Henry: I think that one of the things about this whole thing that tell us that we are doing well is how many enemies we make.
George: I think events of the last week bear that out and I think it's very flattering.
Henry: Not just people that might be, you know...
George interrupts with canned recording: "DON'T GET STUCK ON STUPID."
Henry: ... not just them but other people, too, when they start doing blogs writing about you, and they start analyzing everything you write that must mean that we are getting up there.
George: Well, some people... Those who can do, and those who can't decide to create review blogs.
Henry: Yeah, correct, correct. That's the way it is.
The Babalú Radio Hour #14, June 8, 2007
Transcribing this was hell, I will not deny it, and yet it is likely to be all that remains for posterity of this hideous exercise in so-called "blog radio," which, more accurately, should be called an extended party line, for it is not likely to reach many more listeners than the old party lines did, despite Henry's frenzied avowals earlier about The Babalú Radio Hour's increasing audience. From 17 to 23 is an increase but it won't ever chart on Albitron.
So why bother to even answer the little miscreants' attack on us on their make-believe radio show? Well, for one thing, I never leave any attack unanswered, and, for another, attacks like this do not diminish us but only serve to illustrate the stupidity of those whom it has been our unfortunate duty to expose as mountebanks time and time again.
If ever any man was unfit for radio, even blog radio, it is Henry Gómez. Henry is a much better writer than he is a speaker, and as a speaker he could not be worse. George Moneo did not exaggerate when he called this exercise "an hour of our ranting." He meant, of course, Henry's ranting, but I do not think that anyone, even Henry, could have failed to make the right attribution. Every week it's the same: Val & Henry sitting before a mirror, unbosoming themselves of all their puerilities and undigested facts, in a self-indulgent and -congratulatory haze, providing to each privileged listener in their most select audience a higher quotient of insecurity and hubris than even Larry King does, whose shtick has to be spread rather thin to cover his millions of lobotomized listeners.
In this 14th edition of The Babalú Radio Hour, George Moneo substituted for Val, which is always an interesting diversion. Moneo has presence and command of himself, which neither Val nor Henry do, but he sets his intellectual clock in sinc with his confreres', pleasing them rather than his listeners being his object. George is the smart kid who knows that he has to play the dolt in order to fit in with the other boys and having played the part so long it has become internalized, so that he has in effect become what he wanted to be. In any case, whoever Henry is partnered with on the broadcast, it is always better than listening to him solo (does anyone remember the catastrophic "Cuban-American Pundits' Hour" which preceeded The Babalú Radio Hour?)
George, in particular, exercises a powerful restraint on Henry, literally shocking him from time to time with the blog radio equivalent of a cattle prod. Does wonders for Henry's equilibrium and jump starts him when he gets stuck on a word (which is often). The "cattle prod" is a recording that blurts out a cocky "DON'T GET STUCK ON STUPID" at appropriate intervals (which could be every interval). It would be refreshing to be able to note that Henry himself had invented this device to quicken his prodding intellect. A man who knows his limitations is half way there to conquering them (and will probably stay halfway there forever).
I am glad that Henry feels self-important because of my criticism of Babalú. It really is the best spirit in which he could take it, that is, the least personally abrasive. Supposedly the fact that I point out all his foibles empowerers him, and it is my sincere hope that it might. So long as he profits from my advice I don't care a fig if he preens himself upon being the recipient of it. He is indeed fortunate so to be. Let him extract all the validation that he can from it.
Flattered that I take cognizance of him, Henry is loathe to mention me by name, or even in such narrow details as would indicate who I was without naming me. George feels no such compulsion, as he is infinitely more full of himself than is Henry. He cuts in on Henry's ecstasy about "other blogs writing about [him], analyzing everything [he] writes" — which to Henry indicates that [he] is "getting up there" in the world — with a remark that does George no credit, and, I believe, is meant more to take down Henry than me: "Those who can do, and those who can't decide to create review blogs." This from a man who delivers himself of a brief post every two or three weeks which usually has nothing at all to do with Cuba. Yes, George, those who can do, and those who can't should really try learning Spanish. If Henry can speak it (even atrociously) why can't you? It is not necessary to speak Spanish to feel Cuban, but you definitely do lose something. Aren't there some Berlitz records in your monumental collection?
There are some good writers at Babalú and even some good thinkers, especially now that the rolls have been opened. Hopefully they will have the good sense at some point to ask Antonio Rafael de la Cova, a great writer, thinker, historian and proven patriot, to become a collaborator. I don't think that I ever did a greater service to Babalú, not even by creating this blog, than when I forwarded Tony's e-mail address to Val years ago and asked him to get in contact with him. (I had hoped then that Val would pick up history by osmosis since he refuses to read books).