". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Thursday, January 24, 2019

I Am Not An Expert But I Am A Privileged White Male, So Watch Me Bloviate Anyway Because, You Know, White Man = Expert

     . . . .Too long, don't read this rant following ☭  ☭  : but Kristof made me do it.

Imagine oneself Cuban, reading Nicholas Kristof's latest excrescence in the NY Times. The colonial, imperialist, white supremacist mindset permeates him, and he doesn't even know it. He actually thinks he's being nice and progressive about Cuba.

This is why the United States (and England too) is a lurching, dysfunctional, chaotic, violent monster of gigantic destruction to itself and everything else. 

"I'm Not An Expert (nor does he even speak Spanish) BUT Listen to ME!!!!!!!! Tell Everybody All About Cuba." Bloviates Nicolas Kristof: 

"....It’s simply a tired little country ..."
This, right at the top of his blowharding in the prestigious New York Times, reveals Kristof's profound ignorance of what is going on in Cuba -- he's never have written that if he went dancing Cubans, of any and all ages, or listened to Cubans making music, or spent time with them getting up every day to dress their kids as nicely as possible, figure out how to solve yet more shortage or invent yet another work-around, exchange tech expertise for pay, providing goods and services, doing a cattle round-up, make chocolate -- organic chocolate on organic, diversified beautiful farms, by hand, as well as raising, organically, the other two crops that naturally occur together, coffee and coconuts, as well as poultry, pigs, cattle, horses -- and, further run by a consortium of women, of all ages and colors, who love their machetes -- they give their machetes names -- and use them with great expertise -- and they don't look in the least like a cliche of what a farm woman or agriculture worker looks like.

If Kristof had any meaningful contact with Cuba beyond a service situation he would NEVER have called Cuba "a tired little country." Cubans have more energy than anybody in the USA, other than immigrants like the Haitians, and certainly a lot more than anybody currently in the White House or trying to be POTUS. 

It's not merely an ignorant observation, it's insulting, in the way one would expect from a privileged, comfortable old white guy who isn't an expert but is gonna tell people anyway -- even when the people he's telling know profoundly more about it than he does. 

"Let’s make room for nuance: Cuba impoverishes its citizens and denies them political rights, but it does a good job providing basic education and keeping people healthy. As I noted in my last column, on Cuba’s health care system, Cuba’s official infant mortality rate is lower than America’s (its real rate may or may not be).
I’m not a Cuba expert, but ... "
However, Kristof is a privileged white male in very comfortable circumstances so he's gonna tell the USA what is what about what he doesn't know anything about, and all will read  his awesome brilliance and be in awe of of his awesomeness who went to Havana that one time -- and he shall be well paid. Don't bother looking out for somebody who does know and could tell us what we might want or even need to know. And who speaks Spanish.

Moreover, Kristof proves to have never met a cliche he won't seize on without thinking about it or investigating what is behind the cliche -- one that everybody invokes who is not an expert either, the cliche that everybody includes in every repetitive same-samey piece they all write about the subject of Cuba. (Who will bet against me that when Kristof writes or talks about New Orleans, he uses the dreaded hoary 'gumbo' cliche?) 

"Plus, extra credit goes to a country that so lovingly preserves old American cars. I rode in from the airport in a pink 1954 Cadillac."
He has no idea that this pink Cadillac's body (all the rest of it was pillaged to get something else running for a little while) has rusted for decades without an engine, but is now running because the state fairly recently imported a large number of diesel fuel burning engines that those with these useless cars rushed to install in order to drive around ignorant old white guys who boast of riding in a pink Cadillac and further pollute beautiful Havana. It wasn't lovingly preserved, but created, with parts and paint the owner somehow managed to wangle recently from outside of Cuba.

People visiting their Cuban friends and family commonly bring in shock absorbers, fuel pumps and all sorts of parts even for vehicles much more recently manufactured than a 1954 pink Cadillac, such as Toyotas.  But he doesn't know that  Why?  If he'd asked, you know, he would have known. Responsible journalism, hello?

The following is the most infuriating bit, the most insulting bit. Kristof literally cannot imagine Cuba and Cubans existing in any way in the future except as in its previous relationship to the US when the US corporations and the mafia owned the whole damned island -- as a servant class to rich white old white Americans. Caregivers. Servants. Cooks, Cleaners. Gads, this is disgusting. He hasn't met any of the dynamic, innovative Cuban professionals. Just for one example of what he can't imagine is just at the end of this last year, a Hollywood production team came to Havana where they met with all sorts of agencies and people who work in television and film there. The Hollywood people were agreeably impressed with their knowledge, experience, record and creativity. But great economics white US guy can't think that there could be fine investment opportunity in film and tv production facilities in Cuba.  Nope. Cubans must clean up the vomit and shyte of tourists and elderly retired people. Who are rich, white USians.

".... Some American seniors who now winter in Florida could become snowbirds in Cuba instead, relying on its health care, low prices, great beaches and cheap labor. You can hire a home health care aide for a month in Havana for the cost of one for a day in Florida...."

Cheap labor yay! That's what we can do with Cuba!  

Additionally this will help keep immigrants out who traditionally are supposed to be doing this work since we'll be outsourcing to Cuba our rich elderly family without the voting crisis of letting in to the USA people, who aren't, you know, white -- people, who work harder than privileged white men like Kristof can begin to imagine, to improve their families' futures and become US citizens -- and voters! which is the ruling class of the USA's worst nightmare. Total win-win for us, YAY!

You know Cubans are not thrilled about returning to their historic status as servant class to clean up the incontinent messes of rich old white guys of the USA. Additionally, they are already doing this for the elderly members of their families -- who live with them, not in retirement homes, where US prosperous ilks foist off the care for their elderly upon immigrants and others they assume are too stupid to do anything else, and should be GRATEFUL for this really low-paying, really difficult and exhausting work, while facing imprisonment and deportation any old time. But he, as an old white guy of privilege, demonstrates he literally cannot think of Cubans as deserving or capable of being anything more than  'servant' and providing 'service.' 

Has he noticed how much of the island's population is not white? Who does he think made the Cuban Revolution? Who does he think the Revolution served? Does he believe they have put up with everything the Cubans have had to put up with throughout their history and struggled to overcome throughout their history in order to -- raise their kids for the opportunity of cleaning his white bottom when he's old and drooling? What does he know about the great Cuban Revolutionary leaders such as Lt. General José Antonio de la Caridad Maceo y Grajales in Cuba's history of fighting for the abolition of slavery and independence, and the position of the US in those struggles? Clue, here:

The US was NOT in favor of the abolition of slavery in Cuba -- and opposed over the 19th century to various of Cuba's struggles for independence from Spain, because independent from Spain, Cuba would abolish slavery -- so the USA intervened with its big stick.  Can't have free black people by golly. Our slaves would run away to Cuba instead of us being able to sell our overpopulation of slaves to Cuba where the sugar industry would kill them in 10 years -- very profitable for us, that, yessirree bob! 

In the meantime, while Kristof mourns that the orange nazi (and the mummies of Florida like Rubio) want to roll back the baseball players deal, he hasn't noticed that the orange nazi and his mafia have sold Cuba to Putin and his mafia. The Russians are everywhere in Cuba again, providing building materials, industrial products from elevators to tractors, while the Russian oligarchs anchor their yachts in Cuba's Caribbean ports. Orange nazi feels right at home with yachts of course (or does he get seasick?) while giving not a ripe fart for baseball. 

My gawd, everything clown Kistof did not notice, that was right in front of his face, but he didn't see, blissing out on pink Cadillacs and cheap servants. 

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