About Kesher Talk

  • "Kesher" means "connection" in Hebrew. The banner image is the mosaic floor of a 6th c. synagogue in Jericho, showing a menorah flanked by a shofar and lulav; the inscription reads "Shalom Al Yisrael." (This synagogue was destroyed by Arab vandals a few years ago. The condition of the mosaic floor is unknown.)
  • Contributors:
  • Judith Weiss
  • Van Wallach

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September 15, 2010

"Live From New York, It's Fidel Castro!"

The news that Cuba will lay off 500,000 state workers and enable more private-market opportunities shows that the revolutionary fervor, even when cheered on by American elites, cannot forever withstand economic reality. The Catholic Church had said in a report quoted in the Wall Street Journal that Cuba faced social and economic disaster – although that disaster happened decades ago and is now just a matter of degrees.

Fidel Castro should move quickly and capitalize (to turn a phrase) on the moves and show Cubans how a good capitalist acts. The now-retired Castro could make a great living by writing a book, hitting the talk-show circuit and cashing in on his bloody, revolutionary fame. The slavish attention paid to his every move by the mainstream media shows he should cash in now on his image and phrase-making to supplement his no-doubt modest state pension in Cuba.

Think about it: Saturday Night Live could kick off its new season with a blockbuster show combining two ancient, crowd-pleasing troupers: “Live From New York, It’s Betty White and Fidel Castro!” They could play Ricky and Luci in a skit and she could interrogate him when he comes home late – the comic possibilities are endless. Fidel could take over Weekend Update.

The timing would be perfect to coincide with the baseball playoffs. Fidel could throw out the first ball of the World Series, showing off his formidable baseball skills. I’m pretty sure he could zing one over the plate and, who knows, that could be the start of starting or moving a franchise to Havana, a perfect place for a team in a baseball-obsessed nation.

During the winter months, Castro could don his olive fatigues and start working the fundraiser circuit around the Upper West Side, Hollywood and other liberal haunts where his bloody history counts as no negative. For, say, $50,000, he could mix and mingle at your party and guarantee a crush of attendees eager to meet a real revolutionary. And the stories he could tell about his friends and adventures – Che, Granma, Nikita, Bay of Pigs, executions, expropriations, Meyer Lansky, Angola, the Mariel Boatlift (take that, Uncle Sam!).

The exciting turn to capitalism, however grudgingly, could also make Fidel a hit on the business-conference circuit. Forget the unwashed masses – the business class could find Fidel a surprising ally in its efforts to fight regulation and government growth. If he could learn to keep his presentations down to under three hours and brush up on his PowerPoint skills, Fidel would find audience eager to hear about his inspirational tales of new love for privatization and public-sector layoffs (no White House sleepovers with that message!). Think of him as a bolshevik Jack Welch or Tony Robbins.

Finally, let’s talk branding and merchandising. From the military gear to the cigars to the beard, Fidel projects a carefully tended, world-class identity. The name alone puts him in the same one-name league as Madonna, Clint, Brangelina, Barack. He’s always been hot image-wise, and now he’s really grabbed the world stage. Finally, he has a chance to get the merchandising sizzle that Che Guevara always held with images, books and photography (too bad about Che’s little run-in with the CIA in Bolivia in 1967; as the song goes, que sera sera).

Castro could hire the best of the best to package his fashionista sense in a line called “Siempre Fidel,” complete with clothes, revolutionary artwork and cigars. Heck, why not a video game about the Cuban Revolution? Action games are always popular, and nobody tops Fidel as a first-person shooter.

Van | 09/15/10 at 10:13 PM | Categories: - Useful idiots

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