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Ozzie’s Guillen’s Motorpsycho Nightmare

Apr 9, 2012, 8:23 AM EDT

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There’s a Bob Dylan song called “Motorpsycho Nightmare” in which the narrator finds himself in a sticky situation with a crazy farmer’s daughter. To get out of it he needs the farmer to get mad at him and chase him out of the house. So he does the easiest thing to make that happen in early 1960s America:

Well, I couldn’t leave
Unless the old man chased me out
’Cause I’d already promised
That I’d milk his cows
I had to say something
To strike him very weird
So I yelled out
“I like Fidel Castro and his beard”
Rita looked offended
But she got out of the way
As he came charging down the stairs
Sayin’, “What’s that I heard you say?”

The farmer then threw a Reader’s Digest at him, took a swing at him and chased him out of the house calling him a “commie rat.”

I offer this only to suggest that, perhaps Ozzie Guillen doesn’t mean any of this stuff he said about Fidel Castro. Maybe he’s just living the plot to that song and he’s looking to escape something. Ozzie! Use the “Motorpsycho Nightmare” defense!

Probably doesn’t matter now, though. The original comments and the apology Guillen offered — he explains them in greater detail here — are now secondary to the narrative. All the oxygen of this thing is now consumed by official statements, displays of outrage and fun stuff like this:

A group of Cuban-American demonstrators plans to boycott the Miami Marlins as a result of manager Ozzie Guillen’s comment that he respects Fidel Castro. Vigilia Mambisa, headed by Miguel Saavedra, said it plans to begin a caravan of cars at SW 36th Avenue and 8th Street Tuesday that will culminate in front of the ballpark.

Context lacking from the article: that Vigilia Mambisa appears to be a somewhat marginal and extreme group that has been tied to violence in the past.  Doesn’t matter! Someone has said they are boycotting and that sort of thing is always treated as a big deal even if it’s … not.

As are comments that don’t adhere to the mainstream sentiment about Fidel Castro when uttered in or around Miami.

Not that I’m suggesting that Guillen’s comments were smart. Far from it. There are fewer more idiotic things a public figure in Miami can do in life than to say anything about Castro other than “I hope he dies in the street like a dog.”  It’s near-suicidal, in fact.  The lesson of “Motorpsycho Nightmare” is that if the narrator didn’t have freedom of speech and the right to say crazy things like that, he’d be in big trouble. But freedom of speech has nothing to do with this. It’s just bad sense to attempt to say something like this, and Guillen should have known that.

But really: he didn’t say anything that a reasonable person could construe as actually complimentary about Castro, did he? He said this:

“I love Fidel Castro. I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that mother****** is still here.”

That’s Guillen trying to say something funny. One could say that and fully believe that Castro is a monster. He’s talking about his ability to avoid being knocked off by the mob and the CIA and nothing more. To think that it’s an actual endorsement of Castro takes a special kind of sensitivity. Especially when one recalls how critical Guillen has been of Hugo Chavez in the past.

But none of that matters. Partially because, as noted, that special kind of sensitivity exists regarding this subject in Miami, even if it’s for understandable reasons. And partially because this story is now totally out of Guillen’s control.

Now the Outrage Industrial Complex has taken over.  Groups like Vigilia Mambisa, who will use this a means of getting some easy press. Organizations like the Miami Marlins who, out of sheer fear, will run for cover rather than do what they probably should do: roll their eyes at Ozzie’s Guillen’s bad judgment and then move along with their day.

  1. paperlions - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    People should be allowed to have dumb opinions; especially if those opinions have no bearing on anything. Plenty of our “leaders” spout dumb and dangerous opinions all the time and no one seems to be up in arms about those ramblings.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:46 AM

      “Plenty of our “leaders” spout dumb and dangerous opinions all the time and no one seems to be up in arms about those ramblings.”

      Ummm, no. You must not watch political talk television because their only purpose is to spin what’s said by our “leaders” in a positive or negative light depending on party affiliation and who’s paying the news outlets bills. And our leaders are MUCH more careful in choosing their words than Guillen is.

      Guillen should be more aware of the true feelings of the ex citizens of Cuba since he was brought to the team to help the team embrace the Hispanic heritage of Miami.

      • furedmccombs - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:54 AM

        Ronald Reagan said that trees are the biggest polluters on earth…he also suggested that ketchup be considered a vegetable in school lunch programs.

        These comments were before the 24 hour “news” cycle that we live with today.

        I could list more, from various “leaders,” but I’m sure there’s a character limit.

        Your correct that most “leaders” are better at sensoring their words than Guillen, but remember he is a former athlete, and still in the locker room mentality…this may be his best way to get press for a sorry “professional” team.

        Ozzie’s statements have always been to get press, and make waves…and have never been culturaly sensitive.

      • cur68 - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:27 AM

        As far as I can tell, there’s no shortage of prominent political figures spouting controversial rubbish and nothing much happens to them. Didn’t one of your leaders want a Moonbase, and promise such, not long back? And didn’t another one of them not know that Lynyrd Skynyrd sang “Sweet Home Alabama” and not, in fact, Randy Owen of the band Alabama? Same guy, a multi millionaire, wasn’t he on stage making $10 thousand bets and referring to himself as unemployed as a joke? Wasn’t another of these guys, the possessor of 2 or 3 advanced degrees, calling people who go to school “snobs” and declaring that Holland engaged in euthanasia of their elderly?

        Given the stupid crap that some leaders put forth, I’d think all this outrage at Ozzie is a bit over the top. When actual political figures, people who shape policy, law and international relations can say such things, display such a trenchant lack of tact, common knowledge, or common sense, what’s Ozzie said compared to that?

      • Jonny 5 - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        Cur, trust me, there is always half of the population give or take. Plus half of the political talking heads give or take, ready to pounce on every last word of any well known political “leader”. ALWAYS. It doesn’t matter if it’s Obama, GWB, Gingrich, or Gore. Almost every day it’s something else.

        It’s rather silly to come down on Ozzie over his politics imo, even if the way he feels is unpopular or misguided. He’s a freaking baseball manager, who’s knowledge of politics is clouded with Venezuelan propaganda, mixed with our very own media induced propaganda.

    • blabidibla - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:17 AM

      Everyone is allowed to have dumb opinions. Not everyone is allowed millions of dollars to represent multi million dollar business enterprises in the media.

  2. vallewho - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    I don’t like Ozzie, I don’t like the Marlins, I don’t like Miami because it’s a bizzaro third-world-country like city ( I know because I come from a third world country). But yeah, stupid people say stupid things. But there’s always someone more stupid to take up the cause.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:44 AM

      Think about the average dumb person you’ve met. Then realize that half the people in the world are even dumber!
      -George Carlin

  3. lostsok - Apr 9, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    Wow, digging deep into the Dylan catalog for that one. Well played, sir!

    • lostsok - Apr 9, 2012 at 7:20 PM

      Four thumbs down…stupid Justin Bieber fans!

  4. Gordon - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Agreed Craig. Definitely a “nothing to see here” event. Having lived in Chicago my whole life & hearing Ozzie speak, I took it exactly the way you did.

    Of course, now some fringe group gets some cheap publicity by calling for a protest.

  5. umrguy42 - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    (obligatory “If someone boycotts the Marlins, how would you tell?” comment)

  6. js20011041 - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    Easy Craig, easy. Let’s not let logic interfere with everyone’s race to prove who is the most morally outraged.

  7. bbil2012 - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Right.
    Like the Boston media for instance.

  8. chumthumper - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Once they finally get a homer at home and the mechnical feesh does his thing, the season will officially be over and fans can start masquerading as empty seats again. Then the only interest will be in what will Ozzie do next.

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:32 AM

      That thing will surely tear a hole in the space-time continuum and throw the poles of the earth out of whack causing mass extinction when it fires up just as the Mayans predicted.

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2012 at 12:55 PM

        Leave Tommy alone!

  9. cidminion - Apr 9, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Ozzie has always been that guy to say what he says what are you going to do? But I love all those who cry and yell about Castro yet they haven’t done anything to over throw him. I’m a son of a Cuban and one thing im tired of is this community talking about Castro because honestly if you wanted him out so bad you would’ve done everything possible to get him out. But back to Ozzie. Was his comment so much to warrant a boycott?

    Just seems like society is boycotting and marching for things that are so insignificant. A pro-Castro comment (not really) and a kid shot in the back (happens everyday with no arrests). Seriously people stop taking to the streets and find a job. Thanks.

    • Gordon - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

      There will be a dozen unemployed protesters in front of an empty ballpark on an off day while the home team is in Philly. It’s generous, to say the least, to consider this a protest. This wasn’t very thought out by that Anti-Castro group.

      • cidminion - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        Point Gordon..

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        You just don’t understand how we do things here in Macondo. By local standards, this all makes perfect sense.

  10. fouldwimmerlaik - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Whoever had “2 games” in the “How Long Will It Take Ozzie To Say Something Stupid And Piss Every One Off In Miami” pool wins.

  11. iluvwikileaks - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Ha! I thought I was the only person left that knows that Dylan song! Bob at his best. Off the Another Side of Bob Dylan album:)

  12. Old Gator - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    I’m planning to cover the boycott live for Circling the Bases. I’m going to hide the old Kerry-Edwards sticker on my rear bumper with a “Tea Party Patriot” sticker and join the caravan in Lil’ Havana and follow it down to the stadium – following, oddly enough, the very same route by which Craig followed my old Marquis down to the stadium a little over two years ago.

    Watch for my fair and balanced reports right here in the coming days.

    Heh heh….

  13. jeffbbf - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    White Sox nation wonders why they held on to this sideshow for so long, but thanks the almighty he’s not wearing their uniform anymore.

  14. iluvwikileaks - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    By the way, the right-wing Cuban/Americans from Miami are nothing but a pile of worms.

    • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:17 AM

      Speaking as a democratic socialist who has butted heads with the local Jurassics on more than one occasion and will doubtless continue to do so, whereas many of the right wing exile leaders are indeed a bunch of assholes many of their followers are just good, decent, family-loving, hardworking people – people in pain, being exploited by tinpot demagogues and opportunists. I don’t agree that their scorched-earth vindictiveness does them, their families or friends in Cuba or this country’s political reputation abroad any good whatsoever. But, I do try to see the human tragedy behind that anger – something which, despite your affinity for Dylan, you don’t seem to be making the slightest effort to see.

      • iluvwikileaks - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:58 PM

        The right-wing Cubans in Miami constanty whine for the U.S.A. to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro on the taxpayer’s dollar. But, they are only chomping at the bit to fly down to Havannah and open up as many Burger King franchises as they can. By the way, you should listen to Phil Ochs “Love Me I’m a Liberal”. It suits you perfectly.

  15. frankvzappa - Apr 9, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Brilliance. From the Dylan stuff to deriding the “Outrage Industrial Complex” and basically putting this PC madness into a proper context (very rare in big media), this article is highly commendable. Reminds me why I hang around here.

    • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:14 AM

      I would have guessed it was because you had your flipper caught in a giant clam.

      • frankvzappa - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:27 AM

        Leave your wife out of this.

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:55 AM

        Stay classy, Frank. Stay classy. I know it’s difficult but….

      • frankvzappa - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:31 PM

        By classy I assume you mean making a trollish post every time somebody you don’t like says something, and then attacking their classiness when they actually respond in a hilarious manner.

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2012 at 4:02 PM

        I didn’t actually dislike you until that utterly juvenile and clumsy comment about my wife – a level to which, however trollish you may find me, I would never stoop, not having been raised by trailer trash.

  16. kiwicricket - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    I find there is nothing worse than someone deliberately behaving like an imbecile, purely because they can.

    • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Have a chat with your buddy Frank above about that.

  17. leerosenthall - Apr 9, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Great post, Craig. How long before Ozzie is a “satellite guest” on Bill Maher’s show?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/opinion/please-stop-apologizing.html

  18. denny65 - Apr 9, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Well, let’s remember that Marge Schott said that Hitler was originally “good” for Germany and that she didn’t really understand why the epithet “Jap” was so bad. And of course her remarks about players with skins not-so-white don’t bear repeating.

    But, she was just a team owner. The Reds recovered.

    • Gordon - Apr 9, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      I miss Billy West’s impersonation of Marge Schott on the Stern show.

      • daisycutter1 - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:51 PM

        Seriously, that was the greatest. Meaning Billy West’s impersonation, of course.

  19. ditto65 - Apr 9, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Is it really surprising that someone misunderstood something that Ozzie said?

    • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      No, but it is even less surprising that Slobbering Ozzie himself had no comprehension of what he said until it blew up in his face.

  20. kappy32 - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Let me preface this by saying that I am not a Marlins fan & I am not an Ozzie Guillen fan. With that being said, there is nothing wrong with his statement regarding Castro. I understand it is a sore topic amongst Cuban refugees in South Florida, but just because a small group is offended by his statement doesn’t mean he is wrong. There are many people in this country who are outspoken supporters of the Iranian President Ahmadinejad for no other reason than their opposition to the US War on Terror. Back in the late 1930′s throughout WWII, there were many Hitler supporters in the US, namely on Long Island. Before WWII there were pro-Hitler parades down many town main streets in Long Island. I mean, hell, Che Guevera, Castro’s right hand man, is some sort of hero amongst the far left liberals in America & was glorified through a completely inaccurate film not too long ago. The bottom line is that Guillen’s comments on loving Castro are not a big deal. Last time I checked, this is America & we have something called the First Amendment Freedom of Speech. Cubans are not & have not been an oppressed group in the ilk of African-Americans & Jews. What occurred in Cuba was political & was not done for religious or racial views. I’m sorry, but it’s too damn bad that this Cuba refugee group is upset. I’m an Irish-American & you don’t see me crying or protesting when public figures express their outward support for Britain, Winston Churchill or Margaret Thatcher. What the British government has done to the Republic of Ireland & it’s people is the same thing Castro did to his. The only difference is that Castro is a communist, a bad group of people, where the British have a democratic form of government. Quit the bitching & let Ozzie love whoever he wants to.

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