'Tis that time of year again when Val Prieto's fancy turns to thoughts of Fidel Castro's death, real or imaginary. Even now Babalu's Founding Editor and sometime bellman is furiously pulling at the ropes and soon there shall peel out a now-familiar knell announcing the glorious news of Fidel's death, again. If this were a sincere impulse on his part motivated by a genuine if uncontrollable urge to hurry the Grim Reaper along on his ineludible task, we might excuse or even applaud Val's enthusiasm. But we all know this instinct is strictly mercenary and manifests itself at periodic intervals, not spontaneously, but when it will do Babalú the most good. Ironically, though the rumor of Fidel's death has circulated more than any rumor in history, it still manages to gain traction every time it is trotted out. Val doesn't mind exploiting the hoary rumor even if it raises Bababú's stats at the expense of its diminishing credibility.
The last time Val killed Castro, back in August of last year, Babalú received 50,000 hits in one day and almost as many the next, which signifies a spike of 1000-2000 percent. The fallout from the hoax that time, when Babalú joined forces with PerezHilton to disseminate the bogus news, was the most severe to date and should have taught him a lesson. The patience and humor of most readers had long been exhausted. They didn't relish in the least being made fools of again, having their expectations raised for the expressed purpose of dashing them. Fidel's death is not merely an occasion for celebration. The joy is far from undiluted. At best, it is a mixed joy: the murderer will no longer kill, but he leaves a mountain of corpses in his wake which his minions will raise higher in his name before the house of horrors that he built crumbles in a heap to form his monument.
Val has perfected a way of insinuating Castro's death before announcing his hunch as a fact. Today we saw the first unequivocal step in that direction ("... And Then Something Went *POOF*... "). If precedent holds, Val will announce Fidel's death on Friday. Gusano was bold enough to poke fun at Babalú's weaver of tales while insinuating that the reason the regime has felt no compunction lately to prove that Castro is alive is because Val has not questioned it. The sycophants flatter Val even when they mock him. Perhaps they enjoy the spectacle of his self-humiliation. We would enjoy it, too, except that it plays with people's rawest emotions and plunges them into even greater despair by feeding false hopes to them when hope is all they have left to cling to.
The rumormongers do not profit as much as Castro does by their work. Such premature burials and untimely resurrections only contribute to the myth of Castro's invulnerability and reinforce the notion that he has cheated death too as he has all who have opposed him. The only thing that can prop Castro now is to represent him as dead. As a living man, he is all but finished. As a dead man, however, he is surprisingly spry and communicative.
I wonder sometimes if Fidel is Babalú's messiah because he keeps dying for their sins.
Also of interest:
Is Fidel Castro Dead? Babalú Again Has the (Wrong) Answer
The Pot Calls the Kettle Prieto