There he sits rapped in deep meditation, Rodin's "Thinker" as interpreted by Botero. Yes, externally, it may seem that Val Prieto has a blank expression on his face, as if in the culminating hour of his life, he had been transported to another world more fantastical even than the scene that is being played out before his vacant eyes. Perhaps he was transported to his native Bayamo and the tree that is emblematic of it in his childhood memories. Or, perhaps, he's wondering why nobody has refilled his glass of water. Or why this couldn't have happened two years ago when he was 100 lbs thinner. Or that it would be nice to be able to cross his legs like the president.
What is important, however, is that he is not living in the moment, which is unfortunate for him because Val will not pass this way again; and more unfortunate still for the Cuban people, whom this somnolent genius pretends to represent. Any other Cuban blogger or just plain Cuban, even one who doesn't speak a word of English, would struggle to make himself understood even if that meant playing charades with the president (Bush would like that) or setting a chair on fire to make smoke signals (or, better yet, Theodore Roosevelt's "Rough Rider" painting). But Val sits there impassively, caught up in himself, tongue-tied and mind a-wondering, as if he had stumbled unto the set of an Oliver Stone movie and was portraying the director's idea of a cloddish, brutish hardliner, capable of speaking only one word to power: "Jes."
Note, finally, the writing tablet in front of Val, which is as blank as his expression. The gentleman to his left, in a saffron robe, [Burma's Maung Maung Win] is busy scribbling away. Even if he's there only to provide color (and hence seated closest to the president) at least he wishes to report what transpired at the meeting accurately to his readers. The "island on the net" and the greater island that Val purports to represent do not even merit this consideration. This Nero won't even doodle while Rome burns.
For the last 48 hours Val Prieto has been trying to remember what transpired at the Bloggers' Summit in order to put together 100 words of narrative. Whether this is because he got ripped at the after party, as Henry suggested on the Babalú [Faux] Radio Hour, or he is still seasick from his trip on the Greyhound bus, as an anonymous commenter suggested in the previous thread, I do not know or care. But I would be lying if I said I wasn't anxiously awaiting the opportunity to annotate and deconstruct his report from the Bloggers' Summit. I think he knows that, too, which may explain his hesitation in writing it. The Bloggers' Summit is no longer front page news (it never was). But if Val waits much longer his account may have to appear in a chapter in his future Autobiography, I Met George W. Bush.