Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Fine Cuisine

We’re not making our usual summer trip to what my children and I consider our paradise, St Barths. Not being able to swim those blue green waters and see many good friends is a real downer, but our schedules just didn’t work out this year. With the Caribbean on my mind, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by a new option, a place touted as having great food: Guantanamo. You think I must be kidding, but why would I do that especially reflecting on words I heard yesterday on C-Span from the hallowed floor of the Congress. Challenged by a continued call for investigation of reported abuses of prisoners detained in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan, Administration apologists lashed out with the usual charges that critics were undermining our troops and the war on terrorism, clearly Un-American if not seditious behavior. That said, the only words in defense of the practices at these prisons was, yes, the very excellent food served there, comparable to any nice restaurant across America. Which American would that be? As the kids say, whatever. The point is that it all boils down to Cuisine, the very same thing that so distinguishes St Barths from most other places. Is it any wonder that I started thinking a Cuban vacation? Blue green waters and fine food.

Of course the protectors of our country’s fine reputation don’t simply talk about food these days. When they are not telling us that we’ve yet again turned the corner with those pesky insurgents (100% imported terrorists of course), they are building a case to destroy what they call the Bill Moyers Public Broadcasting Network – that insidious tool of Lyndon (the great left winger) Johnson’s Great Society. There is a method to their approach, just claim a "truth" often enough and, presto, it is or at the very least everyone will believe that to be the case. That Karl Rove, there he goes again with his unique approach to politics and governance (indistinguishable from one another). When the President’s diving poll numbers were reported last week, the White House announced that they were planning to do a better job of talking up their positions. I guess if social security is ranked by only 14% of respondents as an urgent problem, PR is what’s needed. Oh, did I mention they had great food at Gitmo?

What continues to be so interesting is how disciplined these people are about message, all repeating the same themes as if original (and God forbid independent thoughts) were possible. I wonder who writes these lock step scripts? I wonder what’s on the menu tonight down there, what we’re all missing? Should Jean George be worried? Will putting some their recipes on air save Jaques Pépins' controversial left wing PBS cooking shows? Oh life is full of questions these days. The only good thing about it, thinking of those falling polls, is that more Americans may be beginning to ask some questions of their own – those classically un-American questions like, “what the hell are we doing?” Do they realize how great the cuisine is at Guantanamo?

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