Of Ukraine, Hydroponics and CBD

March 29, 2022

Can we please not tie everything to Ukraine?

About 90% of my email interactions consist of throwing away story pitches from PR professionals. One classic from their playbook is trying to tie their client to something going on in the news. Sometimes the connection can be strained: “How Parking Stripes Can Help Social Distancing During the Pandemic,” that kind of thing.

Well, what’s going on in the news is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And I’ve seen a couple of pitches where “strained” is a charitable description. In fact, “hideously inappropriate” may be charitable.

One of them was from someone repping someone who has something to do with CBD. The angle was that Americans have been having trouble sleeping because of “overriding fear and concern for the situation in Ukraine,” and CBD would help.

Another was something to do with hydroponic farms, because a lot of people are going hungry in Ukraine, and it sure would help if they had some hydroponic farms around to grow fresh produce, wouldn’t it?

I try to be nice, or at least decent, to PR people because after all, they’re just trying to do a job, same as I am. That’s why, in the spirit of decency, I refrained from emailing back to those two:


You think Americans are having trouble sleeping because of the war? How much insomnia do you think is prevalent in, say, Kyiv or Mariupol? It’s just borderline obscene to pretend that catering to the “suffering” of Americans who lose sleep at night is in any meaningful way a response to the war.

As for the hydroponic farms, I’m not sure I need to go into how ridiculous it is to even think about them in a place where hospitals are being shelled. “We need to defend the hydroponic farm!” is a phrase that has crossed the lips of no battlefield commander, ever.

If the situation in Ukraine keeps you up at night, a better investment than CBD would be a donation to Doctors Without Borders or another reputable charity that is helping to alleviate the suffering there. Who knows, you might even sleep better.

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