Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Quote of the Day

Goes to Gusano at La Contrarevolucion.

Castro’s 50 year propaganda campaign has managed to convince the world that even after 50 years Cuba is still undergoing a revolution that was over on Jan 8 1959. The world’s longest going out of business sale.

Read: Storming Las Vegas

The New Man and the same old story. My brother clued me into this one which was published in February and is officially titled Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down the Strip to the Tune of Five World-Class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and Millions of Dollars. I'd like to be able to recommend it as a well-written true crime story, but my experience of the book was fatally tarnished by the bigotry apparent in its pages.

My first clue came in the "Acknowledgments" in which author John Huddy cites Wayne Smith. Of course, he also mentions Brian Latell. Then, he proceeds to pass on, unopposed, the perspective of the villain/hero of the piece, Jose Vigoa, who was born in 1959 that during "Batista time" in Cuba there were 8 million people and 7 million were poor, illiterate, and uncared for....

Just as well, because Huddy characterizes Cuba as a "banana republic through virtually all of its history." Under the guidance of fidel, it becomes a "player on the world stage," and here's the best, "the target of relentless terrorism." See those "Miami militants" were responsible for the constant tension under which the murderer and thief grew up. fidel is lionized and Batista associated with "torture chambers and murder squads." He includes reference to an incident hitherto unknown to me in which Batista had men buried alive.

Later Huddy, who once worked for the Herald, clues us in that he grew up "in preCastro Cuba," that is to say at the Guantanamo Base:

I visited much of the interior of Cuba....I saw firsthand the conditions in Cuba under the U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship. They were harsh and degrading.

What can I say? The 1958 UN? Liars. My parents? Liars. My grandparents? Liars. My friends, relatives, associates? Liars. None of these were Batistianos, but it is obvious that Mr. Huddy on the basis of "visits" to the "interior" knows Cuba better than any of the aforementioned. Maybe he should go visit parts of Philadelphia and write a book. I raised the idea of bigotry earlier. This selective portrayal of Cuban history is emblematic of the perspective of some. Was there poverty? Yes, grinding for some. There was also the largest middle class in Latin America. There is no room for that in their equations. To these people Cubans are some third world species of "native" somehow unentitled to the same prerogatives as Americans. It is our "otherness" they find off-putting, whether in Cuba or Miami.

Oh, the book? Read it if you want. Pick it up at Goodwill or the library. Otherwise, save your militant quarter.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Minimum Monday

Slim Pickin's this week, it would seem.

Line. I quoted this one earlier. Over at NRO, Mark Steyn waxes eloquent on the insanity that seems to have infected the body politic. Don't miss it here.

Medium. At Townhall, Mike S Adams shares a novel grading system he proposes for his students. Those who achieve over ninety will share some of their points with those less fortunate. Sound familiar? That's his point.

Perspective. The New York Times relieves my worried mind by reporting that those who drink substantial amounts of coffee have less risk of dementia. Gee, that's one less worry for my golden years.

Why I Skipped the Halftime Show Yesterday

I spent the evening last night at a Superbowl party. As the Boss came on the stage, all the Boomers shrieked and oohed and aahed and waxed nostalgic, while I headed to the lanai with the cigar smokers. So there I was observing that quite of few of these last hadn't clipped the ends of their cigars, when the hostess came out and sat by my side, inquiring whether I had caught Bruce. Thinking quickly- I was after all in enemy territory, so to speak- I replied that I had never been a particular fan.

What I omitted in my reply is that I will never again be able to listen to "Born to Run" without feeling offended, not because Mr. Springsteen has his own political views but because he insists on using his celebrity and position to foist those rather strident views on me. It is his right to try, but it is my right to forgo buying his music. Ditto, with the assortment of celebrities and media types who insist on trashing Bush, Republicans, Conservatives, and any other of the people and ideals I hold dear.

I have decided that I will not support the artistic efforts of any of these if I can help it. I won't go to their movies, rent their DVD's, listen to their music, or subscribe to their magazines. It seems others have arrived at the same conclusion. George, today, over at Babalu, linked to a wonderful piece at the American Spectator. It is right on so many levels.

When artists, reporters, and their ilk take a particular political position, they risk repudiating those who do not agree with them. In this instance, 46 percent of the population did not vote for Mr. Obama, and not because they are stupid, immoral, or unenlightened. There should be room in our politics and entertainment for the notion that there is more than one valid political position. Until there is, my choices will be limited, as I suspect will be their sales.