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The Three Stooges Make a Comeback

“The rewards for being sane are not many, but knowing what’s funny is one of them.”

Thus spoke the late novelist Kingsley Amis through a character in his work, Stanley and the Women.

Whether I am sane may be a point of contention, especially since the hammer blows from the political and cultural disasters of the last two years have dented my sense of humor. Yet the farce now being acted out on the world stage can still bring laughter, even if poisoned with bitterness.

I am speaking of the Ukraine War. Top billing in this farce belongs to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, America’s Joe Biden, and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky.

The 70-year-old President Putin, whose invasion of Ukraine officially kicked off the war some months ago, is a former KGB officer and a semi-dictator past his prime.

At 79, President Biden is a lifelong politician who left his prime behind years ago. He’s also likely suffering from dementia. “Let me start off with two words,” Biden said in a recent speech: “Made in America.”

President Zelensky is a former comedian and therefore the only actor on this stage with a professional resume.

All three of these performers have recently brought up the possibility of nuclear war as blithely as some of us talk about the weather. Putin reportedly threatened the use of tactical nuclear weapons, Biden referred to possible Armageddon, and depending on interpretation of his statement, Zelensky called on NATO to deliver a first strike to Russian forces.

Were it not for the fact that the nuclear saber-rattling of these nincompoops might result in the deaths of millions, the whole pathetic scenario might be funny, like some slapstick bit from the Three Stooges.

Just as bad are the supporting actors. Here in the United States, for example, the war hawks in Congress support Ukraine and couldn’t care less about what happens to the rest of us, one suspects. They want to keep sending more weapons and money to a country well-known for the corruption among its politicians and bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, no one in Washington really explains to the rest of America why Russia is “evil” and Ukraine “virtuous” or why we are so committed to Ukraine. Ask most Americans why the United States should pick a dog in that fight, and most will answer, if they have any idea at all, “The Russians invaded Ukraine.” Ask why the Russians invaded Ukraine, and you’ll probably get a shrug and a blank look.

To add some mystery to this farce, some unknown party recently blew up part of the Nord Stream gas pipelines that run from Russia to Europe. No one will fess up to the crime, although there is plenty of blame flying around.

All three of these men wield enormous power. If these heads of state wanted an end to the war, they or their emissaries would have called for a cease-fire and been sitting around a table months ago, hammering out details for peace, or at least making the attempt. But they are weak, acting in their own interests or those of their backers rather than looking for the best possible road to peace.

Meanwhile, we are their audience, hundreds of millions of us, watching a burlesque, an unintended parody of capable statesmanship.

For someone possessed with the talents of irony and humor, a Tom Wolfe for instance, our times have delivered you a present waiting to be unwrapped. You might even steal one of Wolfe’s essay titles, My Three Stooges, and make it Our Three Stooges. Untie the ribbons, open that gift box, work the contents into a novel, and with any luck, you’ll have a bestseller for sure.

Provided, of course, enough of us are left alive to read it.

Image credit: Flickr-Insomnia Cured Here, CC BY-SA 2.0

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  • Avatar

    […] Jeff Minick writes that The Three Stooges Make a Comeback. […]

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  • Avatar
    Keith Phillips
    October 18, 2022, 12:26 am

    It must be Curly, Larry and Shemp because none of the three is smart enough to be Moe!!!

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  • Avatar
    Bassboat
    October 18, 2022, 1:23 am

    I’m sitting here and wondering which of these idiots is the most stupid. Why would Putin invade Eukraine? Does Biden know where Eukraine is? Is Zelensky suicidal? Why don’t we put Putin in charge of the US, Biden in Eukraine and Zelensky in the FBI, he’d be a perfect fit there. Oh, you ask about Russia? How about Trump? I think that would solve all of our problems…..

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  • Avatar
    Tionico
    October 18, 2022, 4:37 am

    WHY woul Russia "invade" the Ukraine? Simple.. two reasons.

    First you totally left off your theoretical stage two actors, actually two parts of the same actor: there are large populations of citizend of the Ukraine that are of Russian origin politically, linguistically, culturally, etc, for centuries. Some time back when some equally three-stoogish poitical hacks played Legos and built what we now call the Ukraine out of bits and pieces of other countries (a process called "balkanisation" and the root of most of the political issues of the past half-century and more) somehow magically thinking that very different cultures, mashed up together, would make a new ‘country". Back in 2014, when OUR OWN government stooges staged a coup that unseated the duly elected and popular govenrment of Ukraine replacing him with a US backed puppet, those large areas of former Russian people held elections… and decided overwhelmingly to LEAVE this crazy new "country" foisted upon them by the world poohbahs. One of them the Crimea, voted overwhelmingly to rejoin Russia, which country they never wanted to leave. The other voted to cede from the Ukraine and remain autonomous.. the people of the Donbas region. They did NOT desire to remain part of the Ukraine.
    The other reason is even more simple and logical: for decades NATO have been pushing to expand into more and more territory. That outift was SUPPOSED to ahve been dissolved after the breakup of the Soviet empire back in what, around 1980 or so? No more nead because Soviet Russia was no more. And THAT was the excuse for starting NATO.
    Well, the stooges running NATO decided to begin military buildups along Russia’s border about a year or less ago. Russia’s leader spoke up and was mocked, scorend, disregarded.
    Anyone else remember what OUR OWN President did back when Russia arranged to install a whole passel of NUKES within a short ride of our own US territory? I certainly do I lived through that. Go and learn what our president John Kennedy did in response to Russia’s close incurion to our own shores. Switch roles, NATO putting missiles and troops right on Russia’s border, Putin took decisive action. Same game, WHY is that so hard to grasp?

    While you have your mind in WayBack mode, try and remember some of the other shenannigans our own government, including the main Actor in Chief at the time (2014 to be very specific) and his kin, pals, fellow operatives, had going on in the Ukraine… uranium deals, natural gas deals, corruption and huge payoffs, half million dollar "speaker fees" going into the campaign warchest of a VERY rotten candidate….. th aforementioined folks have profitted mightily from the corruption and inside dealing, manipulation, profiteering, and likely security and trust violations…… and today’s ruler of the Ukraine was party to much if not most all of that "action".
    Putin’s intervention was for two reasons.. to help preserve the former Russian people who wanted out of the corrupt nation into which they had been thrust with no voice in the matter, and to push back the corrupt and very dangerous NATO expansion, against treaties etc, right up to his border. Just like WE did when Russia, back when, installed VERY threatening and destructive equipment about that close to our own Florida.

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  • Avatar
    RobertMeece
    October 18, 2022, 7:14 am

    hi

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