To all the girls I've loved before/
Who've travelled in and out my abattoir...
Holy head shot, Batman. I. Just. Don't. Get. It.
That Castro charisma, that is.
At 80, the dictator is wrinkled, unkempt, and looking increasingly goofy in his uniforms. Not to mention sporting hair in all the usual places octogenarians grow it. In fact, the man looks like nothing so much as a Stalinist yard gnome gone to seed.
But somehow, just being in the presence of the Latino Ceaucescu makes certain people all warm and swoony, leading to an instant collision of the brain pan with the large intestine.
I stumbled across another of the all-around emitter of Latin Heat and hirsute tyrant about town's Yankee leftie conquests, and an unlikely one at that. Fast Eddie swept Indigo Girls singer and lesbian activist Amy Ray off her feet in a whirlwind quickie back in March 1999. [Link here--scroll down to 3/29/99 entry.] Talk about your classic Chasing Amy scenario...
Alas, thinking Marxist Ray reveals herself as the very definition of an idiot in her entry, useful and otherwise:
Last night I met Fidel Castro. After the show, we were bussed over to the presidential palace. The bus was crowded and some were complaining of having to stand and it taking so long. We are so spoiled.
We were led into the palace and our bags were left at the counter. The security was very unintimidating.
"What's that? A 'Potemkin Village'? That's one of those tacky new McMansion subs in Chevy Chase, right? Yeah, I hate those, too."
I love how the "Question Authority"/"Think Globally, Act Locally" brigades fail to stress anything resembling a brain neuron at crunch time.
Too often, when faced with the sins of their heroes, they shrug and start sounding like the Japanese girls in Live at Budokan.
Exactly like them, as we shall shortly see.
The artist [sic] were set aside to meet him first-which seemed fitting somehow for this country.
I suppose it's "fitting." Especially in light of the fact you didn't have any Daughters of the NKVD auxilliaries with you. Those girls--and Oliver Stone--get to jump the queue, even ahead of people with some discernable talent.
We approached Castro one at a time and got to spend a minute of one-on-one time with him. I was visibly shaking and my eyes teared up as I introduced myself.
Didn't I didn't I didn't I see you cryin'...
I know that this man has participated in his share of violence in the name of the revolution, but his ideals (a "man of the people") seemed to overshadow the reality of war-this I have to ponder. I feel the same way about Che-a man who was dedicated to fighting the brutalities of imperialism but who also got lost in his own machismo and violence. The Zapatistas seem to be the purest movement that I have been exposed to. I think of Ingrid Washinawatok who recently was kidnapped and killed in Colombia, South America, and one reason to meet Fidel is in her memory. But how disillusioning that a women [sic] who fought for the people and sympathized with the Marxist vision would herself be killed by leftist guerrillas. This is the mix up of war. Giacomo decided not to meet Fidel because he had been touched too closely by his wars. Fidel funded the left-wing guerrilla movement in Guatemala and the U.S. government funded the corrupt right-wing Guatemalan government army. So many people were caught up in the middle. I told Fidel that I appreciated what he stands for and that I would go home with a bigger heart, then I kissed his hand...hmmm...I don't know what got into me, and I don't even remember his response. He had a peaceful demeanor and struck me as an old spirit who had been through a lot and sometimes may have lost his way. He was very otherworldly yet human.
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However, the good news is that I have been able to reconstruct the dictator's response. To paraphrase the immortal line from Anchorman, he expressed his appreciation through the medium of song:
Mother told me, yes she told me/
I'd meet girls like you/
She also told me stay away/
You'll never know what you'll catch/
Just the other day I heard/
Of a soldier's falling off/
Some Indonesian junk/
That's going 'round/
Mommy's all right, Daddy's all right/
They just seem a little weird/
But don't give yourself away
Very soulful, el commandante is.
Perhaps I shouldn't pick on Ms. Ray so much. After all, she joins such diverse luminaries as Stone, Dorothy Day and Bishop Thomas Gumbleton in their unreserved adulation for Fidelismo. Still, only the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell's groupie-hood is more cringe-inducing. Campbell's public celebrations of Castro always suggest a chucking-her-panties-at-Tom-Jones-moment is imminent.
Nevermind that pile of corpses and chain of gulags, of course. Not to mention that by being apologists for Castro, they are trashing the principles they claim to champion.
For example: why does Ray has such love for a man whose treatment of homosexuals is...shall we say, less than warmly affirming? According to The Black Book of Communism(1), (p. 656) Castro's tyranny has imprisoned homosexuals for simply being homosexual, has a record of forced therapy, and has staged public denunciations of and "confessions" by gay university professors.
Mustn't think of that, though. Pay no attention to the bearded man behind the iron curtain.
Unless a good Marxist just has to suck it up. Something on the order of "you can't make a utopia without breaking some gays"--perhaps that's it?
A mystery indeed.Footnote:
(1) I know, I know--quoting from a product of the right-wing hate press, the France-Harvard axis of lies.