“Look at a map! Russia definitely invaded!” “But Ukraine has Nazis!” – from a Twitter conversation
The first lesson a sane human might draw from witnessing the above exchange might be: Don’t go on Twitter. That’s a perfectly reasonable solution, and further observation will confirm that, yes, Twitter is full of terrible people taking out their bad days on one another. So far so good.
It has become fashionable among Republicans to refer to their opposition as “the Democrat Party”. This is intended as a reference to both their internal candidate selection process, which even a political neutral must acknowledge more closely resembles monarchy in its use of coronations, and as a derogatory method of condemning their broader policies, the which is rather less just.
Democrats, being by nature an inclusive, forgiving, and understanding people, have responded in large part by terming anyone who disagrees with them Fascists, Nazis, and downright evil.
Some of the most inane fake news I’ve ever seen has been coming from pro-Russian media.
Bear in mind, both sides of the war are quite capable of propagandizing; in fact, Zelensky’s shown himself to have a natural talent. The more official Russian outlets have, by all reports, been quite competent at keeping their own nation focused on Putin’s talking points, and the formal separation of East from West information feeds, be they television or internet, have made this much easier. If it’s moderately difficult for citizens of the western world to get the official Russian party line, it’s harder by far for most Russians to access, for example, CNN.
The Nazis of the Second World War are reviled, and rightly, for their crimes; the Holocaust comes to mind. One might sympathize with an underdog country, afflicted with crippling poverty, seeking to recover their lost national pride — but never a government philosophy that burns books, stifles thought and expression, and slaughters their own citizens wholesale. Italian fascist militarism was barbaric; German Naziism was inhuman.
If there are Nazis in Ukraine, it’s worth our time to examine and our attention if it’s true.
Surrounding every conflict are rumors, innuendo, and error — and that’s not even considering deliberate disinformation along the lines of what we’re now seeing in the Ukraine conflict. Putin is a past master at this; leading up to the war were so many denials that it was going to happen, announcements of withdrawal, and so on that, for many of us, the waters were effectively muddied. And Zelensky himself is a consummate performer, a trained and experienced actor playing the greatest role of all time.
So what’s real, and what’s not? What’s worth worrying about and what’s worth forgetting? Above all: What’s about to happen?
“If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them.
But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”
– Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, from “The Gulag Archipelago”
Today, again, we stand on the brink of global war. Its spectre is never far from us; for all that our nations are inextricably intertwined by the bonds of commerce, natural resources never increase, and there will always be a country that wants what another has. There will always come a generation that doesn’t remember how terrible war can be, and that dreams of glory.
Well, in some ways of course they aren’t. They’re just people, living their lives as best they can. Sports stars, actors, and those famous for being famous are as human as the rest of us; cut them and they bleed red.
In another and very real sense, they are definitely not. They are the public faces of entertainment corporations, skilled at their jobs and little more. When they adopt causes (which they so often do) it isn’t through expertise but rather exposure to charismatic activists; due to their isolated condition, those activists are usually the fashionable type sponsored by corporate investors. When they get involved in politics, it isn’t generally through their profound grasp of economic theory and social policy.
As I recall, it all started when things at the Charlottesville protest got out of hand back in August of 2017. Violence erupted between protesters and anti-protesters, and several people were injured. Eventually, one guy snapped and rammed his car into a crowd. He was sentenced for murder the other day; he got life-plus, which is a very good thing.
The word “Nazis” was floating around all through the summer during a wave of Confederate monument removals and cemetery vandalism, but it was the day after the killing that it became widespread. The driver had expressed pro-Nazi sentiments on social media and a handful of neo-Nazis were at the protest. Donald Trump had (more…)
I want to be very clear from the beginning: I dislike Donald J. Trump. I find him odious and I believe him to be unprincipled and dangerously impulsive.
And I don’t think he’s done anything terribly illegal during his time in office. If it’s found that he has, it’ll be a surprise to me, and I’ve been watching about as closely as an outsider can. (more…)
It’s been a long couple of years now, and let’s face it: we’ve got a right to feel worn out. It’s been exhausting, a roller-coaster ride of war and politics and ambition and guile. We’ve been lied to, cheated, insulted, and abused, and if you’re anything at all like me, you’re pretty sick of it.
The thing is, we’re tired of it — tired of all of it. We’re tired of sound bytes and memes masquerading as facts, of a long recession masquerading as an economic recovery, of politics masquerading as government.