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The International Writers Magazine: Reality Check + Readers Responses 9.20.13

Vladimir Putin: Satirist
• James Campion
It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal. - Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
(NY Times 9/11/13)

Ahhh…ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…ooohh, hee-hee- ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (choke) ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (snort) ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…uhhhhh…ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…oooh, holy shit…ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...wait a minute, I… ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…Whew.
Oh, man that’s precious. Fantastic. Classic shit.

I have to say, despite his complete disregard for human and civil rights, his lifelong dedication to a godless Soviet regime, and his phalanx of shirtless macho propaganda photos displaying him in an Alexander the Great kind of glow, this Vladimir Putin character is hilariously poignant whilst discussing the democratic ideals of other nations.
I stand in awe of his complete command of irony.
I have never written such blasphemy before, but this masterpiece he sent to press this week is more scathingly witty than the best of Lenny Bruce.
That’s right. I evoked Saint Lenny on this one.

Now, most likely, Putin wrote none of his op-ed piece in the NY Times; a quasi-Son of Sam plea for sanity for those not possessing the sensitive yearnings of a maniac. I’ve read Russian translations of his rhetorical skills, and it is dubious this yammering brute could formulate anything resembling a monosyllabic Rambo-esque soliloquy “Unless they've been me, unless they’ve been there” type of grunt, much less this masterpiece. But the quintessence of the man was there, inside every word.

For the best example of this kind of manic stream-of-consciousness, one has to randomly stab one’s finger to a passage in any James Joyce or even those wonderfully crafted zig-zags through fog-addled logic Charles Manson saves for his endless parade of parole hearings. You know; “Your discarded children in garbage cans” stuff. Timeless comedy.

In essence, Putin’s brilliant satirizing of his own shortcomings as a serviceable human specimen, never mind witless leader of a flat-lined series of disparate states wallowing in the fading mist of Russia’s sad century-long attempt to try and keep up with the massive money–machine military lunacy of the United States, rings many bells; hypocrisy, disillusionment, condescension, and petty exhibitionist solipsism.
Take it from me, this ain’t easy to do.
This 1,068-word fucker was a whiz-bang. I wish I had written it. Worthy of Mailer; not Norman Mailer, I mean this guy Nick Mailer who cleans my gutters ever spring.

My favorite part was all the peacemaking. I love how Putin tactically weaved his “Look, ma, I didn’t shit my pants for the first time in six months, can I have a lolly?” prose into the thing. How he’s stepping in and getting rid of weapons he supplied to another Middle Eastern thug and taking care of the business he should have taken care of two years ago. The whole Syrian mess, for which he uses as a metaphor to eviscerate the U.S. as a power-mad global puppet master, is tantamount to dumping your incorrigible little brat on the neighbors and after he has all but burned down their house, you step in and say, “Sheesh, you people don’t know what you’re doing, I’ll take it from here. And, by the way, you’re welcome!”

It is beautifully done. I hope the envy I feel for this budding word master is seeping through my effusive praise.

I could only add that if Pussy Riot, the all-girl Russian punk band Putin has seen fit to jail for two years for singing lyrics like
“Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away
Put Putin away, put Putin away -
The head of the KGB, their chief saint,
Leads protesters to prison under escort -
The phantom of liberty is in heaven
Gay-pride sent to Siberia in chains.”

If they could speak freely today from their prison cells, they would applaud the strong anti-imperialist rant their president sent to an American newspaper. And if all the homosexuals Putin is deporting and jailing and signing laws to strip them of rights could read this moving testament to “all men being created equal in the eyes of God”, I am sure they would raise a defiant fist with him.
All hail, the scribe, Vladimir Putin; never has self-flagellation sounded so goddamn funny.
Now, if he truly thinks he’s a better jack ass than me, let’s see him pull it off weekly.



This is your finest hour in Reality Check. (SYRIA – JUST SAY NO – Issue: 9/4/13) You have put this thing to the wall and said everything I am thinking and fearing. This country has had enough of war, enough of intervening in civil wars around the globe, cleaning up everyone’s messes. It is cold-hearted and I feel for those people being slaughtered, but what is bombing going to do, or threats or whatever?
The Bush years have weighed deeply on our psyche as a nation. And then we elect this “change” guy and we still get another couple of years or Iraq, the continued fighting in Afghanistan, Gitmo, spying, all the things that horrified us during the Bush/Cheney regime of fear and war and jingoism.
This has to stop now.
You are so right.

David Greenberg

Mr. Campion:

By tying Syria's fortunes to Russia's in "SYRIA - JUST SAY NO" I believe that you are highlighting the most troubling aspect of potential U.S. intervention, namely the potential of starting a true proxy war. I hadn't even considered that. I am sticking to the most obvious reasons for non-intervention, chiefly, that I am tired of all our international shenanigans. The hubris, the financial burden, and the cost in mental and physical health effects on service members is too hard to bear.

Jonathan Young
Smithfield, RI

Hey James,

Usually I am the one guy you can always go to to support a good Haji ass whooping but wow, even Syria has me saying "yeah...ummm...thanks but no thanks". There is no "good guy" there. There is no "white cowboy hat" to get behind. Either way, you are going to create an alliance you will regret in a few short years as the alliance wears out its usefulness and the leopards spots prove unchanged.
Dropping ordnance from 120 miles away on targets created by intelligence reports is what got Mr. Obama's predecessor in trouble. The level of hypocrisy being displayed by this media is astounding. To support Mr. Obama's Syrian adventure while simultaneously still supporting the "Bush Lied - People Died" nonsense is over the top even for this lapdog media.
Hopefully, cooler heads prevail and we let the Syrians duke it out themselves.

Bill Roberts

This feels like one of your best columns. It’s incredibly pointed and sharply written. There were lots of good lines throughout, and this was one of the most perfectly put together: "Russia is a broke anachronistic lump of atrophied machismo ..." Incredibly apt. Glad you mentioned the complete misguided disaster and monumental waste of life called Vietnam (WE blocked their free elections in 1954, divided the country, and started a "civil" war, not the Vietnamese). And I love the ending. Also, perhaps, incredibly apt (tho I hate to think so). Sometimes you pay me the compliment of saying I write in ways beyond you. Well, you write in ways beyond me, too.


Bravo, Mr. Campion. No to Syria! No to Iran! No to the entire mess over there. And it is a mess, and unless we stop kowtowing to special interest and oil marauders and this over-the-top Israel collective, we will continue to be burdened by maniacs. What century is this? Where is humanity going? How much longer do we have to be inundated with this horrible, horrible, horrible ancient, tribal nonsense? It is inconceivable to me that we would even consider this. Your effusive backlash to this is what the country is buzzing about. This is the will of the people, and I hope this president and this congress will not give in to this veiled attempt at a power play – to merely involve ourselves in an untenable situation just to appear as if we’re THE Super Power!
Enough, I say!


Ah, yes. Russia. Of course. It’s Russia’s crap. Let them wipe their own asses for a change. That Putin asshole has been sitting on his hands for too long. These are his weapons. Assad is his dictator. We had to deal with the shit-can of our dictator in Iran in 1979, what the fuck? Man, up, Putin. You want to be a viable world leader, then lead or do something. I hope this president isn’t as asinine as the others. I hope he is not Johnson or Nixon or Reagan or Clinton or god helps us all, Bush (actually, as you point out, both Bush’s), as I have always believed what you have written about the primacy of the first Iraq War on 9/11 and the prior attacks on our embassies and ships.
This madness has to end at some point. They won’t ever end it over there, we just have to let them kill each other. Bombing another nation, getting our hands into another civil war and letting Putin reap the benefits or whatever may come, is bullshit.

The Runcker

If I may, your Russian points are sound, but I wonder how much they are motivated to stop this, beyond the fact that if Assad goes bye-bye, then there is a tinderbox down the block and Turkey, another key buffer for Russia, would be in harm’s way. I do think that Putin has interests in that direction, but to what end? What does a broke, battered and fractured nation gain from mucking around in Syria? That is a pile of trouble no country wants.


Do yourself no favors and “like” this idiot at
© J Campion September 13 2013

Boondoggle Update Or Our Merry Ride Into The Syrian Abyss Continues - James Campion
This neat little saving of the Syria people will once again turn into a long and painful ownership of all-things Syrian. This is how things go around here, and have gone for a long time. You dabble, you hang.

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