Sunday, September 30, 2012

You don't really want that onion.

Pea is extremely cautious about food.  We suspect that it is partially from having reflux as a baby - everything hurt her belly.  Now at almost 4, she sticks to a few safe foods and is reluctant to try anything new.

Except this one time.  I was chopping onions for risotto and she was standing next to me on a stool watching intently.  She nonchalantly says, "I'm going to go play...but first I'm going to just eat this onion."  And pops a piece in her mouth.

Oh, Pea.  She reacted as you could imagine a 3 year old trying a raw onion for the first time would.  I felt so bad for her.

My onion is similar to Communist Party membership in The Case of Comrade Tulayev.  Pea thought she would like the onion because she saw me cooking with it and decided to try it for herself.  Most of the non-Party members in the book wanted to become Party members because they saw it as a way to advance in society and gain particular advantages.  However, like the onion, the Party membership winds up being terrible.  The Party members can't do anything without fearing the consequences and have to deal with other Party members actively trying to usurp their positions, or being sent to exile in Siberia for some minor transgression, or being executed despite innocence.

This is particularly evident when a non-Party member murders a high Communist official pretty much on a whim.  It is inconceivable to the people in charge of the investigation that the murder could be anything but a vast conspiracy within the Party, so they investigate, charge and eventually execute 3 Party members for the murder.

This book was a great commentary on Stalin-era Russian life and the corruption and intrigue within the Communist Party of that era.  It was a little slow in parts, but I am glad I read it.

I don't think that Pea will be eating any more onions anytime soon - and I don't think any of us will be joining the Communist Party either!

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