I’m wracking my brain to explain why there are a significant number of skeptics out there who want to give Putin and Russia “the benefit of the doubt” and who will wait for “an investigation” before they will conclude that Ukraine is the victim in this deadly invasion and that the country and its leader, Zelenskyy (are we supposed to include the extra “y” or not?) are hoaxing the world. I understand the talking heads like Tucker Carlson, who are dead-eyed opportunist’s who only care about controversy and ratings. I understand the isolationists (this includes Carlson as well), who think they have to make Zelenskyy a villain so the U.S. isn’t drawn into a war with Russia. But I don’t understand the rest of the “let’s not be so hard on Putin: all of what we hear and read may be Ukraine false-flag operations and propaganda” gang, some of whom were flushed out by this post. Since the “Putin is a victim” claim makes no sense whatsoever (like the Putin excuse, “I had to invade because NAZIS!!!”), I have some theories:
- The super-skeptics have been so damaged by the increasing vidence of media fake news and propaganda accompanied by exposed lies by all sides of the political spectrum, highlighted by the pandemic Ethics Train Wreckthat they literally don’t believe anything now. Anything. They are victims of ethics rot across our institutions and our culture. Unfortunately, disbelieving everything creates fear and paranoia.. It also presumed the kind of mass, bi-partisan conspiracy that is impossible to hide.
- They are Super-Trumpers, who, because Donald said some nice things about Putin and because the media sued the Russia collusion hoax to cripple his Presidency, the cognitive dissonance scale pushed them to excuse Putin.
- It is an extreme backlash to the news media’s sanctification of Zelenskyy, who has taken several anti-democratic measures and is probably using his position to get rich, because the leaders of most Second World nations like Ukraine do.
- The skeptics are Russian agents.
- They’re nuts.
Any other explanations?
1. Everything is seemingly spinning out of control! Apparently more pro tennis players are smashing or throwing their rackets. Recent episodes on the tour have come close to injuring officials, ballboys and girls and spectators, so the game is increasing penalties. Two statements in the recent Times story about the topic bothered me:
- “Long accepted as an entertaining idiosyncrasy of the sport…” Who goes to tennis tournaments to see some asshole throw a racket? When I played competitive tennis, throwing a racket was an automatic forfeit, plus the mark of an infantile jerk. When did that change? I guess it’s Donald Trump’s fault.
- “Racket-smashing tantrums have long been accepted as part of the game. Like hockey fights, they are a way for players to blow off steam. But as the broader culture becomes less tolerant of public displays of anger, and with an increasing number of close calls on the court, racket smashing suddenly no longer seems like an entertaining idiosyncrasy.” Who says the broader culture has become less tolerant of public displays of anger? That’s an assertion without evidence, especially after the Will Smith episode.
2. Lest we forget...Joan Joyce, reputed to be the greatest softball pitcher of all time, died at the end of March. At a charity fund-raising exhibition in 1961, Ted Williams, retired for a year, faced her wicked underhand pitches and and couldn’t get more than a foul tip. Finally he dropped his bat (he didn’t throw it!) and walked away, saying, “I can’t hit her.” Ted, to his credit, agreed to face the softball star, then in her prime, several more times for charity. It’s worth noting that he was not in his prime, at 43, and that softball pitchers throw from 40 feet away from batters rather than 60 feet, six inches, as hardball pitchers do. It is doubtful that Williams would have been able to hit Jack Fisher from 40 feet, but he was able to homer off Fisher in his final at bat in 1960. Nevertheless, Ted told a freind that the toughest pitcher he had ever faced was a teenage girl.
3. Which reminds me: Bill Lee. Joyce told The New York Times in 1975,“I don’t care about the money, I enjoy the game, and that’s the most important thing. I’d play this game even if it meant being broke the rest of my life.” Bill Lee, who started Game 7 of the World Series that same year for the Boston Red Sox, said almost the exact same thing in multiple interviews during his career. Nobody believed him, but after he left the Major League Baseball, he continued to play baseball, first for semi-pro teams, then in exhibitions all over the world. (Ethics Alarms honored his sportsmanship and integrity in this 2016 post.) He’s 75 now, and he’s still pitching, these days for the whimsical semi-pro Savannah Bananas:
Joan Joyce would have approved.
4. Yes, she’s perfect for MSNBC. Biden paid liar Jen Psaki, now in her finals days of spinning facts and throwing dust for Democrats before she joins MSNBC to do the same thing, was asked by Fox News gadfly Peter Doocy how the Biden administration would handle the estimated 18,000 illegal aliens a day crossing the Mexican border when the CDC’s pandemic restrictions on illegal immigrants are lifted. Psaki: I don’t know where you’re basing your specific numbers on, Peter, but what I would tell you…Doocy: “I’ve got it right here. Earlier this week the department (DHS) gave reporters an estimate that up to 18,000 migrants could be apprehended at the border each day if Title 42 expires.”
Psaki: “Well, ‘up to’… and we’ll see what happens.” Notice that she didn’t answer his question. I was reminded of the scene in “Die Hard” when John McLane’s wife (Bonny Bedelia) approaches the villain (the late, great, Alan Rickman) about some needs of the hostages his group of criminals are holding.
“What idiot put you in charge?” he sneers.
“You did—when you murdered my boss,” she replies.