Viktor Erofeyev Joshes With Us
With the phrase, "the inexplicable, almost universal delight that Russians take in the notion of drunken disorder," it becomes obvious that Mr. Erofeyev is joking. Surely he cannot fail to understand such a basic aspect of the Big Russian Soul.
But it is this paragraph which crosses the line between light jesting and sheer absurdity:
Vodka is unlike other forms of alcohol in that there is no justifiable excuse for drinking it. The Frenchman will praise the aroma of cognac, and the Scotsman will laud the flavor of whiskey. Vodka, however, is colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
Now he's just being silly. Good vodka, in its many varieties, has great nose, great flavor, undeniable complexity. Bad vodka? Well, the same is even more true of bad vodka. Just ask anyone who has downed a bottle which, despite its lack of lemon flavoring, shines a great, murky, piss-yellow.
By which I mean to say, just ask me. It was complex. A complex set of circumstances led to its purchase. The opening of the bottle was fraught with ritual and difficulty. Its consumption was elaborate, its flavors were overwhelming. And its after-effects complicated my life for days after I woke in Ust-barguzin in the company of ragged strangers with shining souls.
I have met Viktor. None can deny his soul. So what is he doing here?
The answer, I believe lies in the venue. This "New Yorker" must by nature be a magazine bereft of soul. Viktor, ever playful, is toying with its editors and readers. Bravo. A toast, Viktor, to your undeniable soul.
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