The news seems nothing but the war in the Ukraine. Like those of most Americans, my sympathies lie with the Ukraine and its people. There’s no question about where the sympathies of the news media lie, which gives me pause. When the media marches in lockstep on anything, you have to read and watch very carefully.
What makes zero sense to me is for the U.S. government to go begging to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for help with oil, especially when this country was almost energy independent little more than a year ago. Mark Mills at CityJournal says it’s time, perhaps past time, for energy realism.
Much of the media coverage has focused on Vladimir Putin. No surprise. I’ve seen everything from characterizing him as an ally of America’s religious right to the man being insane and a psychopath. Tim Costello at The Guardian looks at the extreme views about the Russian leader, including how he’s used his Russian Orthodox faith to justify the invasion, while Father Jonathan Tobias at Second Terrace reminds us that what is happening in the Ukraine is not a religious war. Stephen Wigmore at The Critic Magazine writes that Western elites are misleading themselves (and believing their own narratives) when they call Putin a madman.
Farida Rustamova, a Russian journalist who’s had to leave the country, published a report about what Russians themselves, including some members of Parliament, are thinking. Ilya Lozovsky at A Sip of Freedom has the English translation. On the other side, a Ukrainian refugee who left the country six hours before the bombs started falling provides a personal report, “The War from Ivano-Frankivsk.” Seth Lewis, an American expat who lives with his family in Ireland, expresses what many of us are experiencing, as our heads explode when we see the news. Norman Lebrecht, the music columnist at The Critic Magazine in Britain, asks, and answers, the question, “Who is a Ukrainian musician?”
One development that I believe is an absolute mistake and will come back to haunt the perpetrator (Zuckerberg’s Meta) is Facebook and Instagram temporarily allowing calls for violence against Russians.
I read and watch the news, and I think of my own life. Born during the Cold War and remembering the atomic bomb drills in elementary school. Vietnam and the 1960s. The rise of China. The oil embargo of 1973. Iran and the U.S. Embassy in 1979. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, followed a few years later by the collapse of the Soviet Union, with the First Iraq War in between. And 9/11, Afghanistan, and the Second Iraq War. And now the invasion of the Ukraine. Peter Savodnik at Common Sense says we are witnessing the “dawn of uncivilization.” It may be more a case of witnessing the humanity-old story of our fallen selves and what happens when we think we don’t need God.
Writing and Literature
Stephen Crane’s Lifetime of Mystery – Paul Franz at The Nation.
Dos Passos: The Modernist Path That Wasn’t – Anthony Hennen at Front Porch Republic.
Finding Inspiration in Willa Cather’s Belief in the Necessity of Art – Ladette Randolph at Literary Hub.
George MacDonald’s Fantastic Imagination – Christine Norvell at Story Warren.
Qiu Xiaolong and the Return of the Venerable Judge Dee – Paul French at CrimeReads.
How to Write a Vivid First Line – Edith Wharton at Literary Hub.
The Private or the Public – What’s More Important? – Andrew Bunt at Think Theology.
Is Congregational Singing Dead? – Benjamin Crosby at Plough Quarterly.
Joe Rogan and the Search for Transcendence – Phil Cotnoir at The Gospel Coalition Canada.
Does My Son Know You? Fatherhood, cancer, and what matters most – Jonathan Tjarks at The Ringer.
The Courage to Stay Small – Marilyn Gardner at Communicating Across Boundaries.
This Blue – Jane Greer at Kingdom Poets (D.S. Martin).
Three Poems on Jewish History – Brian Yapko at Society of Classical Poets.
Life and Culture
Table Manners from the 1880s – The Epoch Times.
Ukraine National Anthem: “Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished” – New York Metropolitan Opera, Feb. 18, 2022.
Illustration: Man Reading Newspaper, pen and ink and pencil on paper (1935), Katherine Schmidt (1899-1978); Smithsonian American art Museum.