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Comrades, Luxury Dining is Crucial
to Bringing about our Radiant Socialist Future

By Maya Vinokour


Maya Vinokour is a writer and translator based in New York City.

Greetings, Comrades! I stand before you this week ready for self-sacrifice in the name of our common revolutionary goal. I am possessed of a steely determination and full of piss and vinegar. Only a little vinegar, though, because nothing ruins a good caprese salad with hand-pulled mozzarella di bufala like torrents of insipid balsamic reduction.  Comrade Sorkin, if you could please hold your questions till the end. Thank you.

Where was I? Ah, yes. As my preamble suggested, I have spent the past seven days in the belly of the beast, as it were, getting to know our capitalist foe from within his fanciest restaurants. What better way to learn what makes the ruling classes tick than to sup alongside them on the jumbo-sized seafood tower at Balthazar, with its tangy ceviches, plump oysters, and tender shrimp cocktail? Accompanied by a progressive Sancerres or a vanguard Prosecco, the tower's icy perfection calls to mind the cold yet penetrating stare with which the philosopher Antonio Gramsci smote Mussolini's thugs as they dragged him away to prison.   

We have heard much about “socialism with a human face” in Comrade Dreeble’s informative lectures on the late Soviet state (thank you, Comrade Dreeble!). But until now, we have known little about the specific appearance of that face. What does the face of socialism look like as it is being stuffed full of house-made tagliatelli in a flavorful truffle ragout or crammed with tobiko-topped dragon rolls? This week, I have made it my mission to find out, and though I did not wish to jeopardize my anonymity by taking selfies in the Nobu dining room, I can confirm that this human face looked quite satisfied, particularly following the caviar supplement on Course 4.

Yes, I have been wined and dined by the enemy and come away with more insight into his nefarious ploys than ever before! Of what use is seizing the means of production from the top-hat wearing fat cats, my friends, if we have not first developed a masterful command of the commodities those means produce? This was the question occupying my mind as I browsed the shelves at Williams Sonoma, and also later as I was paying for my selections with the cell’s dedicated credit card. Calm yourself, Comrade Sorkin! As you will see from the expense report, I bought only some demitasse spoons, $29.99 for a set of four. Lenin himself likely used demitasse spoons during his coffee dates with Clara Zetkin in Zurich. You will note that the "Addison"- style spoon, which I selected online before purchasing in-store, is as stealthy as Lenin's exiled co-revolutionaries and as smooth as the top of his head — yes, Comrades, even as early as 1914.  

I see Comrade Zhang looking pointedly at his watch, so I’ll wrap this up. Marx once said that nothing can have value unless it is an object of utility. I’d like to test this assertion today.  You might ask, for example, of what utility are 37 freshly torched lavender-saffron crème brûlées?  Comrade Pick, roll out the cart! There we go — now please form a neat single-file line, there’s enough here for everybo— Excuse me!  Excuse me, Comrade Sorkin, please wait your turn!  Comrades, please wait your turn!  This is most uncalled-for!  Don’t make me bring out the… hey! That’s my demitasse spoon, you scoundrel! Let go, dammit!  No pasarán!

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