Over at one of my favorite blogs, Marginal Revolution, they draw a contrast between the strutting of a Red-capped Manakin vs that of Indian and Pakistani border closing displays. Silly walks vs. moon walks. Manakin vs. Manichaeism.
Before I laugh too hard at the silly walks, I need to consider how a border closing at Guantanamo would unfurl if we Cuban-Americans settled in Miami were given the chance to put on a similar display.
It would probably look like some birthday party at Crandon Park for someone who just hit on a Fantasy Five drawing. There would be a Benny Moret tribute act playing live alongside The 540’s, perfectly capturing our varied influences. Andy Garcia would be narrating a documentary in the background. Rumors about an appearance of our queen, Gloria Estefan, would circulate constantly. There should be an unarmed guard procession. Uniforms being white guayaberas and linen pants with the gold chain in the chest hair accessory look. Naturally, there should be a matching gold bracelet which would fit loosely just below the Metacarpal bone of the right [nothing on the left side ever again] wrist. A mock tribute booth to the supposed Cuban ‘New Man’ would be my contribution, ‘meet the New Man, same as the Old Man,’ with copyright apologies to The Who.
But seriously, how great is it that we get to move over fingers over a keyboard and mouse and get to see all this…. Granted it’s strutalicious, but what is it? Two thoughts come to mind. First Tom Wolfe’s advice to modern day novelists:
… they’ve wasted their careers by not engaging the life around them, by turning their backs on the rich material of an amazing country at a fabulous time in history. Instead of going out into the world, instead of plunging into the irresistibly lurid carnival of American life today in the here and now, instead of striding out with a Dionysian yea-saying, as Nietzsche would have put it, into the raw, raucous, lust-soaked rout that throbs with amped-up octophonic tympanum all around them, our old lions had withdrawn, retreated, shielding their eyes against the light, and turned inward to such subject matter as their own little crevice, i.e., the literary world.
The other is the Paul Harvey quote about what he thought his job was:
I don’t think of myself as a profound journalist. I think of myself as a professional parade watcher who can’t wait to get out of bed every morning and rush down to the Teletypes and pan for gold.