Monday, February 28, 2005

Your cool, seductive serenade, was a tool of your trade

Dan Gardner, the Ottawa Citizen's premiere contributor unable to utter one unkind word about Americans if he can think of ten or twenty, has an unabashedly ridiculous piece in this week's Sunday Weekly section on "the other side of paradise" in Cuba. Ahah; an admission from a reliably appalling columnist concerning the AIDS concentration camps or the slums that communist dictatorship-abetting Canadian tourists never see? Of course not. It's a one-sided, fiery condemnation of the American presence at Guantanamo. It's a long article, but suffice to say, it's long on sneering suspicion of American motives, and unsurprisingly ambivalent-to-bullish on the goodwill and integrity of Fidel Castro. (He has a nickname! He likes baseball! Why, he must be an okay guy after all, no matter what those Americans say!) The only admission that Cuba itself might not be the paradise it's popularly assumed to be is a brief aside: In 1994, when Castro allowed thousands of rafters to set sail from Cuba, another 33,000 refugees were gathered up and dropped at the base. And that, such as it is, is only mentioned in service of pissily thundering that the terms of the lease on Guantanamo Bay itself don't technically allow the land to be used for refugee camps. The capper, however, is the cover art: ...Yeah. (Yes, I know the author likely had nothing to do with the choice of art. That only means it's an endemic institutional bias, extending as far as the art department and/or the Weekly editor, which is far worse than a random loon.) I've never been a fan of Gardner's work. I found his extended series in an extremist-libertarian vein arguing for laxer drug laws naive, the one condemning any but the most permissive, Scandinavian model of criminal justice and punishment downright foolish, and the occasional one-offs about the GWoT ignorant. But this, well...this lowers my opinion of him yet again, and I hadn't thought it could sink much lower.


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