Monthly Archives: February 2022

The Sycophant as Medium

It looks like Vlad the Invader is finding out how unreliable relying on sycophants as one’s medium of choice can be. Surrounded by billionaire oligarchs and civil indentured servants whose primary purpose in life is to tell Vlad how wonderful, how smart, how completely right he is, he has been making a number of poor choices the past few years, culminating now in his remarkable mistake: the invasion of Ukraine.

He has grossly underestimated the strength of the in-country Ukraine resistance. He has completely missed Joe Biden’s ability to rise to an occasion when a true crisis hits. He has failed to understand that the Russian people do not want a war and that even his presumed allies, former SSRs that border Russia and up to now have been quite supportive, feel that invading a sovereign country (which they each and every one have been since the fall of the Soviet empire) is a terrible idea that they can’t support.

Does he not see that the leaders of those now independent republics look at what he is doing to Ukraine and think to themselves: “If he can do it to Ukraine, he could do it to my country too. My country, one that I run, not him.” Many readers may recall the United States’ flawed “domino theory” that led to the Vietnam debacle. Now the dominos are Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, to say nothing of the breakaway republics that have turned to the West: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Moldova.

Sweden and Finland, who up to now have carefully maintained their East-West neutrality, have now firmly aligned themselves with the West. Germany is showing legendary Teutonic strength of will and resolve, willing to undergo the pain of energy shortages to teach Putin a well-deserved lesson.

Even Vlad’s new best friend forever, Xi Jinping, is maintaining a very cautious and jaundiced eye on the whole proceeding. His commitment to Vlad’s cause seems to be limited to purchasing Russian oil, now that the EU is weaning itself from Russian supplies.

A medium is literally a go-between that connects a recipient of information to a source. Putin has chosen poor sources and he is learning how big a price he has yet to pay.

Seal Team Gets All Soapy

Seal Team started out as an action-packed series that took us from place to place around the world to fight the evil terrorist menace wherever it could be found. Given the prevailing and growing ethos surrounding an ever-evolving psycho-social milieu, the show made sure to give us strong, capable women and put them into positions of authority. All good.

But over the past couple of seasons it seems to me that the show is becoming more like a daytime soap opera, fraught with complicated relationships, both hetero- and gay. The studio execs seem to have tasked the show runner and writers’ room with making the program more female-friendly. I would imagine they are doing this in an effort to boost total ratings. After all, ratings drive advertising rates and revenue!

Season 5, episode 7, “What’s Past is Prologue,” opens with almost 17 straight minutes of relationship exploration before transitioning to a new terrorist threat. And even then, we see our protagonists talking about relationships as they fly to the scene of the upcoming confrontation. Our heroes conduct a successful rescue mission and fly on home, where for the last 10 minutes or so of the episode, we once again delve into the complications of family life. All in all, it seems to be a 50/50 blend of full-tilt action and soap stuff.

Speaking only for myself, I’d like to see less soap. What do you think?

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