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Friday, May 02, 2008

An Easter Joke: Neither Fish Nor Fowl

Below is a funny episode from the Svoboda Slova (Freedom of Speech) talk show on ICTV, formerly hosted by Savik Shuster, who now runs Savik Shuster’s Svoboda on Inter.

Andriy Kulykov, host: Vasyl Baziv, a professor at Ukraine International Insti…University.
Vasyl Baziv: Here’s the joke. During the fast, Yulia Volodymirivna [patronymic] went to a priest to confess and asked the priest whether she could eat Yushchenko during the fast. The priest answered: “Yes, it’s neither fish nor fowl.” [audience explodes in an ovation]

Andriy Kulykov, host: Dmytro Tabachnyk of the Party of Regions faction…[before Tabachnyk speaks, the host addresses Roman Zvarych] do you have a comment on this?

MP Roman Zvarych, NUNS: Not really [at a loss for words].

Note: Vasyl Baziv served as deputy chief of staff at the Kuchma administration.

Video uploaded from:


Qatar Cat said...

You have to admit, the joke is awesome


Anonymous said...

"Not really"

sigh. :(

elmer said...

The English expression is "neither fish, nor fowl."

Every joke, in order to be funny, has to have an element of truth in it.

And, sadly, the joke hits home.

There's something that Yushchenko's not telling people.

Taras said...

Thank you for commenting!:)

I must admit the joke indeed has its merits, as reflected in the main character’s approval ratings.

Our President seems to be more concerned with re-election (via shyrka) than with Ukraine’s future. If we look back at his campaign promises, we’ll see that he’s failed the Orange Revolution too many times. Has he ever admitted his failures? If he admitted them, would it make him stronger or weaker?

These moments of truth, of course, do not reduce him to a scapegoat, that is, the only uncritical/imperfect figure in the Orange camp. (According to the joke, there are no sacred cows in the Orange camp. Well, much less so in the rest of Ukrainian politics, I must add.)

That said, as President, Yushchenko should have more guts and should lead the country in better ways.

Anonymous said...

"he’s failed the Orange Revolution"

BUT ALL involved have failed the OR. ALL. And only one has for their 'crimes' been relegated to the sidelines for now. Voters are in a bind, and if u do not vote for those that are "less dirty" then whom are u left voting 4? I personally am really unhappy that Lutsenko never went independent but I understand that it is not his psych. to strike out completely on his own. Will see what the next turn of the screw produces but my hopes are in people such as yourself that are willing to remain open enough and clear sighted enough to recognize that absolute devotion cannot be offered to politicians and that if they are right, they are lauded and if wrong, they are told so. God Bless.


Anonymous said...

But Yulia - she wouldn't ask anyone's permission to eat anyone up.

Taras said...

Thank you for expanding my horizons, Elmer!

Somehow, this idiomatic analogy has eluded my vocabulary. I’ve now updated my post.

He’s not telling a lot of things. And for every thing he doesn’t tell, there’s a theory.

Thank you for putting your hope in me, Luida!

I believe that democracy’s biggest failure is when people fail to replace politicians who fail them.

And, of course, Yulia would need no such extensive diet advice:)

Orest said...

Its sad when the figure head of the Revolution is now regarded as just a joke. I guess he brought it upon himself with the help of some others.

As Ukraine Turns...

elmer said...

Taras, I did not mean to mislead you, and I might have.

ні риба ні мясо is correctly translated as "neither fish, nor meat," which actually is more accurate, and works better in the context of the Lenten fast.

I only meant to point out the analogous English expression, connoting a nondescript nature of someone or something.

What is Yushchenko not telling?

And what's the theory behind his not telling?

Taras said...


You didn’t mislead me. On the contrary, you led me in the right direction!

I had translated the expression literally, unaware of the perfect idiomatic match that exists in English.

I may have heard of it before, but I failed to memorize it. I make mistakes once in a while and I’m ready to admit them.

As for Yushchenko’s "unspoken words," I don’t want to harp on the lengthy trail of speculations attached to his profile. I can only hope that someday he will find the strength to speak.


You can imagine how sad it is for the people on the Orange Revolution’s frontlines, who had put so many hopes in the man.

I can’t come up with a scientifically precise breakdown of who brought what, but as far as I can see, most of them blame his personal leadership failure. I agree with them.

It’s normal practice for politicians to become joke fodder. Tymoshenko and Yushchenko certainly would be no exception. Both carry giant egos, as most politicians do anyway; still, they project different personas, which sets them galaxies apart.

Unlike Tymoshenko, who plays Joan of Arc and yet often dilutes her martyrdom with jokes, Yushchenko takes himself too seriously — to the point of delivering Moses-like sermons.

That nasty habit, coupled with his underperformance, annoys the hell out of people. To compete with Tymoshenko in the theater of voter perceptions, Yushchenko needs a stringent moratorium on moral rhetorics. Humor creates a much healthier picture and helps retain supporters.

However, no amount of humor can be a substitute for leadership.