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It all started two weeks ago.

There is a certain person, whom I will hereafter refer to as a Little Birdie, who often sends the eXile materials and ideas for stories and pranks, without getting any credit for contributing. Two weeks ago — on July 26, to be exact — the Little Birdie sent me an e-mail containing a story that had appeared in that day’s edition of the Los Angeles Times. Entitled “Taming the Wild, Wild Web”, and written by Michael Hiltzik, the article basically argued that the internet was too free for its own good, and needed to have its anarchistic tendencies reigned in, for the good of commerce. (more…)

Posted: August 10th, 2001

The eXile is soliciting commentary on the following article, written by Michael Wines of the New York Times.

We need your help in attaining a more perfect understanding of this article. Send your comments to editor Matt Taibbi at, and they will be published in a new feature in the next issue of the eXile, a special “Letters to Michael Wines” section. The feature will allow Wines’s fans to express their admiration for the Times standout in a public forum.

Remember, send your comments to

July 22, 2001


Posted: July 26th, 2001


His name was Pobornik.

He had never read The New York Times. He would never be able to recognize a classic “pyramid lead.” His hours were occupied by other pursuits: grazing, sleeping standing up for long stretches, swatting away insects with his long, swishy tail, crunching mounds of hay in that big conical face of his. And then there was that other thing…. Pobornik had probably never known any other kind of life, and so he probably thought that his day job at Moscow’s Horse Farm #1 was part of the natural biological mission of the adult males of his species.

Strange-looking men would come to his stable during the daytime, and begin massaging him in strange places. One would be tugging at a strap tied to his mouth, and pulling him this way and that, back and forth, and all the while that strange stroking would continue, and the air would be filled with strange smells, and he would feel a tickling at his ears as his huge body convulsed with volcanic tremors…. (more…)

Posted: April 5th, 2001


Whenever they travel overseas, most Americans are aware that the locals hate them, but few know why. Usually Americans ascribe bad blood to jealousy. Iranian flag-burning mobs? Uneducated, unfortunate and misguided people, afraid of progress. Okinawans? Sore losers, still mad that we invented the bomb first. Russians? A gang of layabouts, too used to the security of communism, afraid of the hard work and responsibility necessary in the free enterprise system. (more…)

Posted: May 22nd, 1997

It’s happened to all of us at least once; out late at night, drunk, carrying a hundred bucks or so, and suddenly stopped by a couple of hulking cops and asked for documents. You don’t have them with you, so you make a deal, pay a “fine,” and move on. No matter how often it happens, that’s as far as it goes-right?

No. What most foreigners don’t know is that there is always another variable in the equation of these encounters, and that variable is a place called the Center for Social Rehabilitation #1, or TsSR. It’s a real building that exists in a place where you can easily find it, on the 24th kilometer of the Dmitrovskoye Shosse- and what it is, in effect, is a secret prison for foreigners with visa problems.


Posted: April 24th, 1997

On March 27, when news first filtered into Moscow that 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult, a gang of Trekkoid computer geeks in San Diego, had “shed their containers” in a suicidal bid to reach the “Higher Level,” eXpats all over the city thought the same thing: man, people at home must really be bored. For eXpats, the news was life-affirming. For many of us, our best excuse for being here is that it gives us, however erroneously, a sense of being a participant in a society where people lead real lives and have real problems. More than one of us has suspected that if we were to go back home, there would be only one road to take to escape the sanitary life the West has to offer-get on the net, and die.

Now, suddenly, we had 39 solid reasons to be sure we were right to move here. (more…)

Posted: April 10th, 1997

In the old days, back when I worked for a different Moscow newspaper, I used to be visited by a lanky, chainsmoking Azerbaidjani named Fakhrid Tairov. Tairov dressed in cheap ties and sport jackets, which he hid under a huge gray down overcoat that looked like a ski jacket stretched for a giant Cat-in-the-Hat puppet. The jacket was also good for hiding a huge ream of folders; Tairov was a dealer in kompromat, or compromising information. (more…)

Posted: March 20th, 1997