‘Stay safe’ suddenly has an even keener edge than the one previously sharpened by the pandemic

No 129 – Chilly East Wind Blowing

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

What are we skinning? Russia’s sudden re-emergence into the panicked global conversation (to put it mildly...)

Why are we skinning it? This question is sometimes utterly redundant. Now, it is unutterably so.

But I’ve uttered it. Yes, and I was being somewhat unduly harsh with you. The nerves come with the territory, I’m sure you’ll understand.

Yes. I also understand ‘territory’ to be the primary trigger – in all senses of the word – of the situation we’re currently facing. As is the case with nearly every war, alas.

Do you think local politicians are annoyed that this has stolen some of the thunder from the election campaign? Judging by a general lack of rhetorical vigour on display, I think they may just be relieved.

Still, a show of dick-swinging pomposity is the last thing we need locally, right now... Between Abela’s robotic parroting of what he assumes his (admittedly still large) electoral portion wants to hear and Bernard Grech’s bumbling recitation of whatever Peregin is feeding him, I’d say there was never any real danger of that to begin with.

But without such a distraction, I’m lost in a puddle of debilitating anxiety. What shall I do? Take a leaf from my book... the book I’ve been keeping in storage in case ‘80s nostalgia stretches beyond ineffectual Stranger Things vibes and plunges into cold war temperatures.

And what book would that be? It’s more than a book, actually. (Though I suppose the literary theorists among us would still potentially refer to it as a ‘text’).

Out with it. Alright, fine. I’ll refer you to the masterpiece of pugilistic cinema and diplomacy: Rocky IV.

The one with Dolph Lundgren as a pummelling stand-in for the latter-day Soviet Union. Yes, and the one in which he is literally beaten into embracing American individualism, and is subsequently sanctified by our American hero, who proclaims that “We can all change!”

Dude, spoilers. If only I had spoilers for the fully immersive, currently ongoing real-life reboot.

Do say: “Between legitimate fears of inter-continental destabilisation, a barrage of anxiety-inducing information, outright misinformation and factoids emerging soiled by the fog of war, conspiracy theories proliferating from either side of the political divide... it’s looking like the war has already been funnelled into our brains. ‘Stay safe’ suddenly has an even keener edge than the one previously sharpened by the pandemic...”

Don’t say: “It’s not right to be potentially deprived of our main sources of vodka when we all clearly need it the most.