Relative Material Deprivation Behind the Iron Curtain...
From Slavenka Drakulic (1992), How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed (New York: Harper: 0060975407):
"...that almost ten years after we saw each other in New York... there are still no strawberries [in Poland] and perhaps there won't be for another ten years.... Both of them took just one strawberry each, then put the rest in the refrigerator 'for Grzegorz.' This is how we tell our kids we love them, because food is love, if you don't have it, or if you have to wait in lines, get what you can, and then prepare a decent meal.... All this stays with me forever. When I come to New York and go shopping... Balducci's.... Third Avenue and 71st... I think of Zofia, my mother, my friend Jasmina who loves Swiss chocolates... my own hungry self still confused by the thirty kinds of cheese.... In an article in Literaturnaya Gazeta May 1989... Yevgenii Yevtushenko tells of a kolkhoz woman who fainted in an East Berlin shop, just because she saw twenty kinds of sausages..."
"Living under such conditions and holding Vogue magazine in your hands is... almost like holding a pebble from Mars.... 'I hate it,' says Agnes, an editor at a scientific journal in Budapest.... 'Just look at this paper--glossy, shiny, like silk.... Once you've seen it, it immediately sets... a visible boundary. Sometimes I think that the real Iron Curtain is made up of silky, shiny images... pictures from women's magazines.'... For us, the pictures in... Vogue were... important.... [T]he message that we absorbed was that the other world was a paradise. Our reading was wrong and naive... [but was] a powerful force, an inner motivation, a dormant desire for change, an opportunity to awaken.... What [did] we care about the manipulation inherent in the fashion and cosmetic industries? To tell us the are making a profit by exploiting our needs is like warning a Bangladeshi about cholesterol.... [T]he images [made] you hate the reality you [lived] in... not only can you not buy any of the things... but the paper itself, the quality of print, is reachable. The images... [were] more dangerous than any secret weapon, because they [made] one desire that 'otherness' badly enough to risk one's life trying to escape. Many did..."