by Chris Hedges, Common Dreams:
Mikhail Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita,” a bitter satire of Soviet life at the height of Stalin’s purges, captured the surrealist experience of living in a brutal totalitarianism. In the novel’s world, lies are considered true and truth is considered seditious. Existence is a dark carnival of opportunism, unchecked state power, hedonism and terrorism. It is peopled with omnipotent secret police, wholesale spying and surveillance, show trials, censorship, mass arrests, summary executions and disappearances, along with famines, gulags and a state system of propaganda utterly unplugged from daily reality. This reality is increasingly becoming our own.
“The Master and Margarita” is built around Woland, or Satan, who is a traveling magician, along with a hog-sized, vodka-swilling, chess-playing black cat named Behemoth, a witch named Hella, a poet named Ivan Homeless, a writer known as The Master who has been placed in an insane asylum following the suppression of his book, his lover Margarita, Pontius Pilate, Yeshua, or Jesus Christ, and Pilate’s dog Banga—the only creature that loves Pilate.
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