Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Russian Quote

Doug is watching this show about Russian spies.  While walking past, I heard the most quintessential Russian quote:

"I don't trust us with it."
"Do you trust the Americans with it?"
"No ... but the threads on their containers work  most of the time." 

It's easy to forget, from the outside, that the Soviet Union was one of the world's greatest examples of failed idealism.  That communist stuff was supposed to fix  shit, and it didn't.  So then almost nothing worked, for decades.  People got used to it, but they still snarked about it. 

There's a phrase I heard when I was there that relies on a pretty little trick with the verb construction in Russian, same verb but different variations: "It's not broken, it's just not working."  The perfective means it'll never work again, the present means it just isn't right now but could be repaired.
Tags: entertainment, ethnic studies, humor, linguistics
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