Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Clearing Out The Favorites

Here's a passel of stuff I've been meaning to share:

I'll start with this entry by Thomas Sowell ostensibly about rooting for the underdog. Somewhere along the way, he makes us question the definition of the underdog, praises public schools of the past, and makes a pitch for perseverance.

As to the mass demonstration in Washington, read Chris Burgard's first person account over at Big Hollywood. The impression he takes away is one I share. I remember remarking that whatever the individual cause, those big yellow flags said it all: "Don't' tread on me." Funny the media didn't notice them.

And I can't miss commenting on this Sarasota Herald Tribune article about the "civility" of our local town hall meeting. It's probably true. Before they set about regulating us to death, attempting to do to human nature what was done to nature on Longboat Key, this great little city was characterized by its graciousness and tolerance.

Someone should tell ImPOTUS there ain't no winning. The rest of the world is never going to like us. Try the harsh tone of this commentary which manages to insult the President and our system of government, even as it rings a death knell for our standing in the world. Granted it is in the Guardian, but one would think they would be kinder to a kindred spirit.

Finally on a bittersweet note, check this out.

Passing Thought

The word is that the President, faced with the request for additional troops in Afghanistan, is contemplating changing strategy. The new strategy, purportedly put together by Vice President Biden, involves the reverse, essentially reducing our military footprint. Question arises as to whether this is the same Joe Biden who advocated turning Iraq into three different countries.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Updated: Juanes And The Language of Subtlety

Update: For other perspectives, try Babalu here and here. And if a cartoon is worth a thousand words, try this.

Like many I was affronted and very cynical as to why Juanes was holding a "Peace Concert" in Havana, perceiving him as yet another stooge. I still find the motive dubious, but the event itself turned out to be not quite what anyone envisioned.

We in the United States are so accustomed to speaking frankly that we miss the nuances of what those on the island call "doble cara." We cannot truly understand the lexicon of gesture and symbol that envelops the lives of people who live at the whim of an all powerful state and who have been fed with the mother's milk of indoctrination by that same entity.

So while the embargo lifters will have a field day using the concert to bash those recalcitrant exiles, they may be missing an important subtext. Knowing the Cuban temperament, the multitudes came out for a good time, but were they there for something more? Is it the first time they went to that plaza, the plaza of mandatory revolutionary pagentry, of their own volition in a country where free assembly is forbidden? Is it possible that when Olga Tañon sang- as reported by the Herald- "Es mentiroso ese hombre," or "That man is a liar" and brought the house down, the crowd might have their own candidate in mind? The point was reinforced by a fellow Cuban, who posted this reminiscence. Remember the role music has played in demonstrating disaffection with the regime, whether the rock and roleros of the past or Gorki in the present day.

Could be the opening whimper. If nothing else, to his credit Juanes shouted the words "Cuba Libre," albeit couched in conciliatory thoughts. In my experience, a good number of Cubans are not political. They have had enough of incessant propaganda. But no amount of repression or refrain can cover up the absolute debacle the revolution has created. What Cubans do know is that their lives are untenable and that they want something different, jama being primary on their wish list.

As more information emerges, I may yet change my mind. For right now, it seems that ordinary Cubans massed at the venue and made it their own. What would seem something of a blow to those who want so much more for them, may in fact be a triumph delivered in the language of subtlety.

*doble cara - double face or two-faced
*Cuba libre- free Cuba
*jama- food