Friday, June 26, 2009

It's About Repression, Stupid

A Reuters article, based on a newly released Cuban government report, informs that Cuba lags in telecom, internet access. I won't get into the opener with the "doctor on every block" and a school for every child. Both deceptive: doctors in Venezuela, Angola? Schools with fourteen year old teachers. Nope. Not gonna go there.

I am going to point out that if you run a Stalinist state, of necessity you control information, curtail communication. Now that would seem a bit more newsworthy than the 12.8 telephones per hundred.

Meanderings: Morbidity and Mortality

The day began with the announcement of the death of Farah Fawcett, whose struggle to live we had witnessed just recently. Then came the bombshell: Michael Jackson was rushed to the hospital; Michael Jackson was in a coma; no, he was dead.

Outside the hospital, a vigil developed. It was surprising given the tattered state of both his reputation and career. There were, after all, those allegations, the trial. Could he really have been that twisted, this man/child? I'd like to think that it was all innocent, that this stunted individual saw himself as a child, trying in vain to capture the childhood he never had. In any case, it was irrelevant to the numbers outside.

The truly sad note is that it is not about Jackson. It never was. It was always about those insatiable fans and those whose lives were set to the score of his music. So even in death, Jacko will get no privacy. It was a Faustian bargain- the stardom, the adulation, the money. In return he oozed his humanity across our screens. True, it was a bargain made for him when he was too young to choose otherwise. But it was a pact he great cost, it would seem. May he know the peace now that he never had in life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reel: Beverly Hills Chihuahua

I confess I was bullied into watching this one. A customer of my husband's having recommended it to him, I found myself, somewhat reluctantly, watching a movie about talking dogs, Beverly Hills talking dogs, that is. Ycch!

But then, a funny thing happened on the way to the end: the danged thing got good. I have to credit fellow Cuban Andy Garcia with injecting pathos into this bit of fluff with his nuanced and moving portrayal of the kindly but gruff German Shepherd. And Paul Rodriguez and Cheech Marin as a light-fingered(?) rat and iguana duo, are hysterical. Matter of fact, the entire cast is stellar, almost literally.

So if you're languishing in the middle of a heat wave like we are and looking for something to pass the time indoors, you could do much worse than find your inner bark. As they say in Chihuahua- No Mas!

Justice and the Media

I'd watched one of the news magazine programs about the young American woman, Amanda Knox, on trial in Italy for the murder of her roommate, purportedly as part of a sex game gone awry. I walked away from the segment pretty much convinced of her innocence. I mean, she didn't look guilty. She looked like such a nice American girl. Such a nice family.

Then last week, Anne Coulter's column raised NYT writer Timothy Egan's- surprise!- biased treatment of the case in a larger indictment of the same paper's coverage of criminal trials. Coulter's analysis of source bias etc. is not news to those of us who follow Cuba. Standards.


I missed noting Juneteenth on June 19. I guess it's not surprising, given that I only learned about it when reading a book review a few years ago. As celebrations go, it's a pretty significant one, if not that widely known. I'm indebted to the NBRA for an explanation of the day which marks when Texas slaves were made aware of their emancipation, two years after the fact. Over time it has resonated more generally. Read all about it here.