Why I Don’t Like Myself

It seems like today will be a “Negative List-Making Day” for me. I need to get all this negativity out before proceeding with the rest of the week, though, so bear with me.

I don’t like myself right now because:

  1. I’m messy and disorganized. Or, rather, I have an organized, responsible persona and a disorganized messy persona, and the latter always ends up defeating the former.
  2. I have a very bizarre system of priorities that keeps undermining me.
  3. I keep forgetting that beating your head against a wall only results in brain damage and does nothing to remove the wall.
  4. I’m infantilizing myself by not learning to drive, which is a very stupid thing to do.
  5. I never answer emails on time, except when they are from students.
  6. And the worst part of all: I keep putting off my research, the part of my life that never disappoints and that always gives my life meaning, for the sake of stupid and meaningless things that do disappoint on a regular basis. This way, I can continue being a receptacle for the shit people want to unload on me while nothing of value gets done.

So I’m using this opportunity to make this public pledge on my blog:

Never again will I do anything (no matter how much people exhort me, plead with me and cajole me into doing it) before I have finished my research activities for the day. Until I’ve done my writing, everybody and everything can go stand in a queue.

Believe me, folks, never again will I engage in this self-defeating, self-sabotaging game.

And now I will go and organize my papers.

A Stupid Article on Ukraine in Toronto Sun

And the world continues to annoy me. Here are some excerpts from an article on Ukraine published by Toronto Sun that, once again, makes me wonder how the hiring process for mainstream media occurs:

Why did my heart sag when I learned of the international conference in Ottawa titled “Ukraine at the Crossroads?” Over 30 notable academics, politicians and international experts gathered at the Chateau Laurier on March 7-8 under auspices of the Ukrainian Canadian Council (UCC) to discuss the state of democracy and freedom in Ukraine and its tenuous (and often tense) relations with Russia. Prior to that gathering — often involving some of the same “experts” — was the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Again, they rehashed what to do about the loss of democratic reforms that jeopardize Ukraine’s ties with Europe.

There is no explanation why the conference and the experts are dismissed in such a condescending manner other than the fact that some Conservative Canadian MP has not been invited to offer his precious wisdom about the state of affairs in Ukraine:

The big lapse in the standing committee is the absence of Conservative MP Chris Alexander, former diplomat in Moscow and former ambassador to Afghanistan who understands Russia better than the whole Harper cabinet and NDP caucus if you ask me.

Yes, really, how can any discussion about Ukraine be conducted in the absence of a former ambassador to Afghanistan who understands Russia?

Leaving aside the extremely poor writing and editing for the moment, let’s contemplate the author’s grievous  lack of knowledge about the country he has chosen to discuss in this badly written article:

Some 45 years ago, I lived and worked for a couple of years in Moscow, when Ukraine was a republic of the Soviet Union. Even then, tension between Russians and Ukrainians was palpable. This always struck me as curious, because as an outsider it was hard to tell the difference between the two.

I remember asking a Russian why the thinly disguised hostility.

Forget the 300 years of vicious colonial rule, the genocide of the 1931-2, the annihilation of the Ukrainian cultural legacy, the endless prohibitions against the Ukrainians using their own language. Forget the glaring differences between the art, history, language, culture, etc. of the Russians and the Ukrainians. None of these things matter because, to an indifferent traveler from Canada, all those Slav people look exactly the same. So why on earth would these very similar people dislike each other? It isn’t like they might truly differ in the manner of, say, Canadians and Americans.

The journalist does not stop here and continues sharing his ignorance with the universe:

Now that Ukraine is an independent country, but still economically, socially and culturally dependent on Russia in ways that Belarus is, it cannot escape Russian paranoia about its desire to identify more closely with Europe.

Ukraine’s economic dependence on Russia is an issue that can be discussed. However, it remains a complete mystery to me how my country is “socially and culturally” dependent on its Eastern neighbor. Russia has been fighting to keep Ukraine as part of the empire for centuries, while Ukraine has been struggling to escape from its domination. So who’s the dependent party here?

The culmination of stupidity in the article comes when its unintelligent author dismisses the long-standing tradition of democracy in Ukraine:

Democracy is too new, too fragile in that part of the world, and is not yet a tradition as it is elsewhere.

I have got to wonder where that magical “elsewhere” that has an older modern democracy than Ukraine is located. If one decides to write about Ukraine, surely, one can be expected to know of the Zaporizhian Sich that existed between the XVIth and the XVIIth centuries and that was governed according to the principles of democracy.

If the article is bad, then the very first comment that follows it is even worse:

Who the hell cares what happens in the Ukraine? This is Canada, we have our own problems to worry about and this country isn’t one of them.

Yes, to hell with the huge Ukrainian Diaspora in Canada, with the globalization, and with foreign affairs. A true Canadian is too preoccupied with “our own problems” to notice that things are happening outside Canadian borders.

Thank you, Ukrainian Canadian, for pointing me towards the article.

One of Those Days

It’s one of those days when a person wakes up and the world greets her with a surge of negativity. Which is why I feel a profound need to bitch. I have been awake for less than an hour and have already been presented with the following unpleasant discoveries:

  • I have missed the delivery of an extremely important package. The content of the package is of such a nature that I cannot be at peace until I have it in my possession. Just once I decide to sleep in until 9 am and this happens.
  • I forgot my own golden rule of action which is, “Never ever ever have any dealings with Russian people, especially if they are from Moscow or St. Petersburg. They are weird, unpleasant, dishonest folks, and it’s best to keep as far away from them as possible.” Now, I’m paying the price for this untimely forgetfulness.
  • I had postponed my research in favor of other things that I decided were more important. The universe, then, demonstrated to me that this was an idiotic decision.
  • My mailbox is inundated with messages telling me that every important event under the Sun has been scheduled precisely for the weekend when I will be out of town.
  • People who should have listened to my advice chose to dismiss it and now we are all in deep shit.
  • And the stupid Introduction to the article is still not working out.