Castro, Baseball and the Thought Police

by JOHN ESKOW

What a pitiful spectacle.  Ozzie Guillen, the hard-partying eccentric who manages the Florida Marlins, sits weeping in the harsh glare of TV lights, forced by his bosses to recant his praise for Fidel Castro.  He’s already been punished with a five-game suspension, but the baseball thought-police won’t be placated until he does a literal “mea culpa.”

So, in his wonderfully mangled English, he begs forgiveness for saying “I love Fidel 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 fucker is still here.”  But what he really meant, he now says, is ever-so-subtly different: “Everybody in the world hates Fidel Castro, including myself.”

“Mea culpa…”

It’s like watching old newsreel footage of hayseed American POWs in Viet Nam being forced to denounce their “imperialist war-mongering masters.”

As the great Bill Hicks used to chant: “You are free, America, to do as we tell you!”

Moments after Guillen made his pro-Castro remarks, Miami exploded.  Metaphorically, of course—not like the commercial airliner that was actually blown out of the sky in 1976 by U.S.-supported anti-Castro terrorists, killing 73 men, women, and children—an act of unspeakable mass murder (much admired by Al-Qeada) whose masterminds were pardoned by George W. Bush.  One of these terrorists, Orlando Bosch, walks the streets of Miami today, openly gloating about his slaughter on international TV.

Oh, but it’s not Orlando Bosch, CIA-backed mass-murderer, who deserves our censure; it’s Ozzie Guillen, manager of the Florida Marlins.

And why?  Well, “you have to understand,” said a dim-witted Florida sportswriter named Dan LeBatard on ESPN yesterday—“Castro is our Hitler.”

“Our Hitler.”

Castro.

Not the real mini-Hitler he overthrew—Fulgencio Batista, who ran Cuba as a wonderland of torture and a whorehouse for rich Americans—but Castro.

And so, because he committed a Major League Thought-Crime by expressing a verboten opinion about “our Hitler,”  a baseball manager is ordered not only to apologize, but to lie about what he truly believes in order to keep his job.

“You are free, America, to do as we tell you!”

John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning. He can be reached at: johneskow@yahoo.com


Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
September 4-6, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Regime Change Refugees: On the Shores of Europe
Lawrence Ware
No Refuge: the Specter of White Supremacy Still Haunts Black America
Paul Street
Bi-Polar Disorder: Obama’s Bait-and-Switch Environmental Politics
Kali Akuno
Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era
Arun Gupta
Field Notes to Life During the Apocalypse
Steve Hendricks
Come Again? Second Thoughts on My Ashley Madison Affair
Paul Craig Roberts
Whither the Economy?
Ron Jacobs
Bernie Sanders’ Vision: As Myopic as Every Other Candidate or Not?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and Crisis
Jeffrey St. Clair
Arkansas Bloodsuckers: the Clintons, Prisoners and the Blood Trade
Richard W. Behan
Republican Fail, Advantage Sanders: the Indefensible Budget for Defense
Ted Rall
Call It By Its Name: Censorship
Susan Babbitt
“Swarms” Entering the UK? What We Can Still Learn About the Migrant Crisis From Che Guevara
Andrew Levine
Compassionate Conservatism: a Reconsideration and an Appreciation
John Wight
Adrift Without Sanctuary: a Sick and Twisted Morality
Binoy Kampmark
Sieges in an Age of Austerity: Monitoring Julian Assange
Colin Todhunter
Europe’s Refugee Crisis and the Depraved Morality of David Cameron
JP Sottile
Chinese Military Parade Freak-Out
Kathleen Wallace
The Child Has a Name, They All Do
David Rosen
Why So Few Riots?
Norm Kent
The Rent Boy Raid: Homeland Security Should Monitor Our Borders Not Our Bedrooms
Michael Welton
Canada’s Arrogant Autocrat: the Rogue Politics of Stephen Harper
Ramzy Baroud
Palestine’s Crisis of Leadership: Did Abbas Destroy Palestinian Democracy?
Jim Connolly
Sniping at the Sandernistas: Left Perfectionism in the Belly of the Beast
Pepe Escobar
Say Hello to China’s New Toys
Sylvia C. Frain
Tiny Guam, Huge US Marine Base Expansions
Pete Dolack
Turning National Parks into Corporate Profit Centers
Ann Garrison
Africa’s Problem From Hell: Samantha Power
Dan Glazebrook
British Home Secretary Theresa May: Savior or Slaughterer of Black People?
Christopher Brauchli
Poor, Poor, Pitiful Citigroup
Norman Pollack
Paradigm of a Fascist Mindset: Nicholas Burns on Iran
Barry Lando
Standing at the Bar of History: Could the i-Phone Really Have Prevented the Holocaust?
Linn Washington Jr.
Critics of BlackLivesMatter# Practice Defiant Denial
Roger Annis
Canada’s Web of Lies Over Syrian Refugee Crisis
Chris Zinda
Constitutional Crisis in the Heart of Dixie
Rannie Amiri
Everything Stinks: Beirut Protests and Garbage Politics
Graham Peebles
Criminalizing Refugees
Missy Comley Beattie
In Order To Breathe
James McEnteer
Blast From the Past in Buenos Aires
Patrick Higgins
A Response to the “Cruise Missile Left”
Tom H. Hastings
Too Broke to Pay Attention
Edward Leer
Love, Betrayal, and Donuts
Louis Proyect
Migrating Through Hell: Quemada-Diez’s “La Jaula de Oro”
Charles R. Larson
Class and Colonialism in British Cairo
David Yearsley
Michael Sarin: Drumming Like Summer Fireworks Over a Choppy Lake