5 May 2023

vlad vexler advises we ask: what is it tim snyder’s trying to do?

‘Do I have an opinion on Tim Snyder’s analysis.’

I’m going to be sharing an opinion because — Tim is very beautiful, but Tim is doing a fascinating balance between being a public intellectual and historian and being an activist. And we’ll be exploring that balance of his.

He is getting — what you’re not seeing, ’cause everybody loves Tim in the public sphere — but he’s being eviscerated in the academy. A lot of people are very mean about him at the moment for over-generalizing, for jumping too quickly to conclusions.

So we’ll try to parse that out, actually, by clarifying, always, What hat is someone wearing, right? ’Cause you don’t want to criticize somebody, right, for not cooking good mashed potatoes when they’re trying instead to do a parsnip purée.

That’s Vlad Vexler replying to a livestream attendee’s question this week and promising, in a video to come one of these days, to give Tim Snyder a closer critical look.

(To follow Snyder’s every word would be a full time job. I do think his whole fall Yale Open Courses series on Ukraine a solid recommendation and also, at the same time, am taking interest in cautions about his material as I have opportunity to consider them.)

[UPDATE: Vexler delivers at some length, about 45 min. It’s a pretty good listen, a thoughtful analytical performance. He, too, encourages you to give Snyder’s Ukraine lectures a try, I want to note.]

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