Doing Less, to Help Ukraine
We are not there, we are not informed, so we should shut up and use less oil
I didn’t post anything here last week. I didn’t release my regular podcast episode, either. On the one hand, it was a matter of reading the room: when something truly awful is happening, the best course is usually to pause. Of course, that doesn’t stop clueless marketers from continuing to post their bright and cheery messages about discounts on luxury goods, or startups from congratulating themselves that their subscription targets have been met — but I try to tell myself those are scheduled tweets that no one thought to pull from the automated calendar.
Even that tone deaf activity, however, is better than the race to post the best hot take on an unfolding crisis itself. Since when is any of us an expert on Ukraine? As Xeni Jardin tweeted on the day the war began, “Good morning newly minted Russian invasion experts.” Yes, she was being facetious, warning us all in advance of the imminent onslaught of uninformed but vociferously expressed arguments for why NATO or Biden or Obama or Clinton or China or Woodrow Wilson or the World Bank or cryptocurrency should or should not be blamed for the bloodshed.
I received as many messages asking me to share my own take as I did during Biden’s supposedly botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. But just as I have very little expertise in the logistics of war withdrawal, I don’t really know more about the history of the NATO alliance or Western pressure on Russia than I can glean from the New York Times, Oliver Stone’s Putin Interviews, or a few decades of watching PBS Frontline. I’m honored that publications want to platform my views, but I get the feeling they care less about someone making sense of the crisis than having someone fill the space they’re obligated to spend on it. Ukraine will get hits. Gotta do it. And if they’re lucky, the writer will say something controversial enough to generate heated debate on the social networks — whether or not it’s bringing any new information or a framework for understanding events as they unfold.
Instead of adding more conflict and confusion to the crisis, we can help metabolize the trauma of our fellow beings. We are all…