here.
“Have no doubt: he is one of us, a Soviet.”
And then, you blew it.

Let me talk to you about suspension of disbelief.  When we're reading or watching fiction, we know that it's not true, but we set that knowledge aside so that we can enjoy the story.  For example, in Clash of the Titans, I'm perfectly willing to set aside my rational knowledge that Zeus, demigods, Medusa, Pegasus, and the love-child of an octopus and the big fish from Phantom Menace aren't real.  But when the story-teller gets details wrong--when they talk about Greeks having legions and show them wearing Roman uniforms, or when Greeks pull out coins that look absolutely nothing like actual Greek coins--then it jars us out of our suspension of disbelief with a grating reminder that this is just some made-up, untrue story.

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, right?  The Supreme Soviet, right?  It must be communist!  Problem is, in Russian, the word 'soviet' is no more associated with communism than 'union' or 'republic.'  It only sounds communist to native English speakers--in Russian it just means 'council'.  Union of Council-governed Socialist Republics.  High Council.  The city council where our NGO has to turn in documents?  Same word, though spelled a bit differently in Bulgarian.  For an English speaker to call someone a soviet would imply that they were communist, but for a Russian?  She might as well have called him a unionist or a republican.

A real communist would have called him a communist.  Or a socialist.  Or a comrade.  Or a bolshevik.  Or a Marxist/Stalinist/Leninist/Maoist/whatever.  She would not have called him a council.

And that, friends, is how we know that this story just didn't happen.

Well, that and the fact that it's batshit insane.

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