For the last 3 days, the leading post on Babalú blog has been Ziva's homage to Val Prieto on reaching and surpassing the 2-million visitor mark on Friday. She praises Val in the most exaggerated terms which makes her sincerely-intended accolades sound contrived and overreaching, like the slogans that the smiling cadres carried in Stalin's May Day Parades:
• THE HEART AND SOUL OF BABALÚ IS OUR EDITOR, VAL PRIETO.
• VAL, YOU ARE BABALÚ.
• IT IS YOUR BEAUTIFUL WRITING THAT NOT ONLY INFORMS, BUT ALSO GIVES US, YOUR READERS, THE GIFT OF EXPERIENCE.
• WHEN YOU WRITE OF YOUR ANGER AND HEARTBREAK OVER THE LATEST NEWS IN CUBA, WE TOO BOW OUR HEADS AND WEEP.
• IT IS YOU, VAL, AND YOUR GIFT OF SHARING YOURSELF THROUGH YOUR WRITING THAT IS BABALÚ.
Really, if I weren't laughing, I would be weeping, too. But it is physiologically impossible to do both at the same time, and my first instinct is to laugh.
Readers have also been penning their own tributes to Babalú's founder. Fifteen by last count. Yes, 15 individuals out more than 2,000,000 and many of these associated in one way or another with Babalú. Not even one of the 100,000 that took Val's bait last week about Castro's death bothered to thank Val for having misled him. One, in particular, even took Val to task for it. Before all the Babalunians fall upon the dissident voice and brand him an ingrate and traitor for striking a note of discord in the weekend-long Prieto lovefest, or Val himself, feeling greatly wounded exercises his prerogative of re-writing the record by banishing the critic from his blog, I think I'll copy and save the dissident's remarks before they vanish into the ether leaving nary a trace:
I am a first time blogger, long time reader of Babalu. Generally, the postings I have so far read on this site have been excellent. However, this particular posting commemorating the reaching of the 2 million hits milestone, achieved to a great extent by erroneously reporting the death of Fidel Castro is, to say the least, in very bad taste. Yes, it is a significant milestone for any blog to get 2 million hits and you have every right to celebrate. Pero coño, handing out kudos to the boys at the same time Babalu is suffering from a major credibility slump is a little too much. How about an apology? That should be your next posting boys and girls.
Yes, indeed. It would show character. It would show the willingness to learn from past mistakes. It would show humility. It would show honesty.
Which is why it will never happen.
Just as I predicted, Ziva trashes the infidel:
TVdude, you can take your insults somewhere else. Unlike some bloggers who brag a lot about who visits their blogs but keep their site meters private, ours is open for inspection. So feel free to take a look, and you will see that we were close to the two million well before recent events. In fact, the post I wrote commemorating our milestone was written weeks ago and has nothing to do with Friday's post. So take a hike asshole and your way out you can kiss our collective Cuban asses. — TVDude
Another reader comes to TVDude's defense:
I agree with Tvdude.
I guess that makes me an a-hole.
Far be it from me to give you guys advice since I am entering Val and companies house here at babalu, but I can't imagine me and Tvdude are the only ones that find this out of line. At the very least you guys should have held off on patting each on the back after what happened on Friday.
Just my two cents on this. My intention is not to offend, just to give my opinion. — Angel Rodríguez
Henry Gómez continues the pile on, or perhaps we should just say "piles" since it's from that scatological perspective that the Babalunians argue:
The idea that the rumors of castro's death were started by Babalu as a ploy to drive readership is ridiculous and anybody that makes that accusation is an asshole. First of all the rumors having flying around since Nuevo Accion reported a sudden decline in castro's health about 3 weeks ago. Last weekend Perez Hilton reported on his widely read blog that fidel had died and this week even Drudge got in it. It's not our fault that castro's health is Cuban "state secret". If you don't like the postings here, or how we happened to cross 2 million, then do yourself a favor and get lost. And don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. — Henry Gómez
No, Henry. It's not your fault that the state of Castro's health is a state secret. It is your fault, though, if you exploit that fact to raise people's expectations with false reports of Castro's death which, intentionally or not, garner you 100,000 visitors over a 24-hour period when Babalú's average is 2-3 percent of that number. If you compare yourselves to Perez Hilton, a self-avowed and unapologetic purveyor of gossip, then don't expect to be accorded more credibility than he is. If your "victory" seems less than pristine, it is because you yourselves have clouded the waters.