Saturday, August 11, 2007

Discussion of Oscar Corral Affaire Banned at Babalú Blog

He said it on several occasions and I have no problem believing him: Oscar Corral's arrest on a charge of solicitation awakened in Val Prieto much fellow feeling, as if it had been him, not Oscar, who had fallen from grace.

Yes, in the beginning, Val was giddy with excitement and was even accused by some in the blogosphere of indulging in schadenfreude. There is some evidence for this. He placed a transcontinental call to Henry Gómez in the wee hours of the morning to tell him of Oscar Corral's arrest as if it had been Fidel who had been caught fellating Satan. Lumbersome Henry, then in San Francisco for a New Age advertising convention, later would regret not taking the call, because it deprived him of 5 extra hours of gloating. But Val, who is afraid of dead chickens and coconuts, was chastened by the word "schadenfreude." You can be sure candles were lit and mirrors covered in the Prieto household at the mention of the word.

As we all know, Val is awed by big words, but big words that are also ominous send him into a panic. In a cloud of Florida Water, Val began chastising commenters on his blog for being too critical of Corral. First, Val confessed himself to be "certainly not elated" by Oscar's bad luck; then he reminded his readers that he (Oscar, that is) was "innocent until proven guilty" (Val is always the first to invoke the déclassé cliché). Finally, on this week's Babalú [Faux] Radio Hour, Val admitted that he "felt bad for the guy," which is the highest expression of sympathy in Val's vocabulary. Val was feeling Oscar's pain — on what level we won't speculate — which outraged the less sensible Henry and George, who had milked Oscar's misfortune for all it was worth. Henry had not only been the first to raise the pertinent question about the gender of Corral's prostitute, but had even asked — sarcastically, he says — if the police hadn't been "tracking a serial killer that preyed on prostitutes in that part of Miami a few years back." The fact that he's not too proud to kick a man when he's down is something we've always liked about Henry. Yes, he's evil, monstrous even, as shown in his penchant for returning children to Castro's Cuba, but he is not a hypocrite when it comes to his enemies, and he knows which enemies he should engage and which enemies he should avoid engaging. Our minimalist-brained Val, who cites Shakespeare from quotations he finds in calendars, has no such inhibitions.

Finally, Val, whose fellow feeling for Oscar was growing apace with others' condemnation, decided to end discussion of Oscar's troubles in Babalunia. He did not issue a formal bull, as he had done in March, outlawing criticism of the Estefans upon threat of excommunication. Strange, but Val doesn't do that anymore. Did he learn blog etiquette in the meantime? Who knows? Still, he does throw out pointers, and those who are attuned to his soundwaves (besides dogs and mice) get his meaning.

When asombra, Babalu's most articulate commenter, tried to bring up the subject again and even likened Oscar to Bill Clinton (which is worse than insulting someone's mother at Babalú), Val had had enough. He replied with a good line that he must have stolen from someone: "Can't we talk about Global Warming? The earth has a fever, you know." The literalminded took this comment at face value and, in George Moneo's case, as a cue to write a post about the fallacy of global warming. The rest realized that Val did not want any further discussion of Oscar's self-inflicted wounds and the discussion, accordingly, stopped. Or, rather, moved to Herald Watch, Henry's blog, where there is no fear of schadenfreude.


Another explanation for Val's about-face vis-a-vis Oscar Corral is that he received a call from the editor of The Miami Herald, Anders Gyllenhaal, or even Corral himself, humbled and grovelling, who revealed to him some "secret information" to which the rest of us are not privy and won't be made privy, but which convinced Val that a great miscarriage of justice was being committed against Oscar. In other words, it's deja vu all over again: the identical situation which turned Val into a fanatical defender of the Estefans, except that this time it was the editor of the MSM citadel in Miami calling him and promising to "do" lunch, or any other local luminary whose power and money our fawning and grasping Val stands in awe of. There is no balm more soothing to Val's gossamer ego than to have more successful men grovel at his feet. If that were an antidote against failure, Val would be a successful man, too.

Of course, we know what the conclusion to this story will be; we've seen this picture before. Val will be betrayed in his expectations, and, having served his purpose, discarded. Then, four months later, to be exact, Val will call Corral or whomever a "traitor" and resume his former antagonism to the Estefans, oh, I mean, Corral.


And, of course, a third explanation for Val's sudden embrace of Oscar Corral would be — me. Because I make no distinction between Val Prieto and Oscar Corral, and attack one for his hostility towards Cuba and the other for his ignorance about it — which may, in the end, do more harm than Corral's hostility — Val tends to regard Corral with something like comradery, because he believes, as all small minds do, that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Val's anti-Castroism, poorly expressed but sincere, should incline him towards my position; but his hatred for me, which blinds his judgment and confounds his ends, pushes him to defend and empathize with Corral. And this impulse, which Val knows to be a dangerous one, Val does not indulge fully for fear of alienating others, but he indulges it enough.

I, of course, do not allow Val to dictate to me what I should think. All the Babalunians who have had the opportunity to correspond privately with me, and there have been many who have initiated such dialogues, ostensibly on behalf of Val and perhaps even at his urging, have always been amazed by my own lack of malice towards Val & Henry, which seems to them all the more humane and generous because they are acquainted with their visceral hate for me; and they have left convinced that I am neither the instigator nor perpetuator of this feud, but, rather, the reasonable upholder of the truth in a contest with those who have little or no respect for it.


Vana said...

So he's feeling sorry for Corral?
wonder if Corral would do the same for him, if it was Val who fell from grace, or maybe they are friends, I dunno

Anonymous said...

are you implying that Val is into santeria?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Actually, you are implying it.

Anonymous said...

you brought up candles, chickens, etc? What does that mean? I'm just curious (I have no dog in this fight)

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Val claims that his enemies leave dead chickens and coconuts on his lawn. He cites it, in fact, as one of the trials he has had to endure as an anti-Castro blogger. These would, typically, be associated with santería. As for candles, of course, they are an ancient religious symbol dating back to ancient times and still important to the Catholic and Jewish religions.

Anonymous said...

ok, now I get it.