I like the adage write what you know because I’m not the kind of writer who can make up fictional worlds on the planet Zorch.
Though I might have fun introducing you to a few Zorchian characters and amuse you into believing there is life on other planets. But that’s only because my Zorchians would seem like Earthlings, probably Americans and likely with an attitude since that is my worldview.
We all have attitudes.
In other words, we are more alike than we are different, as I’ve written before and actually stole from a writing mentor, who in turn likely pilfered it from someone else.
That doesn’t make it any less true.
As we watch what looks like World War III beginning to unfold with the unprovoked, slow decimation of Ukraine and its 43 million people at the hands of crazed Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, it’s hard to not feel like we’re on the planet Zorch.
Or Ukraine is the planet Zorch.
Or planet Zorch is an evil place led by a crazed dictator bent on destroying Ukraine, or daring us and other NATO nations to stand up to it.
It depends on your worldview.
The constant is people are more alike than different.
How does the image I saw this weekend on CNN of an 18-month old baby boy dying in a blood-soaked blanket in a Ukrainian hospital in the city of Mariupol after intense shelling by Russian bombers relate to all this?
All I could focus on were his very much still alive Earthling parents.
How did his father, who carried him in, ever make it to the hospital amid the shelling?
How was that hospital even open?
What will the life of his hysterical mother – and that Dad’s wife – be like if she even manages to make it out of this unprovoked, needless war?
When I think of that little boy who will never grow up… Well, I can’t think of that. I mean, I do but then there comes a point where I walk away or somehow the subject gets changed in my head.
As it does for so many of us.
In my case it made me once again think of the structural engine behind the indestructible Law and Order franchise.
We earthlings need to believe that at the end of the day our laws will more time than not give us order. As if real order was possible to ensure and laws were the one imperfect way we had to ensure them.
Well, that might work on Earth but not here (Note: Or there) on Zorch.
Zorchian reality, by contemporary definition, is an environment where the rules don’t apply and our meager laws don’t fix much of anything.
This is especially the case when we don’t have the courage to enforce them or the right logic to forestall impending cataclysmic catastrophe and thus ensure a truly moral order.
Not that we aren’t presently courageous or devoid of any logic whatsoever.
After all, we haven’t reached the end of this episode, or perhaps season arc, quite yet.
Here’s a short, easy to read piece written by nuclear and foreign affairs expert Tom Nichols in The Atlantic that explains better than I can our mixed emotions on how to proceed in helping the people of Ukraine.
And this is a news report about two college roommates at the University of Delaware – one from Ukraine and the other from Russia – who led one of the many large protests to the war this week by college students all over the country.
Though truly, they’ve been taking place all over the world and are often led by the young.
If you want to know more about what college students, nee our future leaders, think click here and what you might find is the smallest glimmer of hope. It’s a random series of thoughts and responses from them compiled by the NY Times.
Meanwhile, I’ll be the college professor in the corner trying to make some sense of Zorch so I can write about it in a more effective way.
Attitude only gets you so far these days.