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I Was A Commie Writer!!!
Self (Shameless Vanity Post) | December 4, 2001 | PJ-Comix

Posted on 12/04/2001 5:14:31 AM PST by PJ-Comix

Sorry for the shameless vanity post but I was just reminiscing with someone about the time I was a COMMIE writer and it brought back a lot of memories. So was it during a period when I was some sort of wild-eyed liberal? No. Actually I was just as conservative then as I am now. So how did I manage to be a COMMIE writer?

More precisely, I was a writer for a COMMIE magazine (it had Lenin's seal in it). Or to put it more accurately it was officially a Commie magazine although almost none of the writers were really commies (although officially they had to be). The magazine was Krokodil Magazine which was the largest circulation magazine (10+ million) in the old Soviet Union. Krokodil was a humor magazine and they were able to get away with a bit more in the way of criticising their system than the other magazines. Also this was on the tail end of the Evil Empire so their critiques of Soviet life were more biting than in previous years.

Mr. Leonid Florentiev (who really hated the Soviet system with a passion) was their Foreign Editor and it was he who made Yours Truly the American Correspondent for Krokodil. I will provide more details about this strange episode in my checkered career in the near future. However, it sure was nice to know at the time that I had over 10 million readers looking at my stuff. (The pay stunk since a ruble back then was worth nothing----However, 5386 rubles were also worth nothing.)


TOPICS: Announcements; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS:
I hope to have an article about my Krokodil experiences published in the near future. I even won some sort of Lenin Writing Achievement award from Krokodil which was announced to me when some of the Krokodil staffers (including Florentiev) visited the USA. You will also be amused by Florentiev's confrontation with a group of liberals at UCLA. All to be chronicled in the article.
1 posted on 12/04/2001 5:14:31 AM PST by PJ-Comix (pj@pjcomix.com)
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To: PJ-Comix
Did they make you join a union?
2 posted on 12/04/2001 5:18:15 AM PST by LarryLied
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To: PJ-Comix
Did you have to eat cabbage too?
3 posted on 12/04/2001 5:21:07 AM PST by Fred Mertz
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: PJ-Comix
Paid you in vodka, huh???
5 posted on 12/04/2001 5:24:31 AM PST by cynicom
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To: PJ-Comix

Why don't you resurrect Krokodil in English form as an American version to continue ridiculing and satirizing totalitarian culture and ideology? We could use the laughs!

6 posted on 12/04/2001 5:24:54 AM PST by Kermit the Frog Does theWatusi
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To: LarryLied
Did they make you join a union?

Nope. Not even the Soviet UNION. BTW, the hilarious thing is that the Krokodil staffers visiting the USA were more politically conservative than their American audience at UCLA. I'll have more details about this confrontation in my article. Also I am trying to find Leonid Florentiev. I haven't been able to track him down. He was a hell of a nice guy (and had the great wisdom to make Yours Truly the Krokodil American correspondent).

I'll will be back later for more replies. I have to take off right now.

7 posted on 12/04/2001 5:25:32 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
The magazine was Krokodil Magazine which was the largest circulation magazine (10+ million) in the old Soviet Union.

I remember reading stuff from it, here and there.

Interesting post.

FR!

8 posted on 12/04/2001 5:25:58 AM PST by alcuin
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To: cdwright
What does that look like?

Like a short-toothed Walrus. Seriously, it was a profile drawing of Lenin with Hammer & Sickle and some Commie stuff written on it.

9 posted on 12/04/2001 5:27:18 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
Somebody check PJ's garage.
10 posted on 12/04/2001 5:28:22 AM PST by Joe Driscoll
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To: alcuin
I'll see if I can dig up a copy of Krokodil and scan it to post here. I gotta go now.
11 posted on 12/04/2001 5:28:26 AM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
Here's the latest picture of Lenin I could find:


12 posted on 12/04/2001 5:45:02 AM PST by LurkedLongEnough
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To: PJ-Comix
I'm sure it was wonderful. This half-Polish American can tell you from first hand experience that most Eastern Europeans have a wonderfully dark sense of humor, Russians included.
13 posted on 12/04/2001 6:28:12 AM PST by Clemenza
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To: Clemenza
Here is the cover from a 1965 edition of Krokodil. Sadly, Krokodil is no more. I wonder if there is a similar type of humor magazine in Russia nowadays?


14 posted on 12/04/2001 2:16:58 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
I hope to have an article about my Krokodil experiences published in the near future

That sounds fascinating

15 posted on 12/04/2001 2:20:30 PM PST by xm177e2
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To: PJ-Comix; Askel5

"If somebody asks me, say: 'there is no God.'" (God is watching a hockey game on TV)


16 posted on 12/04/2001 2:22:40 PM PST by Senator Pardek
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To: xm177e2
When the Krokodil staffers visited the USA in 1989, one of the people they saw at UCLA at the humor conference was George Carlin. Carlin was the featured American speaker. I don't think the Krokodil folks knew who he was. Anyway, I was nervously sitting in the audience, waiting to meet Mr. Florentiev and the other Russians (and an Estonian). After the conference was over (with me still sitting humbly in the audience) they all met out in the lobby. When Mr. Florentiev found out who I was (after a false start to be described later) he shouted out for all the Krokodil staffers to gather around me, leaving George Carlin in their wake. Apparently my writings were very popular in Russia (I heard that the Politburo folks read them so it was nice to know Gorby read my stuff). The strange thing is that George Carlin was part of the crowd that gathered around me as I launched into some funny stories (having quickly shed the timidity I felt earlier). The best part of the evening was talking to Leonid Florentiev and the other Krokodil staffers (plus the Estonian from his own humor magazine). Carlin came over and talked to me as well, probably wondering what the hell was going on. Also on hand was Robert Easton, the comedy actor who does great hillbilly accents (I discussed "The Loved One" with him since it is one of my favorite movies). Another humorist was there as well. It was the guy who was the cousin of a former senator from Oklahoma. Can one of you Okies out there help me in recalling his name?

Anyway, there was much MUCH more to that incredible evening and my experiences with Krokodil.

Yes, it sure did go to my head but I was quickly brought back to earth the next time I had to deal with American editors whose normal mode was to treat me like dirt.

P.S. I would love to get in touch with George Carlin (great guy) to see what he remembers from that incredible evening.

17 posted on 12/04/2001 3:25:08 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
From the title, I was afraid that this was going to be another Horowitz confession.
18 posted on 12/04/2001 3:27:50 PM PST by christianswindler
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To: christianswindler
From the title, I was afraid that this was going to be another Horowitz confession.

Well, I was a liberal writer when I was in High School. Hopefully all of my writings from then have been burned.

19 posted on 12/04/2001 3:30:14 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: Fred Mertz
He ate chocolate cheese mousse.
20 posted on 12/04/2001 3:31:44 PM PST by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: PJ-Comix
Fascinating! I assume you wrote in American and they translated into Russki, da? How did the humour translate? Idioms, Americanisms, puns? Baseball references? Hey, what's a "freeway" in Russian? Supermarket? Or did you write about the birds and the bees, dirt and mud and such universal subjects? More, more, please!
21 posted on 12/04/2001 3:40:28 PM PST by Revolting cat!
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To: christianswindler
From the title, I was afraid that this was going to be another Horowitz confession.

LOL.

22 posted on 12/04/2001 3:49:35 PM PST by alcuin
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To: Revolting cat!
Fascinating! I assume you wrote in American and they translated into Russki, da?

Yes. Although I learned Cyrillic, I didn't know Russian so I always wondered about the translation. For example, I wrote a satirical piece about how the true enemy of the USA was that "Colossus to the North"---Canada. I wrote it completely straight but in English we would definitely know it is a parody. However, did they take this seriously when reading the Russian translation? I don't know. Of course, I always fantasized that maybe the Politburo members, from reading that article, noted a large seachange in American attitudes towards Canada with the result that perhaps we Americans did not consider the Soviets our primary enemy any longer since those dangerous Canucks were threatening our border as I implied in the article.

23 posted on 12/04/2001 3:56:19 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
I think you made a boo-boo. This appears NOT to to be a "Krokodil" cover. It is a "Kapokoana" magazine cover. Was life in the USSR so dull that youse guys had magazines about coat filling material? Is there perhaps a Goretex or Goosedown magazine? Just curious. parsifalinksiovich.
24 posted on 12/04/2001 3:58:33 PM PST by parsifal
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To: PJ-Comix
I've see some cartoons from that magazine on occasion.
25 posted on 12/04/2001 4:04:26 PM PST by ozzymandus
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To: parsifal
Even though I don't know Russian I can read Cyrillic and that cover I posted definitely says "KROKODIL."
26 posted on 12/04/2001 4:07:52 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
Are you sure? "Krokodil" doesn't have a "p" in it or an "n". Are Russians bad spellers? Is it all that vodka, or Commie educational system? Glass Smetana. parsifalonova.
27 posted on 12/04/2001 4:18:23 PM PST by parsifal
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To: parsifal
I'm referring to the pic in Reply #14. It is definitely "KROKODIL."
28 posted on 12/04/2001 4:24:44 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
I was a commie reader: I read newspapers.

I was a commie t.v.watcher: I watch CNN ABC CBS NBC

29 posted on 12/04/2001 4:40:57 PM PST by fish hawk
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To: parsifal, summer
This post brought back a lot of memories so right now I am in the process of finishing up a long article about my experiences as a Krokodil correspondent. Actually the highlight of the article isn't about me. It is about an amazing confrontation that Leonid Florentiev had with his KGB handler and a liberal American audience when the Krokodil staffers visited Los Angeles. Since this confrontation was never covered in the news, I am writing about it for the first time. It should be online in a couple of weeks.
30 posted on 01/01/2002 5:30:13 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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To: PJ-Comix
Very interesting! :)
31 posted on 01/01/2002 6:02:25 PM PST by summer
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To: summer
Made even more interesting by the fact that George Carlin himself was present at that confrontation at UCLA. Also Robert Easton the character actor was there. I spoke to both of them and Easton told me some really fascinating things about the filming of "The Loved One" in which he portrayed a hillbilly James Bond. However, both those gentlemen played only peripheral roles in the events of that evening.
32 posted on 01/01/2002 6:17:49 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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