Print Story Castro's Day Off.
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By blixco (Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 06:17:56 AM EST) (all tags)
My dad, like many of his generation, was brought up with Castro Is Teh Devil! burned deep into his brain.


Castro...Cuba in general...has not been a world changing revolution since the last days of the missile crisis.  Yes, they've been a thorn in the side to our more hawkish freedom fighters, and yes Cuba under Castro is like Apocalypse to the Cubans in Florida.  I get it.  But now that Castro is about to step aside a few feet and let someone be a puppet to his dark whispers, I wonder if the worldview of those who grew up hating Castro the Madman will change any?

My dad is a good guy.  He really is.  He's just politically confused at times, in reaction to the past few years.  He's getting older, and older southerners tend to get pretty entrenched into Evangelical Republicanism, that form of Republican that has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with Fear: fear of God's wrath, fear of commies, fear of liberals, fear of Hillary shock troops and Barak Obama Osama Bin Hussein.  Fear is what drives them, and that fear makes them angry.  Irrational.  And utterly incapable of hearing the facts, because when you're running for your life there is no time for fact.  You need a hard line on a quick exit, and some place to bunker down and fight.

That's an understandable position, given the climate of sheer terror pumped out by the media on any given Sunday for the past fifty years.  The very best of us can hardly stand to see the headlines, and the worst of us fall prey to the mass hysteria that dominates a fear-based consumer culture.  We turn to God or Guns or Republicans, or all three.

The biggest cultural icons of my fear growing up were The Soviet Union and Reagan.  Both passed without the mushroom clouds and fallout laced rain of hellfire that more than a few of us lost sleep over during the 80s. In England, the sharp loss of life in the Falklands, a useless little sheep-infested outpost not worth the lives of an Englishman or an outraged Argentinian, burned out more than a few non-National Front righties and left a bad taste in the mouths of most mechanized modern nations.  The US invaded Grenada the next year to sort of prove that small islands could still be beaten into submission by artillery.  Still, the mood was off: Big Glowing War loomed and these tiny little island wars were no good, no good at all.

That age finally passed.  With the birth of grunge, we passed from Fear as Divine Nuclear Wind to Fear as Fashion, needing to get our angst and our cynical fuel from music and the creative culture instead of the military and government "official" sources.  News became nice.  The culture turned an eye to recycling and a renewed sense of responsibility.  We had a hope, however manufactured, that the world could change.

There's one of those periods for each generation, I'm pretty sure.  And I'm pretty sure we're about to enter than now for my nephew's generation.

Castro steps aside, and you and I know that this makes no real difference in the lives of that island nation.  Those who worship him will continue to do so despite reason, and those who do not, haven't for quite some time.  There may be a bit of an exhale when he dies, but for now the real change is in our perception, and not in the actual governance of a pointless piece of real estate.

So I'd want to ask my father at least: does this mean the world is saved?  The last of your Devils have been exorcised: we trade with the Red Chinese, the Russians are mob controlled, the commies have been relegated to Berkeley and library books that no-one reads.  The last figurehead in the old bad world is gone!  Does this mean anything?  Is Cuba free?  Can the world turn again?

And you and I know the answer.  It wakes up every morning with explosive vests filled with scrap metal and marbles going off in headline grabbing mediapathic blurs of gore and politically-charged religious violence.  It moves through the shouts of corruption and vote fraud that stole the last two elections here.  The New Fear has long since replaced the Old Fear, the dying embers of red communism.  The New Fear is as pervasive, as tentacle-laden, as ideological as the Old Fear.  The followers of fear have their new Castro in Bin Laden, in Bush, in the ravaged Earth.

Cuba bows.  Welcome, again, to the old new world order.

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Castro's Day Off. | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden)
Pfft, New Fear is retail pissant stuff by Rogerborg (4.00 / 2) #1 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 07:00:45 AM EST
We know this because our lectedrepzentivs have to keep reminding us to be afraid, whereas back in the day they had to remind us to unclench and keep breathing.  Paying attention to New Fear is about as sensible as fretting over the recent dramatic upswing in the number of people being raped to death by pet camels.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
Or the surge in teen suicides. by blixco (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 07:39:02 AM EST

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"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
Also, by blixco (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 07:51:42 AM EST
I have a feeling that the marketing of fear by politicians hasn't changed in the slightest.

I don't think you can definitively point to an area of history where, politically, fear wasn't being pushed.  At least in the states and most of Asia, there's never been a time where the overall tone was "everything will be OK" without the undercurrent of "because we're winning the war on $terror" or "because the $terrorists haven't beaten us yet" or the like.

The big difference today is volume.  Quantity.  A gigabyte of data every second, unfiltered, unpolished, and yeah it's cheaper.  Like most things made fast and loose, it is inelegant and often short lived, but it is quickly replaced by ten thousand more news stories, a handful of new enemies, and the world or medical, social, or astronomic disaster that can befall us any second now.

The passing of an icon of fear now means as little as any other one or zero.

Thus we've hunted down and staked out the main point I was making.  Huh.
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"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Weird for me to read this by spacejack (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 07:02:10 AM EST
As my dad saw Castro from the exact opposite point of view. "Those who would criticize Castro are teh Devil!"

I could re-write much of your post and just change a few words...

"He's getting older, and older (leftist) northerners tend to get pretty entrenched into Atheist Socialism, that form of Socialist that has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with Fear: fear of the religious, fear of capitalists, fear of conservatives, fear of Cheney's Blackwater troops and Bushitler."

Actually, come to think of it, once Bush steps down, the other half of the world can write a bunch of articles similar to these about Castro.

Indeed. by blixco (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 07:45:45 AM EST
Fear is funny that way.
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"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
And finally all those American refugees by MohammedNiyalSayeed (4.00 / 2) #16 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 08:22:50 AM EST

can return to their homeland and start selling cigars again.

I know a lot of people who have reactionary support leanings toward Castro, but the only people I know with legitimately strong feelings against the dude are Miami Cubans, and considering their situation, I can understand that. Particularly the darker Miami Cubans, whose tales of Cuba under Castro are not one of any semblance of equality of treatment, whether their "healthcare" is free or not.


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You can build the most elegant fountain in the world, but eventually a winged rat will be using it as a drinking bowl.
[ Parent ]
Cuba by codemonkey uk (4.00 / 3) #3 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 07:29:16 AM EST
Is the only country with sustainable development.  That is to say, it is improving the quality of life of it's citizens at a rate that can be supported by the environment indefinitely. 

Every other country in the world is either not developing (no improvement in quality of life), or is already, or is heading towards being unable to sustain the quality of life currently enjoyed by it's population. 

This is finding of a pretty large international survey done by a team of independent scientists, which I read about in New Scientist towards the end of last year.  I'm afraid I don't have an reference or URL at hand to back it up.

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.

Citation by codemonkey uk (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 07:34:40 AM EST
Here:
http://assets.panda.org/downloads/living_planet_report.pdf

A google search for "cuba sustainable development" gives pretty good results on this.

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.

[ Parent ]
Basically all that takes by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 05:12:07 PM EST
is a stone age economy and no population growth. Why am I not surprised it's happening in Cuba.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]
Did you read the report? by codemonkey uk (4.00 / 1) #23 Wed Feb 20, 2008 at 12:41:49 AM EST
Do you have any fucking clue what your talking about?

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.
[ Parent ]
Interesting. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 07:40:25 AM EST
I wonder if that will continue without Castro?
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"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
Cars grow on trees? by Rogerborg (4.00 / 2) #13 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 08:11:11 AM EST
If you define improved quality of life as having a surfeit of good food but no pot to cook it in, then civilisation peaked in the Nile delta around 5000 years ago, and it's been downhill since then.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
Your a funny man by codemonkey uk (4.00 / 1) #24 Wed Feb 20, 2008 at 12:45:18 AM EST
But you may well be onto something; I'd much rather have basic resources such as food and water than a fancy fucking car in which I can starve to death in comfort.

Sustainability is a real issue.  Go read up on Easter Island. 

--- Thad ---
Almost as Smart As you.

[ Parent ]
You presuppose I was being trite by Rogerborg (4.00 / 1) #25 Wed Feb 20, 2008 at 02:33:05 AM EST
Don't get me wrong, Cuba is an amazing model for recycling and self reliance, but without imports, they couldn't sustain a post-industrial level of existence.  Wake me up when they stop importing all of their fridges, lightbulbs and electricity generating technology from China.

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Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by vorheesleatherface (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 07:35:00 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by vorheesleatherface



The Fun is just starting. by vorheesleatherface (4.00 / 2) #6 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 07:36:51 AM EST
Just a little more fear mongering and then the Supreme Chancellor will dissolve the Senate and become Emperor. Then it'll be really exciting.




The Grenada Invasion was very useful by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #11 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 08:01:08 AM EST
Sort of a training exercise with live ammo. The US military learned quite a bit from it. Mainly how screwed up things were. Especially in the communications field. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, were all on different freqs. The US took more casualties from friendly fire than from enemy action.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

There are by blixco (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 08:09:55 AM EST
plenty of better ways to learn that sort of thing.  Maybe not as quick, but certainly less deadly.

"Your father died as an example of how screwed up the chain of command is" doesn't ring well.
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"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Some things are only learned the hard way. by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #15 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 08:22:29 AM EST
Learned. They may be experienced, but not learned from. But when the word gets around that the only way to direct fire is to pull out the AT&T calling card, dial the Pentagon, and have some guy there relay corrections to the ship just offshore, well, it's embarrassing. Then things get fixed..

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
I saw the title, missed the author, read the body, by BadDoggie (4.00 / 3) #14 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 08:11:31 AM EST
and thought to myself, "Military angle, bit of technical detail, smugness coefficient >0.53... Can't be him! Isn't ti_ supposed to be in his calc class now?"

woof.

OMG WE'RE FUCKED! -- duxup ?

[ Parent ]
The Brits learned a lot from the Falklands too by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #17 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 09:00:35 AM EST
Aluminium burns
A £20,000 missile can take out a £50 million destroyer
Don't put all your transport helicopters on one ship
WW2 era design torpedos work better than state of the art ones
Profesional armies beat the crap out of shivering conscript armies

[ Parent ]
Great essay. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #18 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 10:27:06 AM EST
I'll print it out and have it smuggled to his political prisoners. They'll appreciate your gesture.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Which gesture is that? by blixco (4.00 / 1) #19 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 10:40:56 AM EST
And, you don't have to smuggle things into Florida from the states, you know.
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"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
Two Things by zarathus (4.00 / 1) #20 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 10:53:44 AM EST
1)  I can envision the political embargo against Cuba being lifted only to be swiftly followed by an embargo motivated by health reasons since they're the premiere tobacco producing nation.  It would follow the current trend in anti-smoking legislation.

2)  There is some good news footage of the Falklands war in the opening sequence of the film "This is England (2006)." (NetFlix.)  The film follows the coming of age of a lad whose father died in the Falklands and his involvement with a gang of skinheads.

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Blogger - n. Someone with nothing to say writing for someone with nothing to do.

I really liked by blixco (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 11:03:55 AM EST
"This is England," since it covered a period of time and a class of people that I can identify with, since I knew a whole slew of sharps and skins back in the day, but they were in suburban hispanic punkville, and not lower-middle-class UKia.

Damn fine music in that film, too.

Plus I'd never really thought about the personal impact of the Falkland war.  I mean, even if the film is heavy handed about it, people really did die.

Which makes me think about Haiti, Kosovo, Bosnia, and a whole slew of places that involved US troops that we seems to randomly ignore.

Hrm.

I don't have a good, fully formed thought about war.  I can't get my head all the way around it.
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"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Castro's Day Off. | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden)