Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Two Things that Threaten to Destroy Babalú Sooner Than Later

No Open Discussion: Val and the senior Babalú editors micromanage every aspect of Babalú. They are not content merely to post their opinions and have their readers react to them. They feel the urge to manipulate the comment threads so that they reflect the opinions stated in the posts. A great deal of time and effort is spent tailoring other people's opinions to match their own. This is done by banning pro forma anyone who expresses an opinion contrary to theirs, or simply deleting the opinion if they feel munificent that day, with an accompanying rebuke threatening future expulsion. For a time they even doled out "suspensions" to its commenters for sundry offenses such as not being sufficiently obeisant to its editors, which is certainly understandable from the manner in which they are treated.

When, for whatever reason, a thread managed to "get away from them" and they lost control over its content, their solution was to delete the post and offending thread, that is, flush it down the memory hole. This happened only last week to Henry Gómez's "Squashing the Losers" post and its accompanying thread, where Henry tried to justify Killcastro's recent outing by Val Prieto on his own blog. Except that even Babalú's approved commenters would have none of it and challenged Henry continually on it till he said "No Más" and made the thread, and, he hoped, the controversy disappear. That post (which I have saved) was significant because in it Henry revealed in exasperation what many had long suspected: No. 1 and No. 2 not only must approve the opinions of commenters before these are inserted in Babalú, but also the posts of its contributing editors, who have only so much independence as Val & Henry choose to grant them.

The end result of all this cutting and trimming was to create a perfectly predictable blog, where everybody marched in lockstep, both posters and commenters. This is what George Moneo described, perhaps sarcastically, as "Babalú's magnificent cadres." Only yesterday, Babalú's new ideologist, rsnlk, wrote what could be called the "Babalú Creed" which codified, sanctified, enshrined all these practices into a "philosophy of conformity" that owes much to George Orwell's 1984 and to every Communist, Fascist or National Socialist programme ever devised to degrade the dignity of man and magnify the importance of the State. A Babalú contributing writer, the only professional journalist on its staff, dissented with the official ideology, as we desperately hoped against hope that someone would. It was a discussion that only Val Prieto felt safe to join. The discussion ended abruptly and without resolution. The thread has a kind of stunted appearance which suggests that others may have tried to join in the discussion but were turned away. I suppose that it is out of respect for Marc Másferrer, whose focus on political prisoners is the most laudable thing about Babalú, that his remarks have not been deleted, though don't exactly hold your breath. They have now proclaimed it: there is no room at Babalú for non-conformists. If Val's instincts are right, he has very few of those on staff.

Let us hope that Val is wrong about Babalu's contributing writers and that at least some of them will join Marc's protest. My message to the other 15 contributing writers: An audience of 2000-3000 readers a day, or even an audience of 100 million, is not worth selling you conscience and integrity for. The only culpable slaves are those who wear their chains as a talisman.

No Transparency: There has never been any transparency at Babalú. Personal revelations by its editor-in-chief, yes. Plenty of those, from Val's various ailments, depressions and even questions of personal toilet (i.e. shaving his legs) to his continuing "This New House" series dedicated to the Prieto manse, his other work in progress. But none of that is transparency, rather, it is curtain which Val's hangs to conceal the absolute lack of candor or forthrightness on Babalú. A prime example of this was disappearance -- indeed, the airbrushing -- of George Moneo, which remains to be explained by George the good soldier or anybody else at Babalú. Everybody is used to the banning of commenters at Babalú; it is the reason there are virtually none left there. But the banning of a contributing editor, with seniority over everybody except the blog owner, requires an explanation that was never proferred. It's part of their "not airing dirty linen" policy. But, of course, sometimes it is necessary to wash and air the dirty laundry. Keeping it stacked up in a smelly pile is not the answer. Light and air is.

Hopefully, Val will realize this before it's too late or the other Babalú contributors who have approved or tolerated his actions in the past will finally call him to task for sabotaging in a thousand ways their project and compromising their own integrity in the process of destroying his.

33 comments:

Ms Calabaza said...

Amen. . . not only that, but Babalu has become boring. Everyone seems to agree with everyone . . . kinda like the "Stepford-Babalu".

I used to look forward to discussion in the commentary but within the last year and a half there is no discussion. I have never cursed out or gotten personal with anyone there; I simply enjoy discussion and debate, yet when I post I am deleted. I suspect this is mainly Henry but I could be wrong. The last time I tried to post was Henry's caricature of the man stepping on the "losers" article. He did not let me post and then the whole article was deleted.

Sadly, there are a lot of good people writing there and I really don't think they are aware of the problem.

So, after all this time fighting censorship in Cuba we institute it here too . . . dandy!

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

Mat, this is by far your best masterpiece. More specificially when you wrote:

1) A great deal of time and effort is spent tailoring other people's opinions to match their own.

2) No. 1 and No. 2 not only must approve the opinions of commenters before these are inserted in Babalú, but also the posts of its contributing editors, who have only so much independence as Val & Henry choose to grant them.

3) The end result of all this cutting and trimming was to create a perfectly predictable blog, where everybody marched in lockstep, both posters and commenters

4) devised to degrade the dignity of man and magnify the importance of the State.

5) They have now proclaimed it: there is no room at Babalú for non-conformists

6) A prime example of this was disappearance -- indeed, the airbrushing -- of George Moneo




Seriously folks, both Val and Henry's words, deeds, and actions are one of proud communist. After carefully reading Mat's accurate and pinpoint analysis of the repression that they conduct daily. I dont see how one came come away thinking otherwise. Even the mysterious "disappearance" of George, a ranking cabinet member of Babulu. Is something straight out of Fidel's playbook. As was the outing of KC.


Great job Mat, you truly have outdone yourself this morning!!

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

ms. calabaza,

Henry even more than Val detest free speech. Henry is the one who abhors freedom of thought, ideas and expression. Henry is the one who roams from blog to blog demanding that others moderate their comments. Even sabatoging the free-speech blogs until strict moderation is foisted upon the masses. Henry Gomez is indeed an arch-enemy of free speech.

Ms Calabaza said...

John,
that's my thought. The change in Babalu has come since Henry has become more and more involved. I have noticed his comments on other blogs and I agree, he wants to control even others blogs. Val, on the other hand seems to have lost the interest he had when he started. Just go back to the archives and you will see Val's postings and his lost passion. Now, he's into remodeling and letting Henry run Babalu to the ground.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

ms. calabaza:

"Stepford-Babalú" is a classic coinage and really says it all. And, of course, you are right also that many of their contributing writers are largely oblivious about what is really going on at Babalú, although I suspect that even for them it's a case of "hear no evil, see no evil." Self-delusion is not innocence.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

John:

When you used to call Val & Co. "communists" many sneered at you because they did not understand what you meant. Of course, you didn't mean that they were card-carrying members of the CPUSA, but, rather, that they had adopted many of their methods and practices, particularly in regards to constricting free expression.

You may have been, in fact, the first person to say this. Whatever else you may have said then that was wrong, this was manifestly right.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

ms. calabaza:

You are right again.

The current Val was not the Val who started Babalú 5 years ago. If he had been this egotistical and obnoxious then neither you nor I would have had anything to do with Babalú,, nor do I believe anybody else would have.

In the beginning, as you recall, there was no censorship at Babalú. Nor bannings. Val then was grateful for every commenter. He even engaged fidelistas in civil debate. The Val who now attaches the word "humble" to his name at every opportunity was then actually humble (the thing itself and not the label).

I think, in retrospect, however, that Val would have become what he is today even without Henry, although Henry is, undoubtedly, the real culprit in Babalú's destruction. Everything that is objectionable and undemocratic at Babalú can be traced directly to him. Everything.

And, yes, he has wrested control of the blog from Val and now calls the shots. Val, as you say and as he even admits, is tired and written out. He is grateful to have Henry because without him he couldn't continue his blog.

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

re: Readers


And Henry will indeed run Babulu into the ground. As Henry has publicly stated many times, that "his" blog is where people come to read what "he" has to say. That a free exchange of ideas and solutions for a free Cuba are not tolerated in Babulu.


Now with the outing of KC, it evident that Henry's goal is not one of a free Cuba. Rather, it is one of self-enhancement via Babulu. A blog which is really nothing more than an alter. An alter, where readers come to worship at the feet of the all knowing one, i.e., Henry.


It is ashame that the Cuban blogisphere has allowed these self-centered men to hijack a horrible situation in Cuba. And to make the Cuban tragedy about their own selfish needs and wants, like Val's kitchen, or Henry's squashing of another Cuban blogger!!


With all the bright and talented Cuban-Americans that live in America. It is a wonder how this hijacking was allowed to happen. But then again, Cuban history is replete with hijackings, selfishness, and indifference. Henry and Val just mask what they are. But they are indeed Fidel's children, nothing more, nothing less!!

Ms Calabaza said...

Something is not kosher: Either they don't really get 2000-3000 hits daily or they are deleting a heck of a lot of comments. It does not make sense to have post after post with almost no comments.

Granted, Henry's comments are dull, but still his 5-part investigation into old Miami Herald Tropic Magazine articles . . . oh wait, that was VERY dull. . . never mind.

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

Look, most of the comments are ghost-posted by Val and Henry. When Val speaks about being tired. He is no doubt talking about being tired of ghost-posting.
I also suspect that many of their contributors are also fictitous as well.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

ms. calabaza:

It was a 9-part investigation into the predictions of "Nostradumus" Dorschner in the defunct Tropic magazine 20 years ago.

This is how Scientology got started. Maybe "Nostradamus" Dorschner is the new L. Ron Hubbard and Henry is the new Tom Cruise.

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

John:

I don't think any of the contributors are fictitious, though some have not been heard from in months if not years. Maybe these were the first "dissenters."

Ms Calabaza said...

9-part, huh?
like I said . . . dull.

I am lucky enough to be semi-retired but I wonder when this young man works at his job? He seems to spend his day blogging or visiting other blogs? He must think this will bring him some name recognition or monetary gain or is he that much of an ego-maniac, me wonders? You're right, I can see the similarity with Scientology and Tom Cruise. They too, believe in controlling information at all costs.

Ana said...

I am quite disappointed in rslnk (who, by the way, is not called a coward by the writers of Babalu for being anonymous-- I wonder why).
He/she writes well, but the conformity manifesto was too much for me. I will hope that the 90 miles blog will not adhere to the manifesto so that I can go THERE and enjoy the writing.
As for Babalu, my previous attraction-repulsion to the blog has disappeared and I prefer not to waste my time.

Awhile ago, Henry did an "interview" with Joe Garcia. He sounded like a female cat in heat. I thought to myself: why am I listening to this crap? Henry is an embarrassment to Cuban Americans everywhere.

Ms Calabaza said...

Ana,
rslnk is one of my favorite of the new writers at Babalu. I think she fell into a trap when she posted that article because she did not realize the undercurrent at Babalu. She clearly had no idea how fed up people are with Val's "woe is me" and Henry's "listen to me" diatribes.

As I stated earlier, I don't think that these contributors are aware of a lot that is going on at Babalu. First, they are busy with their own lives and their own blogs and secondly, they are not part of the decisions made by Val and Henry. An example of this was when Henry foolishly posted his caricature post and the KillCastro incident was uncovered. You could tell commenters had no idea what was going on. Immediately, Henry deleted the whole post.

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

ms calabaza said: I am lucky enough to be semi-retired but I wonder when this young man works at his job?



Yes, and "Henry" is supposedly married, and a father of a newborn infant. I ask you what wife who just bore a child would tolerate Henry's negligence towards his newborn child.


It doesnt add up!!

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

ms. calabaz, with all due respect. It sounds as if you are excusing the contributors indifference. If i allowed a blog to utilize my "real" name as some apparently do. Then i would make damn sure that it was not attached to individuals like Henry and Val who were going around "outing" other Cuban bloggers for the benefit of a communist police force!!

Ms Calabaza said...

John,

you may be right. I'll bet I'm older than you and I've learned over the years to be a bit more measured. I really like to give people the benefit of the doubt but if they continue to ignore what is happening at Babalu then I will have to change my mind about them.

John,
by the way, Henry has twins.

Vana said...

The people Val and Henry want commenting at Babalunia have to be robots, robots that cannot think for themselves, but must be programmed to agree with everything Val and Henry write, Val's favorite comment is: Thanks for all you do Val, he eats it all up.

Anonymous said...

Henry has going to have produce more than just pictures of his children to convice people that he is a father. Like John said, "things are not adding up."

Ms Calabaza said...

Vana,
you're right, he really eats up the brown-nosing. I guess that's why you and I don't get to comment there. Oh well . .

Vana said...

ms calabaza:

Yes he loves it, Val wishes all his readers would fall to their knees and adore him, I give praise only where is due.

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

Im just glad that nobody is bringing up the widely-spreaded rumors of their homosexuality.

Anonymous said...

Ana: It's not just Henry that is an embarrassment to Cuban Americans. Val and a few other followers with horsey blinders are all a huge embarrassment. And what can be said about others in Boboluland trying to change the subject with rants about Bush's war in Iraq? Madre mia!

Mamey

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Ms. Calabaza:

Congratulations are due to you, too, my dear Ms. Calabaza, for joining the select club of "The Banned of Babalú." You should have mentioned this before. Nevertheless, it is never too late to include you in the "Anti-Babalú Hall of Fame."

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

John:

No, apparently nobody is mentioning that right now.

Ms Calabaza said...

MaT,

never have I been more honored!

Anonymous said...

What is the story about Moneo? Does anybody have any theories?

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

Anon said: Ana: It's not just Henry that is an embarrassment to Cuban Americans. Val and a few other followers with horsey blinders are all a huge embarrassment.



Val and Henry are much more dangerous than just being a huge embarrassment to the Cuban community.

They make non-Cubans resentful, bitter, and in some cases just downright racist. Consequently what happens is that other more thoughtful and reasonable Cubans come along, and clean up the mess that they created. Showing that the Vals and the Henrys are not representative of the Cuban community as the loudly profess to be.


Trust me, i know of what i speak!!

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

Anon asked: What is the story about Moneo? Does anybody have any theories?



I thought i read that he had actually came back to Babulu. Nevertheless, it appears that Val and/or Henry had the "goods" on George. And made him go flee to the witness protection program, never to be heard from ever again.

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

MAT,

Ok, help me understand something. Val struts in and threatens KC and his blog. A blog that does not give that much airtime to Val or Henry.

But yet, Val does not dare set foot in here to threaten you or your blog. A blog that gives substantial airtime to Val and Henry's antics.

Why the disparity in treatment?

Manuel A.Tellechea said...

John:

Because they know that this is my good side and they don't want to get on my bad.

john longfellow aka lou dobbs said...

lol