The Tyranny of Fantastical Nonsense

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 11 Sep 2023

"These days, you have to make everything obvious, from
start to finish.  But in life, it's different.
Nothing is obvious."


I have long dreamed of taking the Trans-Siberian Express from Helsinki to Vladivostok, stopping every 5 or 6 hours for at least a week at a time, maybe a month.  I would love to see St. Petersburg.  Live in the Hotel Astoria for a month over Christmas, wander the cold, baritone streets at night like a transient spy.  Order tea with an air of homeless opulence in the 7-star lobby of a giant Christmas tree.  Observe how all the constellations look like opera singers in the bronze and frozen winter.  Horses in the skating rink, couples shopping for blue, Orthodox tattoos under Tsars of living ice.


Take the candy train to Moscow, visit the Willy Wonka palace, the sticky seat of gum and government.  Watch children shoot down drones with rubber bands.  The kids of candy officers and generals, riding around in toy tanks, eating tiny ICBM-shaped popsicles.  Observe the endless line of Matryoshka dolls, waiting for the subway.  People waiting inside of other people, proletarian babushkas, trying to stay warm.


And then, the trek across forests and landlocked archipelagoes of gulag'd, maximum-security infinity toward Vladivostok, 8 time zones to the east.  Stop in Udmurtlandia, for some music and unashamed white-people food and culture.  The border of Mongolia.  Ride a boat propelled by Siberian mosquitoes on Lake Baikal.  The fastest boats in Russia.  They run on the blood of literary giants, political exiles, and prison-camp escapees.  You just attach the reigns of your boat to a swarm of giant mosquitoes, make sure the tips of your waterskis are pointed upwards, and get ready for the ride.  The blood-guzzling engines will roar to life, and you will go skidding across the surface of the water like a comet, or maybe Sputnik.

After a hundred million years, if you can resist the wooden-toilet call of drunken, land-locked vodka sirens, you will make it finally to Vladivostok.  Which is supposedly, believably, more Asian than European.  I heard or read or maybe imagined somewhere that it's the San Francisco of Russia, and there are as many Japanese and Korean tourists as there are ships, or friendly locals.  You can lose your golf balls in the Kimchi.  China is just standing there, across the street like some crazy panda-print Wisconsin, threatening to eat you.  North Korea down the street.  A day-trip to the gulag.  Another demilitarized vacation, Chevy Chase trapped inside the obfuscated-purpose mine, casting sparks with his existential pickaxe in search of freedom and/or meaning.

Will you get a shipping job at the seedy Port of Wally World?  Will you learn to goose step with the angels, the captured cherubs trapped in the existential drunken daydream by the bay?  Will you befriend a girl with a fashionable shaggy bear coat, while evading the police?

Because the tyranny of fantastical nonsense is strong in the U.S., Americans are expected to get excited about films with small, anemic women doing unbelievable backflips and killing 20 men per second with their crazy acrobatics.  Fantastical stories in which the men are all weak, stupid, and afraid, and in which they're expected to take orders from people who flip around a lot, and/or hateful lesbians on a power trip.  Arrogant, overweight mid-wits who are dumb enough to be proud of being elevated to a position of power they didn't earn, yet smart enough to use a dildo.  According to modern American cultural-appropriation film, which has appropriated excellence from the excellent and turned it into trash, unimaginative hamburger addicts are in control of everything.

This is the president?  The CEO?  The police chief?  This powdered donut on a power trip?  This overwrought mugwump of digitally-enhanced and sugared starch has.... authority over others?

Are you for real?

Is it breakfast, or a sex toy?  I can't even tell anymore.


Perhaps it's a government administrator, or an alien from the future, with condiments for blood.  Maybe it's a hot dog and a donut, leering at me like a processed innuendo, from a position of diverse, artificially-enhanced administrative power.

Maybe it's the president of Wally World, making a declaration of entertainment.  Entreating us to attend yet another saccharine display of poor intellectual nutrition, an epic, comically-diverse bag of digital junk food we are all expected, all of us, to eat.  To absorb with brains of strawberry quicksand, half-formed original ideas drowning like doomed explorers in milkshakes of supersweet anti-thought, their faces flecked with chocolate chips of torment, glitter-punk emotions, sloshing in our skulls.

Is it an American movie audience, leering at the camera below?  Are they waiting for the backflips from the martial arts expert, the floating kickboxing star concealed like deadly contraband inside a size-2 mallrat, like the spirit of excellence they have denied but which is hiding, lying in wait like a martial arts expert, or the potential for truth they have denied?  Are they waiting for the sun?  A bomb to melt their faces?  Is it the view of a famous pop star, singing to her devoted cosplay coterie, pictured down below?  A rally for the Democrats?  Have the feds dressed up like dead candy people, to better fit in with the KKK drag queens they've been assigned to act like they are protesting?  Or is it a gathering of weak, bepenised lesbians, petitioning the Donut King to let them host The Running Man at last?


I exaggerate the point for cinematic effect.  As I wrote in the article Good Movies Didn't Go Away, "Good movies didn't go away.  Bad movies just got worse."  Worse meaning, abysmally horrendous.

But is it any better in Russia?  After all, at the end of Vladivostok, proverbial lands-end of the Russian dream (go east young man), the guy does say, "These days, you have to make everything obvious."  As in, presumably, obviously stupid.  For the sugar heads.

In spite of this, have cultural Cossacks defended the Russian tradition against the intrusion of the woke?

Are Cossacks of music, art, and film on guard against the candy heads?

Cossacks are.

Russians haven't forgotten who they are, and their movies reflect it.  I liked Vladivostok for several reasons, not the least of which is the unenhanced vision of reality the film presents.  No CGI, no forced diversity, no fantastical women doing everything a man can do, except with a sense of lording their digitially-enhanced athletic and left-brain-dominant problem-solving capacity over others, a domineering trait that is considered tyrannical and abhorrent in a man.  Stalinesque, perhaps.  Not being physically stronger or left-brain dominant, but lording it over people.  Lording anything over others is rightly considered hardcore tyrannical douchebaggery in a man, yet in the West women are told to embrace this attitude as a form of empowerment.

How transparently abhorrent and absurd.

There is none of that in Russian film, at least not anything a cursory glance at the entirety of the English-subtitle playlist on Mosfilm's YouTube channel suggests.  If Vladivostok is any indication, Russian film has a total absence of martial-arts mallrats, CGI superpeople, and unqualified diversity hires.  The characters are real, the gender roles are natural, easy, and unforced, and the drama takes place in the real world.  Not a CGI screensaver full of floating bat people who knock giant men out with one kick from spinning bodies composed of small, styrofoam bones.  Whether it's strictly true or not,

I like it.

Unfortunately, I will probably have to wait until after The Great Tribulation to take the Trans-Siberian Express from Helsinki to Vladivostok.  The Willy Wonka rejects throwing tantrums while licking their frozen, phallic ICBMs-on-a-stick have taken control of the Western narrative.  It doesn't look good for the purveyors of beauty, art, or reason in the West.

The tyranny of fantastical nonsense dictates that we believe small, boneless women can decimate armies of huge computer men in seconds, that men can men-struate or breastfeed, that the conflict in Ukraine is an organic struggle of national self-defense, or that a bunch of guys living in caves in Afghanistan can get NORAD to stand down while their passports flutter down like sparrows from flames that can allegedly melt steel, or that Building 7 collapsed before it actually did, as reported by the BBC.

Because the tyranny of fantastical nonsense is strong in the U.S., Americans are expected to get excited about diversity quotas, late night talk shows since Conan left New York, and the TSA.  We're supposed to believe that black people can't be racist, women can't lie, or that the doubts we had about Stephen Colbert during the Bush years haven't been proven and vindicated by time.  The feeling we had when Obama won in 2008, watching him bask in the glow of his own acceptance speech in Chicago, that even though we couldn't put our finger on it, in time we'd be glad we didn't vote for the guy.

Instincts are bad and not to be trusted; everything the government and Jimmy Kimmel says is true.

We're expected to really believe it, but, fortunately, I can no longer get excited about fantastical nonsense, or the tyrannical demands to accept it. 

In fact, I hate it.  It's okay to hate it.

Unless you're a sugar head, there's no way not to.

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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket.


Replacing my blog at

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