I don't know how many times I've written -- three at least -- about the propensity of people reading me from Russian IP addresses. I mean, I know that the Russians are all big writers, or at least have produced a lot and appreciate literary brilliance, but surely something has to be askew here.
There's an old joke that describes the difference between romance novels written by different flavors of Europeans. In a British novel, the two characters meet in the first chapter but don't end up together until the last chapter. In a French novel, the two characters get together in the first chapter but spend all the time until the last chapter trying to get rid of each other. And in the Russian novel, the two characters don't exactly meet, and they really don't get together, and it takes 1,966 long, boring pages telling what happened.
This is what makes it so hard to understand why Russians are reading me so intently. Every time I write one of these essays pointing out that they're reading me a lot, the reads from Russian IP addresses just stop. But within a couple weeks, they're back, sort of like chapter 3.
And this time, they're back in a big way.
Friday, over 55% of the reads of this column were from Russia. And remember that it was about some TV actress complaining about bigotry in Hollywood, and how cowardly she was for not naming anyone specifically, and how stupid she was to put a blanket curse on all her potential employers.
You want to tell me why the Russians should care about that? Cause I've got no idea, and given the huge surge in readership, on a day that I didn't write about politics, I'm confused. I mean, like I wrote once before, if you are a manufacturer of borscht or build dachas for a living, you should be advertising the heck out of this site.
But I have enough intellectual curiosity to be wondering why the daily ramblings of a washed-up old MIT grad should be of the slightest interest to anyone in Moscow or Sochi or Leningrad. I mean, I don't know what's going on over there, and I mostly don't care. I don't write about Russia or Russians, and my work has nothing to do with Russia either.
When Donald Trump, Jr. and a couple guys from the presidential campaign met with a Russian lawyer last summer, it turned out that they had nothing to do with the Russian government at all. I'm kind of wondering if the "Dimitri, you need to start reading Bob!" movement is not a Russian-government thing as well. Perhaps it's just some ordinary, run-of-the-mill guys named Boris who like me, they really, really like me.
I actually hope that is the case. It would be far more satisfying as an author if it turned out that people were reading me, not because they were KGB agents thinking I'm sending out some kind of code but, rather, because they were average citizens who learned something about my country by reading what I write about.
So Boris I and Boris II and the rest of you, try this one -- it's my all-time favorite. And for the rest of you out there in the land of cold weather and Cyrillic characters, well, please keep reading.
Because if history repeats, come tomorrow they'll all be gone.
Copyright 2017 by Robert Sutton
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