Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

07 Mar 2003, 7:58 a.m.

You Will Believe the Twist!

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2003 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

A few of you have noticed the new feature in the upper right corner of the page. I'm using Tonight's String to present you with a different gag each day on the "In Soviet Russia" premise.

Yakov Smirnoff, a Russian comedian, popularized the gag when he was big. The schema went, "In the US, you do x to y, but in Soviet Russia, y does x to you."

These days the geeks are especially fond of it in more a straight two-noun reversal of agency (e.g., "guns kill people...people kill guns"), or a Bizarro reversal of ordinary practice (e.g., "too few cooks spoil the broth"). I myself love mixing up the three nouns like so:

Sarah: [looks at a box of cinnamon-scented soap from Sri Lanka, featuring a picture of a leopard, or perhaps a jaguar] Yeah, because cinnamon always really reminds me of jaguars.
Me: In Soviet Russia, jaguars remind cinnamon of you!
Do send in suggestions. Contributions will be attributed.