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.”
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.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.