Wednesday, May 23, 2007

About Ana Menendez(Part 1)

Before I get back to posting about the Cuba Puzzle, allow me to comment on the May 16th Ana Menendez column. I seem a bit late in doing so, but, to my astonishment, Ninoska Perez-Castellon yesterday briefly condemned Menendez again on her radio show. She must be having nightmares.

In past Menendez columns I saw her writing as drawing close to undue provocation. I see it mainly due to her liberal use of negative adjectives and ad hominems wrapped in wit. In her May 16th column, Menendez uses "right wing lunatics" and "mighty Miami Cuban Mafia" to describe a segment of the Miami Cuban-American community with whom she is obviously frustrated with (the feeling is mutual). Both "lunatic" and "mafia" have drawn the most criticism (as expected I'm sure), but notice that both words are followed by the sentence: "I miss them already." Welcome to Ana Menendez's world of satire, filled with irony and sarcasm. In fact, its the same format used by Humberto Fontova, Cuban exiles favorite columnist.

Well, the same day the Menendez column came out, so did the backlash. By noon, the BabaluBlog had come out with two posts: a curt reply by Val Prieto and a long denouncement by Henry Gomez, and Ninoska Perez-Castellon, on her 3pm radio show on Radio Mambi, made sure to let Menendez know that she had crossed the line. Perez-Castellon fiendishly articulated that "Ana Menendez, at the time of refilling her printing cartridges, must pinch her liver and fill it with bile."[MP3] As always, Perez-Castellon then went on to describe Menendez's insult to Cuban-Americans as if someone had insulted the Jewish community. She loves that analogy. Obviously, Perez-Castellon doesn't understand that NO ONE should be insulted, and that all insults have the same effect regardless of ethnicity or race. Later that day, further condemnation came from Robert at 26th Parallel, saying that he was about to ignore Menendez's comments, but couldn't help it.

So, did Ana Menendez insult anyone with her column? She may have. But, if you consider the climate in Miami when it comes to debating Cuba, neither side is purely innocent. Not even me. Let's examine this climate.

The following day (May 17th) Rick, over at Stuck on the Palmetto, made an important observation. The word mafia, a shameful description used by the Cuban government to describe a network of some Cuban exile organizations, has been used by some Cuban-Americans to describe themselves. There's an obvious pun in this context, but the same paradoxical phenomenon occurs with African-Americans and the N-word. Its a cultural appropriation of a nasty word in order to minimize its negative intention.

Nevertheless, would this allow Ana Menendez (who is Cuban-American) to use it? I guess it depends.

[Part 2]

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