Mankind's only alternative 21   NOV.   18  
Mankind's only alternative
Vlad's Daily Gloat - The eXile Blog
MAIN  RUSSIA  WAR NERD   [SIC!]  BAR-DAK  THE VAULT  ABOUT US  RSS
 
 
EXILE BLOGS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Book Review November 27, 2002
 
Mikey McFaul and the Three Bears
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
Page 2 of 5
 
Being more cynical than the average academic, I am inclined to suspect that McFaul failed to deal with opposing views simply because he is intellectually incapable of doing so and temperamentally unsuited, by virtue of his utterly shameless pursuit of political power, to spend too much time on the unrewarding arcana of his vocation.

Perhaps the starkest illustration of that shamelessness is that this man, who has spent the last year groveling to the most rightwing administration in a century, can allude with a straight face to "my comrades in the African National Congress (ANC)." It would be interesting to survey the ANC ruling circles to see if anyone there remembers a "comrade" named McFaul. One might refresh their memories with some updated details: "You know, McFaul -- Fellow of the Hoover Institution, advocate of 'regime change' in Iraq, admirer of George W., ..." It might be a tad difficult, these days, to find anyone in the ANC willing to admit remembering Comrade McFaul.

But for McFaul, there is no shame and no contradiction in simultaneously groveling to Bush's imperialists and the ANC. After reading McFaul's book, I was overcome by something like morbid curiosity about what sort of grotesque consciousness could sustain such incompatible patrons. To put it more bluntly: how can such a vile, double-speaking courtier live with himself?

Rereading the book, I realized that for McFaul, groveling to power is not merely a natural, but in a bizarre sense, a moral act. A sincere conviction underlies such behavior and also provides the major premise of McFaul's book: the belief that any political structure that can triumph and sustain itself is thereby legitimized.

This premise is historicized in McFaul's account of recent Russian history via a crude, fairy-tale structure: the ancient Indo-European story-form of the heroic quest involving three attempts, the first two of which fail, while the third succeeds (eg "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," "The Three Little Pigs"). The first stage, which McFaul calls "The Gorbachev Era," begins with Gorbachev's accession to power and ends with the failed 1991 coup. The second begins with Yeltsin coming to power in 1991 and ends with the attack on the White House. To this alleged epoch McFaul has given the grand title "The First Russian Republic." The third stage is the next three years of Yeltsin's disastrous reign, a period which McFaul terms "The Emergence of the Second Russian Republic, 1993-1996."

McFaul is not shy in introducing his three-part narrative, admitting that it is an artificial "periodization" of a "single historical phenomenon." In fact, in a two-page subsection called "Methodological Considerations" (pp. 26-27) he admits that "...this periodization is manufactured, artificially dividing what is a single case of regime transformation into three observations of institutional change..." Then, without engaging this rather basic intellectual flaw in any way whatsoever, he says that despite such "research design limitations," "[his] analysis forges ahead..."

This is surely one of the grandest non sequiturs in contemporary academic prose. Like much of McFaul's work, it cannot be understood in logical terms. It must be seen as a rhetorical ploy resulting from the author's divided intention and audience. Look closely at the language of the non sequitur. The very title of the subsection in which it occurs, "Methodological Considerations," suggests that this two-page section is a brief aside to more rigorous academic readers. McFaul trots out academic language here, conceding his "research design limitations." But then he turns to the language of the politician in boasting that "the analysis forges ahead" -- as if resuming his true role, the orator, and abandoning his academic pretensions in all possible haste. The author's priorities could hardly be clearer: professional respectability is well enough, but "forg[ing] ahead" to the big grants is what really matters.


SHARE:  Del.icio.us  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit

Browse author
dolan@exile.ru
 
 
FROM THE VAULT

The (Culinary) Battle of Vinograd :

2006: The Year Russia Schooled The West : Russia's Report Card For The 2006 Academic Year

Your Letters :

Russian Presidential Candidates Blog For Democracy :
 

 
 
 
LATEST ARTICLES

Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
Editorial
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...

 
 
 

    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442
E-mail: office@exile.ru