When a minister of culture has to concern himself with the trivialities of commercial art or its substitutes, that minister obscenely carries a gun under his incivil pants: phallic cannon to the left of his national fly.
Such is the case for quite unpresentable Abel Prieto in Cuba, minister of culture whose resignation (according to horrifying rumors from our intellectual flock) never granted by the senior management of the country, and who is now forced to censure a ridiculous reggaeton, who knows if under pressure from the political police, given the obvious impact of this kind among the population of the island and, especially, given the vertiginous explosion of a capital free of ideological-paternalistic control of the state, just in times of pica-cake from the national treasury facing a future of the Castro regime without Castros.
The victim is not Osmani Garcia (The Voice) or his incredible hit Chupi-Chupi, the most professional of all his video clips. The victim is the humiliated minister who humiliates an almost free-lance contest on Cuban television: the Grammy-loving Lucas Awards, which in turn have had to humiliate thousands of votes received in the Popularity Contest by text message. The victim is a fledgling cellular democracy and also, of course, a captive audience forced to swallow now not the lactic lyric of this and other reggaeton, but the Marxist-Goebbels-like rhetoric of a PhD in Art called to the race by the newspaper Granma and the so many timid ones of an expert who knows that his salary is paid by a cross-dressing censor: in the red ink corner, the evil academic witch; in the blue ink corner, the critic of good films.
In this chain of repression of repressors, we are all complicit in crimes against culturalism. Cuba silent. The local churches and those of the exile will be giving thanks at their prudish altars for the government of Havana’s war of against what they call with impotent piety “relativism of values” and “sexual permissiveness”: The Voice is the voice of Satan, as evidenced by the small eyes of demonic desires burning in his previous video clip, The Little Tongue.
The opposition (in the worst cases, inspired by Calvinist-Christian) handled this episode despotic episode badly, but not daring to defend the hedonistic poly-orgasmia that has already shifted from any outbreak of historical responsibility, just in time for the Transition (like the bearded peasants half a century ago, our dissidence can not dance). And, the guild of reggaeton artists and the new rich associated with this still underground industry, have learned a good lesson in local currency: nothing about collecting signatures in solidarity, nothing about boycotting the Lucas Award or other state spaces, no questions about which of them will be ousted next (if anything, they will rush to tattoo in dollars a Comandante who breaks balls: Baby Lords as a visionary). Curtain.
And in the midst of such mixed silence, the bottle thrown at the Evil One with the letter that Osmani Garcia could hardly write, his basic allegation against the ministerial monopoly of culture in Cuba. This text only crystallizes our drama as a nation so mummified by institutions, not by decrepitude much less decapitations. A mixture of clucking chauvinism with the naiveté of the outraged, Osmani Garcia lies from the truth of his kidnapped success, and does so as the little pioneer reclaiming a blot on his record of standing against the blackboard, eluding any trace of politicization that he commits to in perpetuity (certainly including this column).
However, The Voice functions 1959 times better than our whole cultural camp, doing himself proud like a Don Quixote of the Hips against a killing machine that he tragically ignored (but a member of the Apparatus he is not). Although, to be honest, I prefer his lyrics in Havana-Cabrera-Infante-esque slang, these little rhymes that boldly provoke us, perhaps from the post-pop prick-sellers of a Stanley Kubrick of mechanical dictatorships of the mind.
When the regaettonesque tom-tom of the bombs start to fall on this totaliridiculous Havana that doesn’t even leave space for a citizen to think or to prostitute themselves, we will remember then that it is possible to rule a country like an encampment but not like a concentration camp, that illustrated injustice is the worst extra-judicial crime, and that with Chupi-Chupi we are throwing away our penultimate opportunity to see the milk run, and not the blood.
November 28 2011