Angela Brintlinger posts at NYU Jordan Center News about the traditional prudishness of Russian high/literary culture and how it’s been eaten away since perestroika by writers like Viktor Erofeev and Eduard Limonov, and about one aspect of the alarming new “bloggers law” (thanks for the link, George!):
All that is about to end. As reported this week, Putin’s new “bloggers law”—which goes into effect on August 1—includes a section on profanity. Four “vulgar words” will no longer be permitted. The New York Times explains: “(The words, not mentioned in the law either, are crude terms for male and female genitalia, sex and a prostitute.)”
Really? We’re going back to х**, п***а, е****, and б***?
In other words, they’re banning the Big Four: хуй ‘cock, prick,’ пизда ‘cunt,’ ебать ‘fuck,’ and блядь ‘whore’ (but functionally equivalent to ‘fuck’ in that it can be inserted anywhere in a sentence just to add an extra helping of profanity). This is obviously far from the worst thing in the law or in what’s going on these days in Russia, but even though having a finger cut off isn’t as bad as having your head cut off, you still don’t want to have a finger cut off. I just wish she hadn’t felt the need to add the prissy caveat “I am no fan of profanity. The great and powerful Russian language, as Turgenev had it, has made a lasting impact on world culture even without those nasty words…” Fuck that shit, lady. Profanity is an inherent part of the великий и могучий, as it is of any proper language, and there’s no need to hold it at arm’s length when you’re going to the trouble of deploring its banning.