Dmitry Orlov scares the crap out of me.
The relentlessly doomerish boss of ClubOrlov.com has become famous in peak oil circles for presiding over a kind of comedy club from hell where a rabid fan base celebrates the coming fall of the American Empire under the load of peak debt while devouring posts on such subjects as the future of sailing ships and ways for dead people to send text messages. The site's sidebar lists topic tags including cannibalism, ruins and Siberia.
Even Orlov's name is scary, suggesting to the Anglo-Saxon ear a marriage of Orwell and Karlov - evoking George and Boris respectively, each in his own way a master of horror.
But while his online homies clearly relish Orlov's hard edge, it would be a shame if his intimidating reputation put off a wider audience from reading his brilliant book, recently re-released.
Here, I'd like to propose a different, hopefully more accessible way of seeing Orlov: as a foreign-born observer of American culture in the mold of Alexis de Tocqueville. But with a little bit of Gallagher thrown in - yes, that Gallagher, the prop comic with the goofy hair and suspenders, popular in the 1980s for smashing watermelons on stage.