November Fifth

And look – the Brits are really on our side, feeling deeply the pain of the war in Ukraine. That’s because it speaks to their most important national trauma: World War II. They were wounded but fought gloriously and stood up to the enemy. Like Ukrainians. So it’s easy for the Brits to get on the same wavelength. They have nothing to be ashamed of in their memory of WWII, so they react to the war in Ukraine with sincere, open support.

Germans, on the other hand, are much more ambivalent. Since they became a nation, they’ve never been invaded without provocation. They never stood up to invaders because they didn’t have to. Instead, they have invaded, and they don’t like to be reminded of that.

The French have been invaded but in the most recent invasion they rolled over fast and agreed to peace on humiliating terms. Have you noticed how Macron keeps trying to persuade Ukrainians to agree to their own Vichy? Subconsciously, the idea that everybody ultimately rolls over for General Guderian is pleasing because it speaks to the biggest national trauma. If Ukraine agrees to a humiliating “peace,” it means there wasn’t anything that shameful in the Vichy regime.

Spaniards are supportive of Ukraine but not passionately so. They understand that Ukraine’s cause is rightful but the whole thing bores them. The Spanish nation-state was, indeed, created in response to an invasion from the closest neighbor. It was a moment of high national glory. Spaniards fought ferociously and beat back the much stronger enemy by the sheer force of patriotism and willpower. The only problem is that this all happened in 1808. Today, only faint echoes of all this remain in the national psyche. Spain has had bigger traumas since then, and, like always happens in Hispanic countries, those problems were entirely home-made.

Of course, this all works only for the countries with a fully realized, mature nation-state whose most recent major wound to the body of the nation comes from an invasion or something like it. Mexico, for example, was invaded in the 19th century but it’s biggest national trauma is the more recent Mexican revolution and the ensuing civil war. So Mexicans have no interest in what’s happening in Ukraine. It doesn’t speak to them because it’s unfamiliar.

I just came up with this theory today, and I think there’s something to it.

Happy Daylight Savings Time, everybody! It’s my second favorite night of the year after New Year’s Eve.

Saturday Morning

I spent Saturday morning in my office, listening to the Ukrainian anthem and weeping.

I think that Americans are supporting us so much because what we are experiencing speaks to their most recent national trauma. What Ukraine is going through is 9/11. Remember how you felt when you saw the towers falling and people jumping to their death? If you are an American, you know exactly how I feel. There’s been a new 9/11 for me every day for 255 days. Nobody who hasn’t personally lived it can fully understand, and Americans have lived it.

This is why Colombians, for instance, are completely indifferent to the war in Ukraine at best and cheering on Russia at worst. They haven’t been invaded. Their national consciousness hasn’t been wounded in that way. Colombia’s most painful national trauma is a civil war. A hundred – or actually more like 150 at this point – years of Colombian solitude are those of a bloody, devastating civil strife. I’m not devaluing the painful nature of the Colombian experience. Colombia has experienced terrible suffering but it’s completely different from ours, so they sincerely don’t feel our pain.

In America, the people who are hostile to Ukraine are like those liberal US Jews who can’t look into the face of their Holocaust trauma. Identifying with the Holocaust will shatter their psyche, so they hide behind an exaggerated concern over racism.

Men Things

Just a cute video of men doing goofy men things:

This reminded me how my 6-year-old nephew, who was exhausted by having to exist among a large group of women with nobody to engage him in manly pursuits, came home from summer camp and discovered his sister and cousin sitting on the floor, making dolly clothes and singing with sweet, tender voices, “Sally was a child, a child, a child. . .”

“Oh no,” the poor guy said, turning around and walking right back out of the house. “No, not this. I can’t stand any more of this.”

The look of sheer horror on his face was priceless. But I get it. That’s how I would feel if I had to coexist with what’s in the video posted above.