SPIN DOCTOR

Spin Doctor specializes in social and cultural issues, as well as politics, economics, history and religion. He started out as a journalist and gained notoriety by writing a treatise on the merits and pitfalls of spiral economics. 

Favorite shape – Spiral.

Favorite fruit – The fruit salad.

March 2022 – BREAD AND GAMES AGAIN

‘Cut the mustard: Wisconsin’s National Mustard Museum removes Russian mustards from its display collection.’

So goes the caption of an online article (see link below), and it’s not the only one. There are many more like it, encapsulating the public’s approach – at least in the West – to the war in Ukraine.

One gets the sentiment, kind of, but the end result is nonsense.

It reminds me of the time France refused to back the Iraq War and people started calling French fries ‘freedom fries’… different era, same old paroxysms, glossing over the issue in the name of impressions, appearances and other forms of grandstanding.

One thing: I remember reading reports on the Iraq War later on that explained in clear terms how the major impact of the sanctions was on ordinary people, especially the vulnerable. And the pundits got on the bandwagon and highlighted the point.

Yes, I get how sanctions are at the moment the only serious economic weapon at the West’s disposal – short of risking nuclear war with Russia – but it doesn’t change the fact that many of these sanctions and the hysteria that underscores a major chunk of them harm none other than ordinary people, again.

Or is this something one shouldn’t say these days?

These are complex times. In the struggle against brutality one ought to take hard measures and dish out tough love etc. (pick your metaphors), no doubt about it, but it would also be great to retain a minimum amount of sanity.

I see very little sanity at work right now. The way it goes, it’s just another day in today’s Colosseum, driven by bread and games.

Yes, our bread and games is more benign and functional than ‘their’ bread and games, but it’s still a spectacle, and it can carry on for only so long before it loses all legitimacy.

Perhaps we should help Ukraine by not promising support we can’t give (no one likes sloppy seconds), meaning: let’s put aside the hot potato ideology and broker a system of governance in Ukraine that leads to stability and functionality.

There, a sounder cause for the public to get behind, more substantial in every way – though nowhere near as exciting as our kneejerk sanctions.

As we all know, what makes the web go click-click these days are flashy spectacles and loud self-righteousness, so it’s bad news for efficacy after all.

In other words, we’re not going to cut the mustard, not this way. Our impact is not positive. As we say bye-bye to Russian condiments and other products, the reality eludes us, and we’re stuck with nonsense while Ukraine goes down the drain.

But, to finish on a brighter note – and a caveat – let me highlight the need for a sound policy, now, while there’s still time. Keep up the kneejerk reactions and this issue will remain an issue till the next elections, and voters will vote for the opposition, and we all know what a shit show the opposition was when it had power, and will be again. It’s time to get serious and commit to a workable solution for Ukraine, now, while saner people are in office, not just for Ukraine’s sake but also ours. Address the Ukraine situation in a sound manner and not only do we solve a number of global problems, the shit show on our turf loses momentum, too.

Focus, y’all, on both sides of the pond.

From your socratic Spin Doctor,

Eyes open, mind sharp.