sperm batters live barricades

Philipp Bakhtin, editor in chief of Russian Esquire, distinguished himself this month mainly by putting up and taking down a nine-story banner featuring the cover of its April issue posing the question: “Why do ballerinas and gays join United Russia?” His magazine interviewed nine professionally creative and sexually venturesome Russians, eliciting their reasons for joining the ranks of Putin’s dominant political party. These reasons included the following:

  • a wish to mimic the makeup of Italian parliament that included a prostitute defending the interests of her class;
  • support for the slogan issued by party leadership: “Parliament is no place for discussions”;
  • belief in the importance of national unity and faith in the only party capable of sustaining it;
  • a yearning for an ideology defining and advancing the national mission of Russia;
  • disenchantment with the principle that some things are not to be bought or sold;
  • lack of alternative political leaders worthy of enthusiastic support;
  • a craving for shelter in the breast of hegemonic officialdom; and
  • enthusiasm for state propaganda of healthy lifestyles.

Bakhtin’s less notable but equally provocative contribution was the following editorial extolling modern Russian man spermatozoa coursing through the cunts of American deer mice as the summit of creation:

Оказывается, шимпанзе не бросают сирот. Немецкие ученые в течение 27 лет пристально наблюдали 36 маленьких, оставшихся без родителей шимпанзе, 18 из которых были взяты под опеку другими взрослыми шимпанзе, и 10 из этих 18—выжили. Приемные родители раскалывали для них орехи, защищали в драках и спасали от леопардов, причем нередко это делали самцы, которые обычно не интересуются воспитанием потомства. То есть в течение месяцев и даже лет волосатые шимпанзе делали что-то, что было либо обременительно, либо опасно для них лично, но полезно для вида в целом.
    Мало того, оказывается, сперматозоиды американских хомячков Peromyscus maniculatus способны объединяться в стайки, чтобы обгонять конкурентов из чужих семенников—примерно так, как это делают во время эстафеты конькобежцы в шорт-треке, подталкивая друг друга в спину. Легкомысленные самки этих Peromyscus maniculatus (оленьих хомячков) спариваются сразу с несколькими партнерами, но сперматозоиды умеют отличать своих от чужих, объединяются с родственниками и вместе несутся к финишу. И тем самым демонстрируют еще один пример альтруистического поведения, поскольку оплодотворить яйцеклетку сможет только один конькобежец.
    Почему шимпанзе и сперматозоиды делают это? Потому что природа таинственным образом научила их жертвовать личными интересами ради интересов своего вида. Но вот что удивительно: сперматозоиды американских хомячков природа наделила этим даром, а (возьмем сегодняшний пример) сотрудников Первого батальона Первого спецполка ГИБДД—нет. 5 марта эти представители тупиковой ветви эволюции среди ночи перекрыли МКАД автомобилями мирно ехавших по своим делам граждан (в том числе беременных), чтобы остановить машину с преступниками (укравшими сумочку), которые успешно протаранили кордон и уехали. И это просто первая попавшаяся на глаза новость—завтра будет еще триста таких же.
    Почему эти монады в ушанках так поступили? Потому что когда-то давно природа таинственным образом наделила их самосознанием, которое, как теперь стало ясно, плохо уживается с альтруистическим поведением. Разглядевший самого себя шимпанзе поумнел, изобрел колесо, компас, паровой двигатель, википедию и съедобные трусы со вкусом малины, но почти начисто утратил чувство ответственности за любых сородичей, кроме ближайшей родни и сокурсников по юрфаку ЛГУ (например). Теперь, чтобы выжить, этот вид животных должен начать экономить свет и воду, отказаться от использования полиэтиленовых пакетов, перестать покупать и выбрасывать лишнюю еду, избавиться от бензиновых двигателей, договориться о квотах на выброс парниковых газов, демонтировать ядерное оружие, остановить вырубку лесов и уничтожение диких животных, потратить миллиарды на технологии безопасной утилизации всего на свете и разобрать по семьям 600 тысяч (только в России) сирот. Но, к сожалению, польза от этого будет общественная, да и то в будущем, а каждому отдельно взятому сегодняшнему человеку окончательно достанутся исключительно хлопоты.
    На всякий случай: общество, способное объединиться и заботиться об интересах всех своих в целом нынешних и будущих членов, называется гражданское общество (если не слышали, поинтересуйтесь в интернетах). Но, согласно последним сведениям ученых, самое гражданское из всех существующих обществ расположено в пизде у американских оленьих хомячков.

—Филипп Бахтин, «Творению-венец», Esquire, April 2010

It turns out that chimps do not abandon orphans. German scientists over the past 27 years have observed 36 young, orphaned chimpanzees, 18 of which were adopted by other adult chimpanzees, and these 18 survived. Adoptive parents cracked nuts for them, defended them in fights, and saved them from leopards, and often all that was done by males, who usually lack interest in raising offspring. That is, for months and even years hairy chimps undertook something that was either burdensome or dangerous for them individually, but useful for the species as a whole.
    Moreover, it turns out that spermatozoa of American rodents Peromyscus maniculatus can associate in flocks, in order to overtake competition from foreign sperm, more or less the way it is done by relay skaters in a short track, pushing each other in the back. Frivolous females of Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mice) mate with several partners, but the spermatozoa are able to distinguish their own kind from others, join forces with their kin, and race as a pack to the finish. And thus they demonstrate yet another example of altruistic behavior, for only one skater can fertilize the egg.
    Why do chimpanzees and spermatozoa do it? Because nature in her mysterious way has taught them to sacrifice personal interests for the interests of their kind. But here is the surprising part: nature has bestowed this gift upon the spermatozoa of American deer mice, but (to take the current example) not upon the members of the First Battalion of the First Special Regiment of the State traffic police. On March 5, these representatives of an evolutionary dead end branch blocked Moscow Ring Road in the dead of the night with the vehicles of citizens peacefully going about their business (including pregnant women), in order to stop the car full of criminals (purse-snatchers), who successfully rammed the cordon and drove away. And this is just the first news item to come along—tomorrow there will be three hundred more of the same.
    Why did these fur-hatted monads do it? Because once upon a time nature mysteriously bestowed upon them self-awareness, which, as is now clear, has a hard time coexisting with altruistic behavior. Having scrutinized himself, the chimp wisened up, invented the wheel, the compass, the steam engine, Wikipedia, and edible raspberry-flavored panties, while almost completely losing its sense of responsibility for his fellow tribesmen, except the nearest kinfolk and classmates from the Law School of Leningrad State University (to take one example). Now, in order to survive, this species must start saving water and power, put an end to plastic bags, stop buying and wasting extra food, get rid of the gasoline engine, agree on quotas for greenhouse gases, dismantle nuclear weapons, stop deforestation and destruction of wildlife, spend billions on technology for safe disposal of everything, and find family homes for 600 thousand orphans (in Russia alone). Unfortunately, the benefits of all that will accrue only to the society at large, and only in the future, yielding nothing but trouble for every single present-day individual.
    Just in case: a society that can unite and promote the interests of all its current and future members, is called a civil society (if you haven’t heard of it, ask the internets). But, according to the latest scientific findings, the most civil of all existing societies is located in the cunts of American deer mice.

—translated by MZ


Peromyscus maniculatus

It is heartening to have glossy Russian media attend to the humble Peromyscus maniculatus, the deer mouse that along with congeneric species counts as the most common native North American mammal, ranging from Alaska to Central America. One of the latest scientific findings in its regard is the account of the cooperative behaviour of spermatozoa given by Heidi S. Fisher and Hopi E. Hoekstra in a letter to Nature 463, 801-803 (11 February 2010), “Competition Drives Cooperation Among Closely Related Sperm of Deer Mice”. Fisher and Hoekstra begin by observing that sperm of Peromyscus polionotus, a monogamous species ipso facto lacking sperm competition, indiscriminately groups with unrelated conspecific sperm. Then they show that by contrast, sperm of the highly promiscuous Peromyscus maniculatus are significantly more likely to aggregate with those obtained from the same male than with sperm from an unrelated conspecific males and even with sperm from siblings. They conclude that sperm from promiscuous deer mice discriminate among relatives and thereby cooperate with the most closely related sperm, as a result of an evolutionary adaptation likely to have been driven by sperm competition.

What does all that have to do with Moscow traffic cops? Not so much. The practice of police commanding assistance from the public, epitomized by Popeye Doyle commandeering a civilian’s 1971 Pontiac LeMans to chase the French Connection, is both legal and widespread in this most civil of all possible societies. The novel twist contributed by the makers of “live barricades” deployed against fleeing criminals on Moscow Ring Road, is compelling civilians to put themselves along with their property in the way of rapidly approaching harm. The Connecticut Supreme Court addressed this issue in State v. Floyd, 217 Conn. 73, 584 A.2d 1157 (1991). The trial judge in Floyd, Jon C. Blue, elaborates upon this case in “High Noon Revisited: Commands of Assistance by Peace Officers in the Age of the Fourth Amendment”, May, 1992, 101 Yale Law Journal 1475, by posing an analogy between the command of assistance and the notorious British practice of impressment, forcible induction of men into military and especially naval service. He argues that subjecting ordinary citizens to summary impressment into hazardous police duty is inconsistent with our basic notions of constitutional liberty, pointing out that the ruling in the Floyd case construed Connecticut’s commanding assistance statute as authorizing such commands “only when such assistance is both demonstrably necessary and reasonable under all the circumstances”. This provision grafted a reasonable appearance upon a practice that by its nature requires split-second decisions involving the safety of the person, where the person commanded will have no ready means of identifying a deficient command. Judge Blue points out that, given a widespread concern that Fourth Amendment law is too confusing to be understood by policemen on the beat, a generalized rule of reasonableness reduces the law to a morass where no one, policeman or citizen, can determine his rights and responsibilities in advance. As Anthony Amsterdam has observed in “Perspectives on the Fourth Amendment”, 58 Minnesota Law Review 49, 394 (1974):

If there are no fairly clear rules telling the policeman what he may and may not do, courts are seldom going to say that what he did was unreasonable. The ultimate conclusion is that “the people would be ‘secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,’ only in the discretion of the police.”

Judge Blue concludes that it would be far better to have some hard and fast rules that citizens of this country could intelligently follow: “Given the realities of modern life, it behooves us to decree that commands of assistance that subject the person commanded to the possibility of personal danger are inconsistent with the Fourth Amendment and the commands of due process.”

It is undisputed that on 5 March 2010 Moscow traffic police commanded and obtained assistance that subjected the persons commanded to the possibility of personal danger. But it is unclear whether or not that assistance was both demonstrably necessary and reasonable under all the circumstances. While the formation of a live barricade may appear to Western legal analysts as an excessive response to an incident of purse-snatching, judging it to be so would sell short the importance of purses to the Russian soul. The unisex leather purse (барсетка) first emerged in the “Roaring Nineties” to become a signifier of mobbed-up New Russians along with crimson sport coats, heavy gauge gold jewelry, the chrome dome, and the “mano cornuta”. Of these traits, only the purse endured into the third millennium as an indispensable accoutrement of business élite. It persists as a potent reminder of the feminine side of Russian toughness, long renowned in the West for being naturally inclined to sodomy and buggery. And the traditional contents of the Slavic purse are as important as its formal aspects. Recall that two months ago, while Kiev mayor’s daughter Kristina Chernovetskaya was stuck in traffic in the northern suburbs of Paris, a man wrenched open the door of her luxury hire car and made off with her handbag containing jewelry with a value of more than $6M. Notably, great personal stockpiles of Russian wealth far exceed piddling clusters of Ukrainian booty. And going by the historical precedent, each must be regarded as a temporary loan held precariously by its current possessors on the sufferance of Russian populace. Hence the lasting adversity between Russian forces of law and order and purse-snatchers (барсеточники). All that adds up to a sound rationale for subjecting ordinary Russian drivers to summary impressment into hazardous police duty of preserving the honor and integrity of Russian bags.

Let us return to our American deer mice. The same rodent sperm that joins in packs with its congeners to outrace competitors issued by another male, will congregate with the former in the formation of another kind of live barricades, copulatory plugs meant for intercepting the latter. Even among us primates, female promiscuity correlates with copulatory plug formation. Which is to say that live barricades will always be with our skanky cunts.

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