Omnium Gatherum

Jacob Akey, Crier Staff

The peculiar place of the Holocaust in contemporary discourse should not be tampered with. In recent days two public figures have gotten themselves into hot water by trying to utilize the mass killing of European Jews by Nazi Germany to make a point. First, Robert F Kennedy Jr claimed that vaccine mandates were worse than the situation of European Jewish populations in Hitler’s Germany. His speech was broadly rebuked across the political spectrum. Days later, talk-show host Whoopi Goldberg maintained that the Holocaust was not about race. Instead, she claimed, it was demonstrative of “man’s inhumanity towards man”. Her argument is incorrect on two counts. For one, the Holocaust was very explicitly a matter of race and racism. The Nazis sought to exterminate the Jewish people because they viewed them as a separate and undesirable race. Secondly, framing the Holocaust as a common issue of inhumanity robs the event of its moral significance. Man has always been, and may always be, unkind. To avoid repeating an event like the Holocaust, we must keep it separate. The way we discuss an event can be a final cumber to prevent its repetition. As atonement for trying to destroy this linguistic shield, Goldberg was widely criticized and suspended from “The View” for two weeks. The societal rebuke of Whoopi Goldberg and RFK Jr is an essential reminder that the Holocaust ought not to be heedlessly used as a rhetorical tool.

Dave is back (and deli with it)! An issue of grave concern for us Anselmians was the state of our dining service after it was taken over by AVI. We saw quality fall throughout the Fall semester as operating hours and selections were cut. Chronic understaffing forced employees to work hours that are unacceptable in 21st century America. Things were bleak.

It is now apparent that something has changed. AVI is still in charge, but food quality has dramatically improved.More stations are consistently available in Davison Hall. Most exciting is the return of the deli station from its semester-long hiatus. While it is unwise to look a gift-horse in the mouth, I must ask, why has dining services improved so much? At an AVI-led town hall event last semester, our Resident Director, Esther Reed, blamed any deficiencies on a tight labor market and ongoing supply chain issues. Have these issues disappeared? National data seemingly points towards a no. Is it possible that last semester’s hiccups resulted from a rough transition to AVI management rather than greater market forces? Whatever the reason, I’m happy that the deli is back.

Kangaroos are soft. I’d always expected them to have a coarse coat similar to that of a horse. This misconception was cleared up recently during the Exotic Animals event at the Student Center. The kangaroo’s name was Naomi.

Will Russia invade Ukraine? It’s a question I have been asked and have myself asked many times over the past few months. I, of course, do not know. My best guess is that we won’t see an attempt at full annexation. The costs are too high, and the outcome of such an invasion is too unpredictable. Even if Russia could destroy Ukraine’s military and prevent outside intervention, Russia cannot financially sustain an occupation of a hostile Ukraine. Wars are cripplingly expensive, and Russia grows poorer by the day. A process of further dismemberment and the creation of client states is also unlikely. As a consequence of Russian hostility, the annexation of Ukrainian Crimea, and the insurgency in Donbas, Ukrainians are ever more nationalistic. The omnipresent threat to their East has made them treasure their sovereignty. They would not surrender it without a fight.

That does not mean peace is inevitable. Russia cannot afford to be perceived as having backed down, otherwise it will lose leverage in future confrontations. How can Putin menace the Baltics if he’s proven impotent? Instead of a large-scale invasion, there will likely be what President Biden so ineloquently approved, a minor incursion. Tanks may not cross the Dnieper, but Russian hackers will assault Ukrainian energy and financial infrastructure. Separatists may engage in terrorist attacks, and the Russian air force will make mockery of Ukrainian airspace. In the end, however, borders will not move. That’s my prediction.