I like Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. He’s an old school manager a la Billy Martin — hard-drinking, profane with a high baseball IQ. Politically, he’s not what you’d call bright.
The fracas started over the weekend, when Time magazine published an interview on its website in which the Marlins skipper said he “loved” Castro. “I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [expletive] is still here.”
I’d argue that Ozzie wasn’t praising Castro’s policies, just his tenacity (of course it’s easy to be tenacious when you’re a brutal dictator). If I ran the world I wouldn’t fire Guillen because I think intent matters when it comes to controversies like these.
Unfortunately, most people disagree. Particularly, Miami’s Cuban community, many of whom live in Little Havana, site of the Marlins’ shiny new ballpark. They aren’t forgiving of Castro’s useful idiots, and with good reason.
They also make up a significant portion of the Marlins fan base. The team will pay dearly for Guillen’s remarks.
Imagine if you said something that alienated a large part of your company’s clientele. Would you keep your job?
It’s not a First Amendment issue — Guillen has the right to say whatever he wants. And businesses have the right to fire people who fuck with their bottom line.
It’s an imperfect reality, but consider the alternative. In Cuba Guillen would be exiled, tortured — maybe even killed.
Words matter, sometimes more than they should.
The Guardian’s Neil Clark is a last-minute entrant for Useful Idiot of the Year:
No one questions that Havel, who went to prison twice, was a brave man who had the courage to stand up for his views. Yet the question which needs to be asked is whether his political campaigning made his country, and the world, a better place.
Havel’s anti-communist critique contained little if any acknowledgement of the positive achievements of the regimes of eastern Europe in the fields of employment, welfare provision, education and women’s rights. Or the fact that communism, for all its faults, was still a system which put the economic needs of the majority first.
I’ll never understand artists who suck up to Communists.
[Pianist] Lang [Liang] played a Chinese household song called “My Motherland” at the function to welcome President Hu Jintao. It was the theme music of a 1956 movie named Shangganling Battle, which depicted the fighting of Chinese troops against US troops during the Korean War (1950-53).
A lyric in the song goes, “If the jackals come, we will greet them with guns.”
Lang denied any hidden intentions behind the choice, saying on his Facebook account Tuesday that “it has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. It was selected for no other reason but for the beauty of its melody. I am, first and foremost, an artist. As such, I play music to bring people together.”
“America and China are my two homes. … I couldn’t be who I am today without those two countries,” he added. “My mission is to bridge cultures through the beauty and inspiration of music.”
So I guess he’ll play the Battle Hymn of the Republic next time the U.S. president visits Beijing.
Artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, on a Twitter posting, simply laughed off Lang Lang’s explanation. He wrote “Not political?” — and then dismissed the suggestion with an unprintable expletive.
It appears they have a new recruit. No surprise, as Scientologists and the Marxist left both kneel to collective delusion. Could Sean Penn be next?
And it seems nowhere in Latin America is safe — during this rundown of all the fancy new ‘orgs’ the church has built and occupied Miscavige mentions that Bolivian president Evo Morales sent an ambassador to collect some beginning Scientology materials on his behalf.
More about Scientology’s plan to take over the world here.
See “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” from director Milos Forman’s POV: