The collapse of the Soviet Union has opened up a huge consumer market, but how do you sell things to a generation that grew up with just one type of cola?. Homo Zapiens has ratings and reviews. Jasmine said: Five stars for a book that I resent? Certainly why not? From the second that I started to. Anthony Quinn reviews book Homo Zapiens by Victor Pelevin (M).
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Published init tells the story of Babylen Tatarsky, a Moscow ‘ creative ‘ and advertising copywriter. The story deals with themes of post-Soviet Russiaconsumerismrecreational drug useand Mesopotamian mythology.
Homp film adaption by Victor Ginzburg was released on 14 April The novel is set in Moscow in the Yeltsin years, the early s, a time of rampant chaos and corruption. Its protagonist, Babylen Tatarsky, graduate student and poet, has been tossed onto the streets after the fall of the Soviet Union where zapiwns soon learns his true calling: But the more he succeeds as hmoo copywriter, the more he searches for meaning in a culture now defined by material possessions and self-indulgence.
He attempts to discover the forces that determine individual desires and shape collective belief in this post-Soviet world. In this quest, Tatarsky sees coincidences that suggest patterns that in turn suggest a hidden meaning behind the chaos of life. He first senses this hidden purpose when reading about Mesopotamian religious practices.
Homo Zapiens – Victor Pelevin – Google Books
His quest is further aided by another form of spirits: But he can never quite discover the ultimate force behind these fabrications.
When at last he reaches the top of the corporate pyramid, Tatarsky learns that the members of his firm are servants of the goddess Ishtarwhose corporeal form consists of the totality of advertising images. Tatarsky, who had tried to look past the false images presented on TV to see a true umediated reality, has himself been transformed into an illusion.
It is explained in the epilogue that the “P” in Generation P stands for “Generation Pizdets ,” which translated roughly as “Generation Screwed.
Motifs from Mesopotamian mythology are widely represented in the book by various references, symbolic coincidences and the final denouement. The most prominent image is the one of Ishtar — goddess, feminine origin related to Venus.
It’s the most constant and significant theme, the rest appears as a support for it. The idea beneath the motif of Mesopotamian Mythology seem to serve the purpose of deification of advertising as in the end the most powerful media corporation appears to be a Chaldean Guild sustaining preserving the balance between good and evil by means of deft informational manipulations. Tatarsky’s experimenting with fly agaric mushrooms Amanita muscaria species that give him creative inspiration also has mythological background — fly agarics are sacred mushrooms of Ishtar, consequently it looks like the goddess inspires him.
Tatarsky’s name also bears a sign of symbolism — Vavilen, apart from being an acronym from the names of Vasily Aksyonov and Vladimir Ilyich Lenincan also be interpreted as a variation of the word Babylon, or Vavilon in Russian. The subject of consumerism is discussed on several levels: On biological level, it is equal to a multi-cell primitive mollusk.
It depicts the mechanics by means of which one group of people stimulates consumption of goods by the other group of people at the same time fulfilling their own demand for material values. Set in post-Soviet Russia the image of materialistic approach to life is especially successful because Soviet attachment to things, stemming from the constant lack of material goods during the seventy year Soviet period, is incomparable to any other.
Therefore, when Pelevin captured the stage of initial “making up for things amassment” the effect turned out to be particularly powerful.
The most successful image in the book is the exhibition of monetarist minimalism — an exposition of certificates issued by various auctions and art dealers confirming the price paid for this or another work of art.
Tatarsky presents a specific approach to taking drugs as a marking point on the social level. Discussed in latter chapter. There are three drug-related themes in the book, all of them symbolizing and relating to different issues.
Tatarsky’s first hallucinogenic experience is eating fly agarics with his institute mate Gireyev, who has turned to various kinds of esoteric and Buddhist learnings. This experience is one of the bonds tying the plot of the book to Mesopotamian Mythology. Fly agaric is a sacred mushroom of Ishtar the most prominent female deity, feminine origin, and also a symbol of a starry sky.
In Mesopotamian Cosmology she was related to Venusthe morning star. It is said that Fly Agaric mushrooms were given to the contestants participants of the so-called Grand Lottery also called The Game Without a Name, which requires that the contestant answers the three Chaldean riddles before he is allowed to ascend Ishtar’s ziggurat or the Tower of Babeland that the “ascent” is nothing more than a hallucinogenic “trip” or an effect of A. In a similar manner Tatarsky perceives that the Biblical phrase — mixing of the tonguesor loss of ability to understand another person’s language which the Bible interprets as a consequence of divine wrath and the reason the Tower of Babel was left unfinished should be understood literally as “mixing of the tongue ” meaning that a heavily intoxicated person appears to others to be speaking “gibberish”.
The novel is rather unclear whether Tatarsky ingested only the Muscaria species of Amanita family.
Generation “П” – Wikipedia
Gireiev assures Tatarsky that there are “no brown ones” in the tea he made, and yet, during their walk in the forest Tatarsky picks up and ingests a brown “mukhomor” Fly Agaric in Russian and later, during his LSD trip he is lectured by a mythical guard of the Babel Tower, — Siruf, against the use of Pantherine mushrooms among other substances. Since Amanita Pantherina is brown in colour unlike its red cousin Muscaria, and differs in its effects, it is likely the author implies that Tatarsky ingested both varieties.
The other two experiences are juxtaposed with each other.
Tatarsky’s cocaine abuse zaiens rather his social status than the addiction itself. Vavilen himself notes that it is the price of the drug that counts and that if glue cost a thousand dollars for a tube it would be the top trend drug taken by all the celebrities. The other issue he pays attention to is the way to take it cocaine — to sniff it through a hundred dollar bill.
Thus the essence of cocaine intake is in its material value, and the status it gives you not the physical experience itself, and what’s more, physical experience of cocaine is, contrary to what it is typically described as in the literature, — hardly pleasant.
Tatarsky suspects that the mixture is made up of mostly worthless cut and a small amount of amphetamines rather than cocaine. LSDon the contrary, is represented by the drug pusher a minor personage of the novel as a “pure drug”, a stimulant that let us experience spiritual enlightenment. Acid is also a kind of transition between ancient stimulants like mushrooms and modern synthetic drugs, zapies combines modern technology and ancient purpose.
The picture printed on an LSD blotter stamp is perceived by the dealer to influence the effects of LSD acting similarly to an advertisement, imprinting certain associations upon the user. While tripping on 5 hits of LSD with a picture of some Babylonian-looking idol character Tatarsky begins to see an uncanny parallel between the TV set and Chaldean altar for human sacrifice.
The TV through advertising incorporated in it, feeds the viewer to the flames of material consumption and Tatarsky, being a copywriter, begins to see himself as a serviceman of such an inferno. The irony here is that if LSD does in fact make Tatarsky experience some form of spiritual enlightenment, then aesthetic enjoyment or clarity of thought do not seem to be among its necessary ingredients.
Tatarsky experiences a rather frightening trip, at the end of which, taken over by remorse and piety he creates a humorous yet cynical TV advertisement for none other but Jesus Christ himself in his fantasized ad Jesus comes out of a white luxury car as a halo of bright light from which are seen only a hand on the car’s door and a foot stepping outside.
Books: Homo Zapiens
The scene is accompanied by slogan “Reputable Lord for reputable lords”. Pelevin employs a similar motif to one that belongs to William S.
What is important, is that Pelevin’s oranus, is built upon already existing psychological needs of consumption and defecation. When one envies and admires the way a TV character displays wealth or “class” the former is displaying what Pelevin calls oral wow-factor. When, conversely, one lavishly spends money or displays “class” for others to envy and admire, one is displaying anal wow-factor.
The displacing wow-factor ensures that zapiene perpetually attempts to “climb the homl of success”. The author parallels this to a Babylonian myth in which, human beings were created out of beads.
A bead serves as an exact representation of oranus, — a human being who swallows the golden thread only to have it come out of his rear end and, who in so doing ends up being suspended on the thread. In the end we may conclude that human psyche creates a concept to which it finally subdues itself and part of which it becomes. Pelevin presents rather far-fetched but not totally impossible vision of the world governed by virtual puppets created, upgraded and controlled by the media corporations.
But “not totally impossible” should not be understood literally. Metaphorically media puppets shown in the novel may actually represent modern authorities whose success without exception depends on media, and how those media present them to people.
The idea of this metaphor lies in the concept that when we see a politician or a public activist on the TV we see not a real person but rather an image created for the certain purpose whether to capture attention, rouse empathy or simply improve the rating of a political party or any other organization.
Pelevin draws attention to the fact that the audience has no power to control media and the flow of information they deliver through press, television or the Internet. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the film based on the book, see Generation P film. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and zapuens. February Learn how and when to remove this template message.
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