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The Man Who Flew Like a Bird

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On October 8, the Nobel Committee announced that the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature was being awarded to Svetlana Alexievich, a writer and journalist whose body of work is unique both in scope and in genre.

The bare facts of Alexievich’s biography reflect the nature of her greater subject: the memory, aspirations, tragedy, and fluid historical identity of Homo sovieticus. She was born in Ivano-Frankivsk, a city in western Ukraine that lies at the eastern edge of the Carpathian Mountains, about 85 miles south of Lviv, and a mere 150 or so miles from the borders of Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia, respectively. The city was annexed by the USSR only a few years before her birth in 1948. Her mother was Ukrainian and her father Belarussian. She grew up in Minsk, Belarus, where she studied journalism, developed her own exceptional voice, and became a Russian writer.

Over the course of several decades and numerous books, Alexievich has pursued a distinctive kind of narrative based on journalistic research and the distillation of thousands of firsthand interviews with people directly affected by all the major events of the Soviet and post-Soviet period. She has uncovered the unknown but crucial work that Soviet women did in World War II, recounted the memories of children caught up in the “Great Patriotic War,” documented the realities facing soldiers in the Soviet-Afghan war, which were kept from the Soviet public, and recorded the experiences of those who lived through the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

In her most recent book, she deftly orchestrates a great chorus of diverse voices to chronicle the human toll—emotional, physical, economic, and political—of the collapse of the USSR, a country that once made up a sixth of the world’s land mass.1Alexievich’s oeuvre comprises nothing less than a history of epic proportions, which she has called “Voices of Utopia.” This undertaking has brought the writer many awards and accolades from Western European countries in particular, and from Russia, where her books have been printed and reprinted many times; she is a well-known critic of the Putin regime. In her home, Belarus, however, under the dictatorship of Aleksandr Lukashenko, she has been subject to the same political censorship and pressure as many of her colleagues (as Timothy Snyder pointed out in the NYR Daily
2). For over a decade she lived in various European cities, because it was not safe to return to Minsk (though she did in 2011), and her books have not been published in Belarus since 1994.

In announcing the award, the Swedish Academy called Alexievich’s “polyphonic writings…a monument to suffering and courage in our time.” “By means of her extraordinary method—a carefully composed collage of human voices,” the Academy went on to say, “Alexievich deepens our comprehension of an entire era.” As she writes:

I don’t just record a dry history of events and facts, I’m writing a history of human feelings. What people thought, understood and remembered during the event. What they believed in or mistrusted, what illusions, hopes and fears they experienced. This is impossible to imagine or invent, at any rate in such multitude of real details. We quickly forget what we were like ten or twenty or fifty years ago….

I’m searching life for observations, nuances, details. Because my interest in life is not the event as such, not war as such, not Chernobyl as such, not suicide as such. What I am interested in is what happens to the human being….

Svetlana Alexievich’s interest in what happens to the human being is evident on every page of her writing. Among other things, her work testifies to the immense power of compassion to create understanding of our fellow human beings.

The text below is from a collection of more than a dozen tales of suicide that Alexievich published in Russia in 1994 under the title Zacharovannye smert’iu (Enchanted by Death). In the introduction she wrote that she sought to “distinguish…the lonely human voice. They all sound different. Each one has its own secret.”

—Jamey Gambrell

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Archive of Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich

The Story of the Man Who Flew Like a Bird:
Ivan Mashovets—Graduate Student of the Philosophy Department

From the account of his friend, Vladimir Staniukevich, graduate student in the Philosophy Department:

…He wanted to leave unnoticed, of course. It was evening. Twilight. But several students in the nearby dormitory saw him jump. He opened his window wide, stood up on the sill, and looked down for a long time. Then he turned around, pushed hard, and flew… He flew from the twelfth floor…

A woman was passing by with a little boy. The youngster looked up:

“Mama, look, that man is flying like a bird…”

He flew for five seconds…

The district police officer told me all this when I returned to the dormitory; I was the only person who could be called his friend in any sense. The next day I saw a photo in the evening paper: he lay on the pavement face down…in the pose of a flying man

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Top 10 Quotes From Elon Musk’s Genius

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Regardless of whether we’re discussing on the web instalments, science, innovation or space travel, the name Elon Musk should fly up in your psyche.

Alluded to as the Nikola Tesla of our age, Elon Musk is a business person, business head honcho, speculator, designer, and innovator. This person unquestionably knows his way with cash. He turned into a multimillionaire in his late 20s when he sold his first new business, Zip2.

The founder of SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX trusts in humankind and needs to change the world, and this isn’t merely pie in the sky considering. The man is really taking a shot at lessening an unnatural weather change and building up a human settlement on Mars to forestall human elimination. What more verification do you have to trust that all that you decided is conceivable?

Here are 11 Elon Musk quotes to influence you to begin taking a shot at your fantasies, regardless of how unimaginable they may appear to be at present.

When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.

It is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.

The first step is to establish that something is possible then probability will occur.

Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson.

I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.

Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.

If you get up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.

Life is too short for long-term grudges.

I take the position that I’m always to some degree wrong, and the aspiration is to be less wrong.

People should pursue what they’re passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else.

For more such quotes and talks, subscribe to Talk Column today!

Disclaimer: All images are sourced from the web. No copyright infringement intended.

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Top 5 Things We Picked From Cristiano Ronaldo’s Interview

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Cristiano Ronaldo has opened up about his life in his most cosy meeting to date with The Players’ Tribune.

The Real Madrid forward talks about everything from his first football memory, to his most significant minute in the game, and each inclination he had in the middle.

He additionally discusses his family, the two his folks who helped him achieve the highest point of the diversion, and his child, who helped him value the most important things throughout everyday life.

Underneath we have select five intriguing applies from the long meeting – 5 things you’ll certainly be intrigued to find out about the Portuguese.

Ronaldo played football on the roads… among cars.

Each adolescent has a type of memory of playing on concrete, regardless of whether it’s merely booting a ball against a check.

In any case, as indicated by future four-time Ballon d’Or champ Ronaldo, he used to play in the street, while autos were driving past. Thank the ruler there were no mishaps, eh?

He wasn’t prepared to leave home and battled at Sporting Lisbon.

Ronaldo appears to be the most satisfied person on the planet, yet at 11 years old he didn’t feel prepared to leave home for the Portuguese capital.

As per the man himself he battled at the Sporting Lisbon institute and was exceptionally achy to visit the family, just observing his folks once like clockwork. Luckily he stuck it out, and things showed signs of improvement.

He understood he was unique at the Academy.

It likely didn’t come as a lot of disclosure, considering the reality he would go ahead to end up the best player on the planet. However, Ronaldo can pinpoint the minute he knew he was extraordinary.

He’d show signs of improvement of his partners in preparing and was regularly lauded for his capacity. So, he conceded he was worried about being too little.

Turning into a father at Real Madrid made his chance at club additional exceptional.

It must be truly unique to advance out onto the pitch wearing the all-white Real Madrid strip and having the capacity to tell the world you’re a Los Blancos player.

Be that as it may, as indicated by Ronaldo, this has all been made additional unique by the reality he fathered his child while at the club, which he concedes changed his point of view.

Holding hands and strolling with child is his most memorable moment

Strolling as an inseparable unit with his child in Cardiff is his most loved memory.

All through the meeting, Ronaldo talks gladly about every one of the trophies he has won in his profession, however, concedes they implied more to him when he was more youthful.

Today he views his most loving memory as strolling around the pitch at Cardiff clasping hands with his young child after winning the Champions League. Favour.

We bet you found this amazing. For more such interviews and talks, subscribe to Talk Column today!

Disclaimer: All images are sourced from the web. No copyright infringement intended.

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DAVID BAILEY SAYS: “HOW ARE YOU GOING TO CROSS THE ROAD?”

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Mr. Bailey, would you swear in front of the Queen?

No, if you’re going to accept the Queen you have to accept the tradition. You know, I’ve got nothing against the monarchy. I think there are too many hangers-on, but that’s also a cliché thing to say. I doubt she’d be too shocked. She’s been around; she’s not stupid.

You recently took the official photo for her 88th birthday.

Yes and I think she looks incredible for 88. I had never photographed her before.

Why not?

I wouldn’t photograph anybody if they only give you five minutes. I don’t care who it is. I don’t care if God phoned me up and said, “I want a picture, I’ve only got five minutes.” I’d say, “Well, work some of your magic and make it longer!” Even though I’m actually quicker than most and I usually get bored before they get bored.

What kind of people are the most difficult to photograph?

Lots of politicians are so full of themselves. Sports people too a bit. But actors are the most difficult because you never know who you’re photographing. They could be Hamlet or Lassie. But the fewer people they come with, the more interesting they usually are. Johnny Depp came with nobody so I knew it was going to be all right. Jack Nicholson never came with anybody, but Jack’s different because I’ve known him for so long.

You once said Jack Nicholson is the smartest actor because he knows something nobody else does. What is it that he knows?

I don’t fucking know. If I knew, I’d be as smart as him. (Laughs)

One of the things that fascinated me when I met him was his grin and the sparkle in his eye when he talked about women.

Yeah, with Viagra. He’s the first person that told me about Viagra.

When was that?

Oh, years ago. Before everyone knew about it! (Laughs)

“Actors are the most difficult because you never know who you’re photographing. They could be Hamlet or Lassie.”

When you know someone very well like you do Jack Nicholson is it easier to take a great portrait of them?

It depends. It’s one of those abstract things. We had a difficult bloke this week, what was he called? Van Morris or somebody… He was so grumpy. But I loved him being grumpy because I could use his grumpiness. I got a great grumpy picture out of him. If I see another picture of a rock ‘n’ roller against some graffiti… It drives you mad, the same old picture! Can’t they ever think of something different to do? So I don’t mind people that are difficult. I quite like that. It amuses me because there is always a way around it. I mean, no one could be more difficult than Van whatever he’s called, Van Morrison.

It seems pointless to have your picture taken if you’re not going to cooperate though.

Well he left really happy, Van Morrison. But it is kind of pointless to come here if you’re not going to help me. They might not like the picture, but one day they will. One day that’s what they’re going to look like – whether they look like that or not. Medici said to Michelangelo, “That sculpture doesn’t look like me.” Michelangelo said, “Listen, you’ll be dead in 20 years, but this will be around for 2,000 years. So, that’s what you look like!” You could say that a bit with photography.

Does it often happen that people aren’t happy with their portrait, but then years later change their mind?

Yeah. 10 years later usually. We had one recently, I won’t mention his name, I shot him 30 years ago and he said, “I hate the picture.” But his wife bought one for him as a birthday present recently. (Laughs) 30 years later and come get the picture.

Are celebrities more difficult nowadays than they were 30 or 40 years ago?

Well, I avoid celebrities. I’m not really interested in people that come with PR. That’s probably why I can’t work in America, because I don’t take all that bullshit. I don’t know how people like Bruce Weber manage, because it would drive me mad. All these silly people who don’t know anything that come with celebrities and try to tell you what to do. It’s madness! They brought it on themselves, the magazines. They should have been stricter. They should have said, “No, we’re not showing you. We’re doing the interview and that’s that.” But instead they pander to them and in the end they end up owning you. Those magazines are owned by the celebrities, really.

You don’t strike me as the type to pander to anyone.

I never really read what people write about me, but the comments people made when doing this exhibition recently at the National Portrait Gallery are so stupid. “Oh, Bailey panders to these people.” I don’t pander to anybody. I just do the picture I do. I don’t care who it is. And I won’t do pictures if people want approval. It has always seemed stupid to me that they ask you to do something and then want to sort of tell you how to do it. What madness!

Source: The Talk

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