Besides the politically unsettling fact of a shirtless fascist named Putin, Russian influence on American culture isn’t such a bad thing. So let’s focus on what kind of whirlygig could come out of the populaces of two global superpowers (rather than the “leaders”) getting it together but saying, hells yes, Anton Chekhov, who would have been 157 this week. Whatever his historical faults (no feminist, he) his exploration of the those abysses created by grey matters interacting within the traps of ideology is unparalleled. “An enormously vast field lies between ‘God exists’ and ‘there is no God.’ The truly wise man traverses it with great difficulty. A Russian knows one or the other of these two extremes, but is not interested in the middle ground. He usually knows nothing, or very little.” He also has a few choice words for those foundering with an uncritical mind: “You can prove and disprove anything you like with words, and people will soon perfect the technique of language to such a point that they will prove with mathematical certainty that twice two is seven. I am fond of reading and listening, but as to believing, no thank you; I can’t, and I don’t want to.” So this week, Members, if you encounter individuals rabid from the extremes of belief, encourage them to join you in a refreshing dip in the literature pool, starting here.