There’s a really tremendous pun in the first paragraph of this week’s The New Yorker. The article is about Russia’s new president.
Alexander II, before liberating the serfs, liberated the smokers. (To indulge his own habit, he lifted the imperial ban on tobacco.) Alexander III played the French horn. Nicholas II was a photography buff. Catherine the Great was a passionate equestrienne. Maybe it has something to do with the vastness of Russia’s geography or with the bloody absolutism of its history, but it’s always been easier to contemplate a new master of the Kremlin by seizing on homey anecdotes.
If you get it, it’s really fantastic.