There Are No Words

Given my previous post was on the fact that despite whatever we think most everything is in its way political…

[From Instagram, February 18, 2022.]

…that February 18, 2022 posted pic of a writer and what seems a photoshopped into it former KGB thug, with the word “love” emblazoned across it (and possibly magnetically attached to a fridge?), recently caught my attention. Commenters I scrolled through below it were mostly appalled by the pic or just plain incredulous. And clearly many “knew” her far better than I.

Because I don’t believe I had ever heard of that author until she was mentioned by a friend on social media. Let’s assume one Anne Lamott is not actually in love with the former KGB thug (but, based solely on that post, it is impossible to know that). That being so, presumably (hopefully?) the “love” commentary has perhaps something to do with how we ought to “love thy enemy” in the Christian sense?

I offer that latter suggestion because having seen the mention of her, and curious about her, I found her Wikipedia page; and naturally next I searched and found her Instagram and it was only then that I stumbled upon that post. Wikipedia tells us her “progressive” Christianity is vital to her writing, so (again, I assume) likely had something to do with that Instagram post. Learning of that too, I recalled how there is also, for example, this in the Bible, summarized by Wikipedia:

Following God’s law they killed every man and woman of every age, as well as the oxen, sheep, and donkeys… Joshua then cursed anybody who rebuilt the foundations and gates, with the deaths of their firstborn and youngest child respectively. This was eventually fulfilled by Hiel the Bethelite under King Ahab‘s reign.

As we see, when Joshua’s Israelites “killed every man and woman of every age…” in Jericho they were following God’s Law. There is lots in the Bible, and undergirding Christianity, that is not purely about “love.”

The main point here to me is not about the nature of Christianity, but rather that a writer is fundamentally about words and yet that one offered none in that caption. Deliberately providing no explanation strikes me as attempting to convey to followers (and to non-followers who might see it) that its “wordlessness” in itself demonstrates there is somehow “lots” there. At least one commenter I read indeed seemed to take it as such, terming it “powerful” – which also led me to wonder: How does that person possibly define “powerful?”

On the contrary, I believe for a writer to offer up an opaque (at best) post like that, at a time like that, is far more of an indication we have seen one drift into an area well beyond their authoring expertise and the writer may even know that, yet clearly still feels impelled by headlines to post something on social media while not really knowing what actually to write. Some 10 million Ukrainians died between about 1930-1953 under Stalin’s USSR dictatorship (and Putin’s Russia is essentially the “successor” state for what had been the USSR until late 1991), and such history is often overwhelming even for specialists in the area, so in the end that far less knowledgeable author leaving her caption blank there was probably for the best. As another saying goes: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

[Photo by Kat Smith on Pexels.com.]

That Instagram post was a reminder to me too that as an author you always have to bear in mind that one post is possibly someone’s introduction to you. Not every post can be “award-winning.” Yet does everything you post make a reasonable first impression?

Moreover that “love” post from her did not age well in only a matter of days: on February 24, unprovoked, that same Putin hurled much of the Russian army at Ukraine in the largest military action in Europe since 1945. Interestingly, as of today (August 26) that author has still not deemed it necessary – while World War II style mass death has been visited upon Ukrainians by that man and his henchmen for just over six months since that post – at any time since the 24th to add any sort of “update” explanatory caption or even better just to delete the entire thing. I will not hazard a guess as to why neither course has been chosen by her.

Sadly, this is also another unfortunate reality of social media. RFE/RL, which is offering in-depth coverage of the horrific Putinist assault on Ukraine in an effort to explain to the world what is happening there, and with its reporters regularly putting their lives on the line on the ground there, has some 32,000 Instagram followers. In comparison, that author has 189,000 followers.

3 comments

  1. The unfollow was instantaneous. While I pray I’ll never experience the kind of hatred that might prompt me to carry out any level of violence, I could never find love in my heart for one who can. 💔 #prayforukraine

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    • Maybe she was channeling the Beatles?: “All you need is love”; but even they did not really entirely believe that. If she was trying to show us all what it is to be “Christian” – which is certainly easy to do from the safety of the U.S. as Putin’s missiles only days later began to rain down on not only homes but on kids in schools and, yes, on churches – she ended up looking only like some dim meme maker. Worst of all, that as some “well-regarded” author she has chosen not to explain, or better yet delete the post, demonstrates to me that she is apparently indifferent, clueless, or just plain that arrogant, or some combination.

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