Jamie Olsen posted in The Flaxen Wave about Chukovsky’s children’s classic “Moydodyr” (had Chukovsky ever had anything non-classic?) with a parallel analysis of Timur Kibirov’s parody. It’s illuminating and fun, and I highly recommend the analysis.
Here, a small and — hopefully — amusing point on the meaning of the word мочалка (mochalka - a scrubber, a loofah or luffa, or a sponge). In Russian it has long had a slang meaning, i.e. a girl who wants fun and is not much interested in anything else.
Don’t ask me to explain the etymology. I’ll just say that a traditional Russian ‘mochalka’ is a mop of stringy thin strips of the underlay of lime-tree bark used to scrub yourself clean in a steam-house, a banya.
In Sergei Soloviev’s 1980s cult film “ASSA” there is a song “Mochalkin Blues”, which plays on exactly that meaning of the word.
The illustration above is a 'footnote' from "ASSA" explaining the meaning of 'mochalka'. Here’s a video from the film with Sergei 'Afrika' Bugayev singing:
Later on, the young ‘mochalka’ falls for the young singer nicknamed Afrika.