Sunday, January 6, 2008

500th Post

This is the Review of Cuban-American Blogs' 500th post. I had not intended to mark this occasion in any special way. I am already preparing for our First Anniversary in March and did not wish to duplicate the content. However, in replying to a comment from Agustín in the previous thread, wherein he traced for the benefit of Anonymous the history of the RCAB — which he is certainly qualified to do having been a part of it from the beginning — I touched on many of the themes which I intended to expand upon later, and I decided that this exchange would do well for the 500th post.

agustín fariñas said:


I am inclined to believe that it may have been a typo by Henry. It can happen to anyone at anytime.

When Manuel is inspired, he can write wonderful pieces about Cuban History, poetry, World History and many other subjects of interest to all. Sometimes, in my humble opinion, he dedicates more time than I wished he did, or I think Babalú deserves, posting about their flukes.

But, after all, it's his Blog and his undeserved expulsion from Babalú after commenting critically on the Gloria Eschefan affair still is fresh on his mind.

With the passing of time, Babalú had to retract and revise their position on the Estefans and Manuel's was vindicated.

There is a certain amount of intellectual jealousy between the Babalú crowd and Manuel, because he seems to get the best of them when they face him in arguments.

But look for older posts where Babalú was not the topic, and you will find remarkable pieces well written and worth your time.
1/06/2008 8:08 AM

Manuel A. Tellechea said:


I believe that Henry's axion was something in the nature of an intellectual "short-circuit." He knew what he wanted to say but somehow between the thinking and the writing the wires got crossed and the trite observation which he meant to utter was transformed into something Nietzschean (over-the-top Nietzschean). He corrected his mistake attributing it to the fact that he wrote "too fast." I would credit that explanation but modify it somewhat to read: He thinks too slowly and writes too fast.

You are on point as to the history of my relations with Babalú. When Val booted me from Babalú for expressing much milder criticism of the Estefans than is allowed today, he surely did not know what the fallout would be. It dawned on him within 20 minutes of the expulsion, when he attempted, unsuccessfully, to take it back. It was too late, of course. It was not the expulsion that angered me per se but the disdain which it demonstrated when gratitude was what I deserved of him. It is no coincidence, either, that only a day before Val had invited me to write a post for Babalú and I had declined. In the past I had overlooked deletions of my comments and even of entire posts where they must have thought I had gotten the better of them. But the expulsion, even if it lasted only 20 minutes, was more than I was willing to ignore. That was the genesis of the Review of Cuban-American Blogs. If not for Val's presumption I should still be commenting on Babalú, and trying, as best I could, despite their dirty tricks, to reform it from within. But the expulsion catapulted me to do something which I had always resisted though it had been suggested to me one hundred times — start my own blog. I think that in many cases this was suggested just to get rid of me. Val's approach, however, proved a more effective catalyst. He got rid of me and still got more of me than he had ever feared.

What is done impulsively is often regretted at leisure. Val has certainly had much time to regret his precipitous act. If he considered matters rightly, however, he would see this blog as the greatest service that anyone has ever performed on behalf of Babalú. He recently published a thank-you note to his colleagues and readers. My name should have been at the head of the list because no one has done more to reform and revive Babalú over the last year than have I. Everything that I have suggested to them they have officiously implemented, and, more importantly, whatever I have identified as absurd or detrimental they have abandoned with as much alacrity as their pride would allow. Most significantly, Val has entrusted Babalú to a new crop of co-editors who think exactly as I do on all topics relating to Cuba. How does Val "combat" Tellechea? He multiplies the Tellecheas. This strategy raised Val somewhat in my estimation and the more that he keeps his silence at Babalú the higher shall my consideration for him grow.

I once listed all the posts I have devoted to Val and Henry and the other Babalunians at RCAB. Altogether they amounted to less than 50, which is not even 10 percent of the 500 posts I have written to date. Their impact was great but not their number. I don't believe that I have ever shown any malice to Val or Henry. When they have done something praiseworthy, I have praised them. Their errors of thought and action I have condemned vigorously while avoiding all ad hominem attacks. I know that making them appear like fools time and time again might be construed by some as personal animus, but it is not. I have merely endeavored, like Goya, to present their true likeness. I was motivated to start this blog by my desire to make Babalú reflect its stated ideals and become less of an embarrassment to the Cuban exile community. In this I have largely succeeded. I must decide now whether I have succeeded enough.

Charting another year of Babalú's follies is not something that I relish. Nothing would please me more than to be able to devote this blog to the historical essays which you and a few others appreciate. The majority of RCAB's readers, including the entire Babalunian contingent, prefer my critiques of Val and Henry. I must find some accommodation that will please both. But all these are matters to consider in March.


Anonymous said...

you are an amazing writer. Do you write in Spanish also? Also, it is none of my business,(of course) but it seems to me that Val really, really hurt your feelings. I could actually envision a reconciliation between both of you because I believe both of you have the same ultimate goals.

Maybe, I'm being polyannish but I see hope. The other two at Babalu, not so much.

It is ironic that you two would have parted ways over the Estefan fiasco and later commenters on Babalu were allowed to pile-on on Gloria and co. without reprisal.

Regardless, keep writing.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Val is all about "feelings." I am not. What Val did to me was transitory and would have been forgotten by all had I let it be forgotten. My response was sustained and consistant and will not soon be forgotten by anyone. I am reliably informed that no day passes by without someone mentioning my name to Val. This, even more than anything I write, has him in a constant state of vexation. I also wonder why he has never sued for peace. His pride, I suppose.

I have also noted that since he booted me from Babalú he has been more reluctant to abuse, threaten or ban others. So, in that sense also, I have returned civility to Babalú.

Rene M. Grave de Peralta said...

I've just spent more than three hours reading older posts on this blog. I only discovered it a few days ago and just wanted to say it is a joy to me. I hope it grows and grows. Thanks for doing it, I know it's not easy.

Vana said...

Congratulations Manuel on your 500th post! keep amusing us and telling it like it is, to the Babalunians chagrin, may I add I also enjoy your posts about Cuba, and the lessons you teach us, I've learned a lot from you.

Mamey said...

The problem with the Tres Mosqueteros is that they usually try to invalidate others' opinions and when challenged back resort to infantile tantrums. There's been some improvement in Babaluland, but of course they've shut out plenty of critics (not just loony fidelistas, but also many of us who long for a truly free and independent Cuba). In other words, the flogging should continue, please. As to Manuel's morsels covering other topics, the more the better.

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