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Much of Ames and Taibbi's best work is funny. The paper plays frequent practical jokes on unsuspecting Russians and fellow expats alike. . . . Some pranks are sharper—and meaner—than others, but they're all conceived under a towering belief in the righteousness of the paper's mission. The Exile has kept up a holy racket, railing away against stupidity, corruption, and influence peddling in hopes that someone—anyone—would pay attention. It has covered mind-numbingly complex topics like privatization in a straightforward style that's not only comprehensible but actually interesting to a reader with no background in Russian economic history and little enthusiasm for acquiring one.
Most notably, the Exile nurtures a peculiarly vicious and schizoid attitude toward women. While Russian women are rhapsodically celebrated as long-legged gazelles with loose morals—"the most physically attractive women on earth, and . . . usually available to the highest bidder," expat women are ridiculed at length as "fat-ankled" and defensively sexless. Self-hating geeky American men are encouraged to take advantage of the perception that all Americans are rich and have oodles of condomless sex (sometimes in the ass!) with drunk, nubile dyevushkas. Ex-girlfriends are held up to public ridicule—Ames at one point chronicles his threats to kill a pregnant ex if she won't have an abortion.
More from Mark...— Coug (@ImAResistor) October 27, 2017
Now what kind of guy has friends or partners like this? pic.twitter.com/6KTYeGQ0gi
NPR's Robin Young asked Taibbi about these passages at an event on October 25 at the Harvard Bookstore, and Taibbi took to Facebook to acknowledge them, while also claiming that a lot of material in the book The Exile was satire and exaggerated and meant to be funny.
We’d never given her any respect or credit. We were glory hogs and obnoxious jerks. Worst of all was our sexism. Our sexism and sexual harassment of the Russian female staff, as well as the sexism in our newspaper, was too much for her. Watching us harass the young female staff had to be the most painful part—because we’d never, in a million years, have thought of harassing her.
“You know I’m not PC. But there’s a limit. You go too far. You’re always trying to force Masha and Sveta under the table to give you blow jobs. It’s not funny. They don’t think it’s funny,” Kara complained.
“But . . . it is funny,” Matt said.
We have been pretty rough on our girls. We’d ask our Russian staff to flash their asses or breasts for us. We’d tell them that if they wanted to keep their jobs, they’d have to perform unprotected anal sex with us. Nearly every day, we asked our female staff if they approved of anal sex. That was a fixation of ours. “Can I fuck you in the ass? Huh? I mean, without a rubber? Is that okay?” It was all part of the fun. Fun that Kara was no part of.
“there is no truth to those stories we wrote about our experiences & then published w/ a note explicitly stating they were non-fiction” pic.twitter.com/OAtE9QTmgP— Owen Ellickson (@onlxn) October 27, 2017