Sunday, August 03, 2008


He outlived the USSR.

From the New York Times obituary:

"It is within the power of writers and artists to do much more: to defeat the lie! For in the struggle with lies art has always triumphed and shall always triumph! Visibly, irrefutably for all! Lies can prevail against much in this world, but never against art." He quoted a Russian proverb: "One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world."

Somehow, it seems to me it only could be a Russian proverb. An American would expect the truth to triumph in time to make a happy ending. Not after everything had been lost and crushed and ground down as fine as snow.

In the piece I quoted below, Madonna has this to say today about Michael Moore, on the day Solzhenitsyn died:

"There aren't a lot of role models for us in the world, or people we can look up to," she said. "People who are not afraid to stick their neck out, people who are not afraid to stand up for things and be unpopular, to go against the grain, think outside the box.

"And we need, and I need, Michael Moore in my life."

It's almost unfair of me to even mention the two truths at the same time. Almost. Moore: "I'm a millionaire, I'm a multi-millionaire. I'm filthy rich. You know why I'm a multi-millionaire? 'Cause multi-millions like what I do. That's pretty good, isn't it? There's millions that believe in what I do. Pretty cool, huh?"

The obituary:

By this time, Solzhenitsyn had completed his own massive attempt at truthfulness, "The Gulag Archipelago." In more than 300,000 words, he told the history of the Gulag prison camps, whose operations and rationale and even existence were subjects long considered taboo.

Publishers in Paris and New York had secretly received the manuscript on microfilm. But wanting the book to appear first in the Soviet Union, Solzhenitsyn asked them to put off publishing it. Then, in September 1973, he changed his mind. He had learned that the Soviet spy agency, the KGB, had unearthed a buried copy of the book after interrogating his typist, Elizaveta Voronyanskaya, and that she had died soon afterward in an apparent suicide by hanging.

And there isn't even a picture of Elizaveta Voronyanskaya on the Internet.