Originally from Tyumen, Russia, artist Evgeny Gerasimov, now citizen of San-Francisco, decided to tell all about the negatives of living in the US on his Facebook page. Here is what he has to say, translated from Russian:
My dear friendos!
Finally I’ve fallen ill and got a chance to stay at home, so I can speak at length about America and its negatives.
Generally speaking, I’m not breaking new ground here. Comparing and berating something in America is a popular pastime and plenty of migrants on Youtube participate. But they do so in a rather perfunctory manner, almost philistine-like:
Ohmygosh, there’s filth on the streets! Ohmygosh, there are hobos everywhere! The health care costs a fortune, the Internet is pricy, ohmygosh! Measuring things in miles and degrees fahrenheit, what? Ohmygosh, you have to leave a tip everywhere?!
Okay, all of this is true enough. There’s a lot of garbage in the cities. Hobos are living it up. Living in downtown San-Francisco is so expensive that only hobos can afford to live there, paradoxically enough. There are a lot of hobos, by the by, partly because of the health care system. A serious enough affliction or illness can drain people (or whole families) dry. But these are all menial things unworthy of attention of a doctor-philosopher hybrid. Tipping doesn’t bother me, because I don’t get the complaints at all. If you don’t want to tip, then don’t tip. If you tip, then stop bitching, bitch.
Well, shall we begin then?
A person that had been raised by a pair of starving intelligentsia-types in a Soviet kitchen will feel constant intellectual hunger in the US. The Americans are not stupid, God, no. But their interests tend to be so narrow that sometimes speaking to them becomes a bore. I mean, we know their culture really well because it is exported across the world. The Americans, highly aware of their cultural superiority, do not show interest in other cultures. San-Francisco and New York City are an exception to this: these cities are too ethnically diverse. You don’t get to choose the culture you want, culture chooses you. For example, I have been living in a district with a lot of Chinese people for almost a year, and recently the pork stand woman finally stopped spitting on my back when I pass her by. I’m almost one of them now!
But even in San-Francisco hobbies beyond mainstream are exotic and rare. I mean there are places where sweet and kind people gather to discuss European cinema, Russian classic literature, or try psilocybin. But this is such a minority of weird dorks, that it can be deemed an exception within an exception (I’m sorry, weird dorks).
That said, I can’t claim that my interests are much too different from American nerds: they’ve all seen Rick and Morty, have played Zelda, and know who Charlie Kelly is and why does he sniff glue. But you can’t live on Rick and Morty alone, I mean both. Sooner or later you’d want to discuss Dostoyevsky’s autumn that crushes your chest so suddenly, or Sartre’s Nausea, or Stendhal. Man, forget Stendhal, get this: this is what happened when I spoke with some of my coworkers in anticipation of Dunkirk film.
“Do you want to listen to Hans Zimmer?”
“He’s a film score composer. He scored Dunkirk.”
“It’s a new film by Christopher Nolan.”
“Who’s that? Who are these people and what’s wrong with all of them?”
It is widely known that Tyumen is the best city on the Earth. This is unrelated to our topic, but I just wanted to share this piece of information for people who have never been to Tyumen. Just to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
The US is a car country. The cities in the US are not made for taking walks. They may be small or large, beautiful or banal, but they all are extremely uncomfortable. If you’re in a downtown, then you’re in a squared off block, where everything is straight, a wall of buildings to the left, a wall of buildings to the right, a street, an avenue, then a street and an avenue again and so on. You can take a walk there, but only in order to get to a bar or a cafe.
People go downtown only to do their job for the day, then get back home to a fatass wife and impudent children in a suburban one story hole named something pompous like Lincolntown. These one story holes bear further discussion. I’m baffled by people managing to live there for years and not going crazy. The same stands for urban dwellers.
There’s nothing to do in those suburbs, except for what’s in your house and all the shit you’ve brought there. Leaving this oasis of household bliss is possible only by car. It takes miles of highway hell to get back to civilization. People don’t walk in the suburbs because sidewalks are either completely or partially gone. Watch Mac & Dennis Move to the Suburbs to get the full idea. Yes, god dammit, you can drive to a park, but everyone drives to the damn parks in the weekend!
Therefore, a person in the US is always in plain view. All courtyards are someone’s property. Getting in an alleyway is not an option, because they don’t exist. There are some narrow ones downtown, but they usually house the hobo tribes. There is nowhere to hide. Organizing cities by blocks does not allow for straying off course. And sometimes you just want to grab a friend by their shoulder, and take a walk in a shadowy avenue, make a detour in a quiet courtyard and discuss Stendhal (mentioned above) with some porto.
The Americans are very closed people, and often do not speak their mind. You have to constantly pay attention to what you say, and especially what you do, in a society that considers hurt feelings a serious offense.
Just like with their cities, American liberty does not allow straying off course. The concept of “thoughtcrime”, insightfully introduced by Orwell in the mid-XX century, is far more likely to become a reality in the US than anywhere else. Do you remember the anti-diversity manifesto by Google’s software engineer? Saying unpopular things may get you fired and discredited. You haven’t even finished saying “You know, I do not agree completely with the latest wave of American feminism,” and you’re already fired, the company already published a press release that your opinion does not represent the opinion of the company, and that HR that had hired you was actually in cahoots with Satan and is curently awaiting dismemberment.
There are a lot things Americans have to keep inside or subsided, while there are other things they have to demonstrate, even if they don’t really want to. This social courtesy is the wide American smile and candor that impresses the newly arrived immigrants so. The racial and ethnical stuff that forbids you from saying “I don’t like Chinese immigrants, they behave badly.” The sublimation of sexual energy, which has no natural outlet, because the American young people stopped having sex, in pairs at least. There’s a lot to keep in mind regarding the relations between sexes. You can’t just tell a woman on the street “You have beautiful legs, madam, how about taking a stroll together after Physics?” Relationships with women remind me of walking on a mine field — a single wrong step and shit hits the fan: you’re the new Harvey Weinstein/Kevin Spacey.
Keeping it down for whole lifetime is hard, hence nervous breakdowns end up with visits to a psychiatrist with the whole family at best, and at worst with dozens killed, when from time to time some crazy maniac kills a lot of people without regard for sin or mercy.
Sometimes you just have to tell someone (or everyone) to fuck off, and let some steam off. Tis an art forgotten by people, but still remembered by orcs.
By the way, the Weinstein and Spacey situation serves as a great example.
It’s entirely possible that both of these movieturds are bad people that had used their influence in the industry to make other people depend on them and later force those people to have sex with them. I think that the matter should be taken to court, and if there’s enough evidence to prove them guilty, they should be punished according to law. Additionally, I think that everyone has a right (which I accept but do not condone) to speak their mind, no matter how terrible it is, without fear of being lynched by angry social justice warriors mobs. If in Russia some media people, whose names escape me at the moment, can advocate the innocence of these Hollywood demons, and show their support publicly, in the US even joking about this is taboo. A comedian recently made an unfortunate joke about something Weinstein-like, and had to apologize on Twitter or wherever they all live now.
On the other hand, in Russia reposting a wrong thing on social media may land you in prison, but we all understand that that’s evil and Putler’s being naughty. In the US shutting people up and enforcing a solidary right opinion by means of collective lynching is represented as being a good thing and in favor of freedom of speech.