Today, I just have to comment on two current events that boggle the mind. One story concerns lying for vanity while the other provides a lesson in dying for lack of trying.
#1: Playing to Win
So, the news media are asking what has to be the most disingenuous question of the decade: “Was Yevgeny Prigozhin’s airplane sabotaged or was it an accident?”
Geore R.R. Martin provided the answer to this question many years ago in his novel “Game of Thrones” via the character of Cersei Lannister
“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”
Mr. Prigozhin’s big mistake was not playing to win. If he did not intend to complete his march on Moscow—and Vladimir Putin—he should never have started. Better to build the opposition in secret until he had accomplices in Moscow willing to isolate Mr. Putin and hold him until the Wagner Group troops reached the city. Instead, he hesitated and then equivocated, choosing exile in Belarus instead.
Now, a lot of his fellow Russians could have counseled him that this was a bad idea. A lot of Mr. Putin’s opponents could have told him that he did not tolerate opposition or even criticism. Except that, whoops, they’re dead.
Only Alexander Navalny lives to issue such warnings but he’s locked away in a Russian prison.
Dying in Public
No, Vladimir Putin targeted Yevgeny Prigozhin the minute his former supporter led his Wagner troops toward Moscow. He wanted the execution to be Indirect (did he jump or was he pushed) but at the same time very, very obvious. That plane falling out of the sky told anyone who might oppose him what their fate would be.
Trying and failing in Mr. Putin’s Russia might get you killed but failing to try will definitely get you executed. The moral of this story? Well, Mr. Prigozhin would have done well to take advice from Master Yoda:
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
BTW: How do we really know that Yevgeni Prigozhin is dead? Sure, his name was on the manifest for that flight, but we have no real evidence he was on the plane. He could have heard of Putin’s plans and stayed away. He could be rallying the Wagner Troop for another, more serious, march on Moscow. Just a thought.
#2: Lying About Height and Weight
Who among us has not stood in the doctor’s office and—staring at the scale—wanted to self-report our weight? Who has not tried to avoid seeing what will probably be a larger number?
Most ordinary people would want to do this but only our four-times indicted former President, a man out on bail in four different jurisdictions, gets away with it.
Folks were participating in an online pool to guess what The Former Guy would weigh in at when he surrendered at the Fulton County Courthouse on Thursday. But, once again, The Former Guy tapped America’s two-tiered justice system to avoid standing on that scale.
Thus, this morning we heard he came in at 6’3” and 215 pounds. Say what?
During Mr. Trump’s final physical exam as president, conducted in June 2020, he measured 6″ 3″ and 244 pounds. That provided a source of social media amusement back then. After being arrested in an unrelated case in New York, he was measured at 6’ 2” and weighed 240 pounds.
That means that in six months, he has gained an inch in height and dropped 25 pounds. That’s great if you can do it. Speaking for myself, I would love to gain back one of the two inches I have lost in height. As for dropping 25 pounds in six months: sign me up!
Turns out Mr. Trump’s team sent his height and weight to the courthouse in advance of his arrival, allegedly to expedite the booking process. For good measure, they added that he has “strawberry blond hair.” Really.
MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough said,
“”I’ve stood next to him many times. I’m about 6′ 4″. Maybe he’s 6′ 1″, maybe he’s 6′ 1.5″, 6′ 2″. He’s a good bit shorter. But his staff reported him at 6′ 3″, and in a fighting weight of 215. That would be like if my staff reported me: ‘Describe Mr. Scarborough’s appearance.’ ‘He looks a lot like Robert Redford in 1974.'”
For good measure, “Morning Joe” provided photos of athletes of comparable height and weight. So, now we’re supposed to believe that Donald Trump is the same size as Mohammed Ali was when he was 39 and in fighting shape. In fact, Mr. Trump is supposed to weigh less than Tom Brady.
Social media, of course, has had a field day with this self-reported lie. It may have allowed Mr. Trump to feel better about himself but it has also made him, once again, an object of ridicule. Even so, he will do anything to avoid fitting publicly into the “clinically obese” category that we all can observe for ourselves. In other words, he’s dying to look taller and thinner than he actually is.
A diet of Big Macs and Diet Coke and an exercise regimen of riding around in a golf cart instead of walking will do that for you. Only trouble is that lying to yourself can lead to dying later on.