Fans of the Tiger (Draft 1)
I’m reading about yet another former subject of the Soviet empire that is struggling after its independence to become democratic and prosperous. The struggles show how evil the empire was. Many of these places were never heard from until after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many millions were killed from the formation until the collapse. The Cold War made it all invisible in a balance of terror and silence, a dance of graceful diplomacy and double talk — most of the clients too difficult to help. I had forgotten, for example, about Mongolia, and couldn’t even remember whose satellite it was — was it Russia or China. Rarely heard its name.
Mongolia’s Boom Town Hope and Fear
But anyway, I started a very vague and general thing. I don’t know if I can refine and finish it. It really doesn’t seem that charming that over the years that both Russia and China killed millions. And yet, over the years, many in the West admired their “Culture” and would go ga-ga over their writings and artifacts etc. Maybe it’s never good to be seduced by the relativity of cultures. Maybe some are not good however charming they may appear. Advanced in Science and War, Art, etc. but primitive in morals. No? Beating and torturing dissidents doesn’t seem like high culture; does it?
Fans of the Tiger (First Draft)
The Tyrant Tigers have their own cultural heritage:
they’re charming with their ferocious cuteness,
beautiful fur looking to be petted, but
so many fools dream to hug a tiger
who seems endangered. They love
puppy dogs and tiger cubs like
the early Bolsheviks, or
a young ideal Mao:
share the wealth and Love
the tiger cub is cute.
When tigers are angry
it is instinct.
When humans become tigers
they are deranged with chic fur
admired by stuffy intellectuals who
Love fantasy and ideals on thesis papers
making stuffed animals real and harmless
as if you could jump into a cage with a tiger.
And what did the cute Soviet tiger
do to the world?
When the tiger died
did not the prey flourish?
Who remembers all the dead
of Ukraine exiled and starved
of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia,
East Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia
Mongolia and the huh-istans that
few tiger lovers, who hug their teddy bears,
can name at a cocktail party devoted to
tolerance for tigers.
Once in awhile at a zoo
someone jumps into the tiger cage, and
gets mauled to death, because
they Love cuteness, and the
cultural beauty of the tiger.
Yet still many wish to
open the doors of the cultural cages
and let the animals run free, because
they think predators must eat,
and the lamb needs no claws
and tastes delicious as long as
they can be the chef with
the cute puffy pompous hat.
— Douglas Gilbert