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Coming face to neck with Vladimir Putin

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ashbird

Such a fun article to read. Erudition rendered in delightful “grobulated” humor (I don’t what the word means either, but thought it fun to use, whatever it means). This is no pleasantry. The sentiment is deeply meant. Thank you a ton, Bagehot. This article is one of a handful of reasons that make TE worthwhile to read as a distinctly “British” paper. I meant “British” in a good sense here. Good as in “Shakespeare”.
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But I beg to differ on one point on which our ideas differ.
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I have to do a “quickie”, since I have no time for a slumbering exposition. The subject material is so rich and so many-faceted. Thus so many thoughts to write out, yet alas I don’t write swiftly, I don’t even type accurately, plus these days, I am more hyper-focused on getting my legato passably acceptable in the L hand in bars 5 an 6, and R hand in bars 7, 8, 9, 10, in Tchaikovsky’s Opus 37b for the piano, #6. An ambitious endeavor that takes huge blocks of practice time. As I said before, time is finite; with each day that passes, a life is one day closer to the end of it. Sviatoslav Richter’s playing of the piece is the model of perfection if there is such a thing as “perfection” (you can youtube it easily and disagree of course - esthetics, whether conceived and perceived by the ears, eyes, taste, scent and feel, are subjective). Richter was the adjudicator who gave Van Cliburn, a 23-year-old American from Texas, 100 full marks and all other contestants 0 at the inaugural quadrennial International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958. The story goes the vote was unanimous from a panel of adjudicators consisting entirely of Moscow Conservatory professors, but the Conservatory feared to award him the First Prize, since doing so might be, to borrow a quaint term coined by “nothing else to say-ers” in the last half or full decade in America, “politically Incorrect” and consequence grave "punishment", so they sent the then junior colleague Emil Gilels to approach Khrushchev (Premier, 1958-1964) for “permission”, to which the premier, who was in the audience when the final round of 5 contestants were heard, thundered, “Well, damn it, was he the best?” Gilels gingerly answered: “Yes, Premier, he was.” “Well, damn it, Give him the Gold!” (sorry, some colorful language for embellishment. I don’t speak or read Russian, but that’s how the story goes in English).
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This is the end of my substantive comment. Sheffield or no Sheffield is in the eyes, ears and nose of the “beholder”.
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Resounding plaudits for citing Derek Parfit (1942 – 2017). You were lucky to have such a fine mind for a teacher. His thoughts on personal identity, rationality, and ethics, were items every person who claims to be “educated” should have some familiarity with. His book, Reasons and Persons (1984), certainly is a must-read, and the other one, On What Matters (2011) where he argues for moral realism, is another must read (in it he suggests the three most prominent categories of views in moral philosophy - Kantian deontology, consequentalism, and contractarianism - ultimately converge on the same answers to moral questions which, like it or not, affect Man. (“Twerk” - a term used in one of the headlines by your paper recently - I thought it was great - is not the mine where answers are found, no matter how effectively they rob Man of its ability to think.)
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A somewhat related anecdote, excited by your personal sharing and Mercedes story. An older brother had some business with Russia a decade or so ago. He resided in Germany. After a deal was struck, the Russian counterpart insisted on providing him with a chauffeur-driven Mercedes. The chauffeur insisted on chauffeuring him everywhere he went. One day, he got sick of it, he slipped out in London to ride a double-decker bus and the tube. He made it. It was some time later he learned the Mercedes was bulletproofed. Though it was never clear whom the special vehicle was intended to protect.

mgs1965

Great column. However, the first sentence may contain a typo: In his PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMICS, the great economist Alfred Marshall (1842-1924) used Sheffield steel as an extended example; T. H. Marshall (1893-1981) was a leading sociologist.

TE reader

We beg The Economist/Bagehot for a definiition grobulation. Sounds so good, rolls nicely off the tongue. But what does it mean?

Sydney57

He also went to a pub and noticed some good looking girls. He did not go to theatres and museums. Perhaps he is not interested in art. He is a busy man.

guest-ajillswn

I have been looking for the definition of "grobulation" for the past hour. Can someone please help here? I feel like the Economist's copy editors are rarely wrong.

kiratwan

Funny. Good you didn't book your hotel room in Moscow, Maine. USA.
Moscow , Maine has a post office. Didn't notice any hotel. Bench in
the park would have been fine in summer.

all bask

Whlist part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the object before us, another part (and may be larger part) always comes out of our own mind.
William James
The Principles of Psychology

guest-ajssinoi

Very one sided view on Russia and Saint Petersburg in particular. Looks like the author did nothing but ride around in a taxi and sit at some forums and lectures. What’s it all about?