Keeping your opinions locked up inside will only make you full of yourself. Just ask Vladimir Putin
Holding your opinions in only works for so long. Eventually, they’ll explode with a big bang that shatters diplomacy.
This week NASA learned from instruments aboard the Curiosity rover that Martian creatures don’t pass gas. Or at least the total amount of methane that Martian life “donates” to the atmosphere of Mars is no more than one fifty-millionth the amount that Earth life donates to Earth’s atmosphere. So while there still may be intelligent life on Mars, hiding out somewhere, there can’t be politicians among them.
More and more, I’m liking what Vladimir Putin did for the world, in getting The New York Times to run an opinion piece by him.
Let’s face it: Putin isn’t the only guy in the world whose opinions stink. In fact, all men have stinky opinions. In fact, we now know that, contrary to the beliefs of our great-grandparents, women also opinionate, sometimes as loudly and as frightfully as men.
Putin reminds us all that it’s good to get opinions out. It’s better to let your opinions out a little bit at a time rather than hold them in until you either spontaneously combust, like cows and lonely old men do, or have one explosive opinionation that has a worse effect, with all around dropping like flies from exposure to it.
Seeing me now, this may come as a surprise to many of you, but as a young man, all rosy-cheeked and spry and bright-eyed and giggly as I was, I was also shy and would never opinionate in public. This went on for years. I did not opinionate in the open air a single time in the ’70s and only sporadically in the ’80s. As a result, I was so backed up by 1991 I almost needed a bypass. Then, in 1995, I exploded. I was at an open mic at the time, and there were no survivors. I’m not proud of that.
Now, of course, I opinionate everywhere shamelessly. I even opinionate in checkout lines at the supermarket. Other people can just suck it in. It’s for their own good anyway. When I hold it in, the results are worse.
Of course, here in the United States, with our First Amendment and all, we have a long tradition of sounding off, as we have often euphemistically called it. But it has always been seen as taboo to do it across borders. That’s where I think Putin has made a great contribution.
Until now, if a world leader needed to opinionate in the direction of the U.S., he would arrange to meet with diplomats from the U.S. and let loose behind closed doors. We’ve always thought of that as the only way it could be done, because the average man on the street, it was thought, wouldn’t have the fortitude to bear the stench of a typical world leader’s opinions.
But Putin has shown that we have all underestimated the American people. Putin, right in their faces, told them they weren’t exceptional, and not one American turned blue and keeled over.
It was a far cry from the outcome of Khrushchev’s “We will bury you” remarks in 1956, when thousands of Americans saved the Soviets the trouble by arranging to bury themselves to escape hearing the actual message.
This week we got a demonstration that Putin’s lead is having an effect; an opinion piece in The Washington Post by none other than Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Rouhani’s piece was far sweeter than Putin’s NYT piece had been, but that’s not the point. The point is, Rouhani did a Putin, going around the diplomats to opinionate at the American people directly. And it’s about time.
Even people who hated what Putin had to say started Putinizing. The same day that Rouhani spoke to the American people through The Washington Post, John McCain spoke to the Russian people through Pravda’s website to personally tell them without any intermediaries what a jerk he thinks Putin is.
I couldn’t be happier. It appears there will continue to be signs of life emanating from this planet for many years to come.
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