The Cult of the Amateur

In the soporific news of the month, the painfully boring discussions of whether Fiorina was a good CEO keep raging on.

The point of these debates eludes me entirely. Let’s say she was the best CEO known to humanity. So what? How would that make her more qualified to perform an entirely different set of duties?

By participating in the debates as to whether Fiorina was a good CEO or Carson a good doctor, we are allowing the congenitally stupid among our compatriots to define the terms of discussion and colonize the public space. We are letting the most lost and confused among us have an impact that they do not deserve to have.

The problem with Fiorina, Trump and Carson is not how well or how badly they performed in their professions. The problem is that, politically, they are rank, arrogant amateurs who can only appeal to those who are too intellectually limited to understand the complexities of the modern world.

Remember, the moment you let somebody else define the terms of the conversation, you are halfway down the road to losing.

The Adventures of the Russians in Syria

Russians have now installed surface-to-air missiles in Syria and brought over combat aircraft armed with air-to-air missiles.

“But this is all to battle ISIS, right?” John Kerry begged. “This is all about you helping us to defeat ISIS, right? Please, tell me it’s all about ISIS. Pretty please, somebody?”

Of course, it is painfully obvious to everybody that one can’t fight ISIS with surface-to-air missiles. It is also painfully obvious to everybody whom one can fight in Syria with combat aircraft  and surface-to-air missiles. Hope springs eternal, though, and the White House keeps clinging on to the belief that if you shut your eyes really tight, unpleasant, scary things will disappear.

Professional Relatives

Few things disgust me more than professional relatives, people who, in the absence of any achievements of their own, milk the fame of a relative for unearned respect.  Here is one such creature:

Aleida Guevara, Che Guevara’s daughter and the director of the Studies Center named after her father, has criticized the call from the authorities for Cubans to attend the Masses that will take place during Pope Francis’s visit to Cuba.

It is undeniable that the Catholic Church sucks, the Pope sucks, and greeting the Pope in Cuba is one big joke. This message, however, should be delivered by anybody but this woman who has turned the title of “Che Guevara’s daughter” into a source of profit, attention, and adulation.

I will never forget how this horrible, nasty creature praised the Cuban medical care system in Michael Moore’s movie. I was shocked by the shamelessness of this white woman who was coddled and spoiled rotten by the party while the overwhelmingly black population of the island was abused and pushed around by the so-called doctors in dirty, smelly barns called hospitals and was forced to sell their bodies to Western tourists in return for a life-saving asthma inhaler or a vial of insulin. (I saw these people and talked with them, so arguing with me about this makes no sense.)

I’m sure Che Guevara – who, with all his faults, was an earnest believer in the revolution – would have little cause to celebrate if he saw how fat his daughter grew, sucking out the blood of the Cuban people and making grand pronouncements in his name.

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That's not what the people of Cuba look like, both in terms of girth and in terms of color

It’s easy for Aleida Guevara to criticize the miserable, debased Cubans for whom God is the only hope in their sad, hopeless lives. Aleida’s god is the party that allows her to run a nifty little business of deriving profit from the memory of a father who, when he was alive, didn’t give a crap about her. Of course, she doesn’t need any other sort of divine intervention. The Cubans who don’t have famous dead relatives they could peddle, though, really do.