Roger von Oech

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      « Design A New Calendar | Main | Postcard from Moscow »

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      Lewis Green

      Excellent post! I remember Khrushchev's words well. After hearing them, the next time I crawled under my school desk for an Air Raid drill, it became a whole new, serious and scary event.

      Charles Meyrick

      His grandchildren would put dirt on our graves? Instead, we find that the children and grandchildren of that era are putting symbols of freedom and creativity on his grave.

      Kruschev was "good" only if you grade on a curve, and only if the rest of the class is composed of blood-soaked, ruthless dictators: Lenin, Stalin, Breshnev. Even at that, I'm not sure how well he comes off; after all, he helped organize the forced famine of Ukraine after WW II, richly earning the sobriquet "The Butcher of the Ukraine".

      See "The Black Book of Communism" for an exhaustive detailing of the sorry story of the 20th century; or nearly anything by Robert Conquest.

      Roger von Oech

      Lewis: I remember "ducking and covering" as well. Do you remember also the days of atmospheric nuclear testing (say between 1958 and 1962) when the government wold come and report how much Strontium-90 was in the average glass of milk?

      Charles: Good comments about symbols of creativity on the grave.

      "Khrushchev was "good" only if you grade on a curve, and only if the rest of the class is composed of blood-soaked, ruthless dictators: Lenin, Stalin, Breshnev." You are so right about that. Sadly, Putin just authorized a new set of textbooks that say Stalin wasn't so bad -- he was busy doing what was necessary to build a state. Even though Stalin killed scores of millions of his own people through forced labor, famines, purges, and the like.

      Free to think, Free to believe

      Nevertheless few leaders now have the guts to defy their last predecessor [partly perhaps they worry that may make folk wonder about how needed they are?] and I can't imagine that surviving Stalin was good for anybody's mental health - having survived the horror of Stalin the few western diplomats must have paled in comparison...

      It's a nice thought though that he would like to make a nation of funeral directors, but it obviously didn't go down well enough considering what you say followed...

      The problem with Russia before Lenin and the rest of them - Tsar's who were just as ruthless are still loved as father figures as well - could it be that the whole country was so ruled that it infantalised it's population to the point only a strong stern 'Father' could guide them? and is 'infantalised' a word?

      Roger von Oech

      Free to Think: That's a great insight: "I can't imagine that surviving Stalin was good for anybody's mental health."

      David

      actually a far more useful analysis would be:

      what totally absurd, provocative, destructive comments has George W. Bush been making... or many US presidents before him? You know for a while I thought JFK was a good guy... until I found out recently that he and Bobbie proposed and activated all sorts of devious plots to assinate various leaders like Fidel and many others. AMERICAN POLICY IS NOT THE GOOD GUYS. In fact my conclusion is that John and Bobbie got, probably, exactly what they deserved.

      Stephen Denny

      "What totally absurd, provocative, destructive comments has George W. Bush been making... or many US presidents before him?"

      In the spirit of grading on a curve, none of any note or consequence. Compare the worst of American politics and they all pale in comparison to the former Soviets (and the current Russian). To the best of my knowledge, our president has so far refrained from killing his enemies with Polonium 210. I admire his restraint.

      American policy -- economic, social, political, and military -- is the collective "good guy" in the world. We see no brain drain from here to anywhere, we see no outflux of people looking for a better life, and we (who live here) enjoy the rule of law. With few exceptions, this is a global anomoly.

      The useful analysis in Roger's post is that those who strive to enslave the world typicaly are the ones to get buried by history. Those who seek to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of a ball of whacks are the good guys. Anyone unafraid of their own citizenry would agree with this statement -- and the implications for managing foreign policy, or your brand strategy, are equally clear.

      Roger von Oech

      Stephen: Very well stated! (Too bad you don't run a political blog.)

      Tim Siedell

      It struck me the other day that this year's crop of high school seniors would have been born in 1991. That means no Berlin Wall in their lifetime. Isn't that amazing?

      Charles Meyrick

      Stephen's measured reply to david is spot-on. I would like to add the following observations.

      From david's post:
      "...my conclusion is that John and Bobbie [Kennedy] got, probably, exactly what they deserved".

      It is interesting to note that JFK was assassinated by a committed Marxist; RFK by a committed anti-Semitic Palestinian who opposed American support of Israel.

      A recent book (Camelot and the Cultural Revolution" posits the argument that the American left had to distort the story of JFK's assassination, since he was *not* assassinated by a right-winger, but by a left-winger.

      40+ years later, we find some elements of the left, such as david, exulting in the assassinations. How many times does the Left plan to assassinate Jack and Bobby?

      Lisa

      Great to catch up on your time in Moscow, Roger. As always, I learned some things reading your blog. Love the image of Kruschev reaching up for a Ball of Whacks. What shape would he make? I expect his ball is original red, and not multicolored? Happy travels, Lisa

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