For historical truths you’ll never get from the New York Times, NPR, The History Channel, CNN NBC much less your history professor click on Dancing With The Stars nowadays.
I’m serious, here, at least for recent shows. This week’s show sent hearts-a-thumping and knees-a-knocking from People Magazine to the Hollywood Gossip. The legendary (after only a few weeks on the show ) heartthrob William Levy cranked up the heat on last week’s show when the Cuban refugee ripped his shirt open for a sizzling salsa routine with dance partner Cheryl Burke.
“You are ridiculously HOT!” hyperventilated Judge Carrie Ann Inaba, to the panting couple, who score near the top as we go to press.
But you ladies eager to see more of William Levy in showbiz better hope his agent counsels the soap-star wisely. “Watch your mouth, William!” Let’s hope she’s berating after last week’s show. “Now about that hokey stuff you were saying in the backstage segment. Billy--what’s the matter with you,?!” Granted, you’re fairly new to this country. But serious bloopers like “the best day of my life was the day I came to the United States from Cuba.”—No-NO-NO, Billy boy!”
“You sound like Marco Rubio, Billy! Granted he was born here. So he’s speaking mostly for his parents—but look at the relentless hatchet-jobs against him in the media!
‘Then Cheryl asks you why you came to the U.S. and you answered: “because people have no future in Cuba..It doesn’t matter how much you work in Cuba.” (This from a nation that prior to Castroism took in more immigrants per-capita than did the U.S. Most of these, much like Levy’s own grandparents, were Europeans seeking the well-known “Cuban dream” of the time.)
“Then, Billy, you add insult to injury by telling your dance partner: “In Cuba you get a quarter of a chicken per month. They give you one piece of bread per person a day. So, it makes your life really tough.” (This from a nation that pre-Castro enjoyed the 3rd highest protein consumption in the Western Hemisphere, more doctors and dentists per capita than the U.S., the 13th lowest infant mortality in the world and was net exporter of food.)
“In this country people think Cubans just drive over to their nearest Safeway and buy all the bread they want, Billy. So here you’re telling them that the Stalinist regime mandates their food intake! That’s a low-blow to their fantasies, Billy.”
“And that bit about. “My father was a political prisoner in Cuba.” “Dios mio, Billy!” None of the people who will influence your career give a rat’s derriere about that stuff. Who cares that Castro’s Cuba jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin! You’re now living in a nation where the tern “that’s history” is a pejorative, Billy. Remember that.
“If you’re gonna mention Cuba at all with media folks, Billy, mentally bookmark this valuable advice--and like Mr McGuire to Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate,I’ll limit it to one word. “Plastics,” Mc Guire famously advised Benjamin.
“Healthcare, I now advise you, Billy.” Now repeat it after me: “Healthcare, healthcare, healthcare.”
‘Got it? “Free and Fabulous healthcare—world-class healthcare. Healthcare that’s the envy of U.S. citizens.” Got it?
“I know, I know I KNOW, Billy! You were born in Cuba. You actually LIVED in Cuba most of your life, Billy. But please, please, PLEASE—for the sake of your career, Billy--please don’t set yourself up as somehow more knowledgeable in these matters than, say, Michael Moore or Andrea Mitchell, Billy!
“Didn’t you hear Andrea Mitchell just last week from Havana itself hailing: “The advantages of the Cuban system, the low infant-mortality rate… which is legendary around the world.”?
“Sure, a few years back actual videos of actual conditions in actual Cuban hospitals were smuggled out of Cuba at great peril to the smugglers. These were then spirited to Sean Hannity by some insufferable reactionary named Humberto Fontova. And Hannity ran two shows featuring the horrors.
“But first thing you gotta learn when you leave Cuba, Billy, is that (outside of Fox News) nobody wants to hear what you have to say about the realities of life under Castroism. Now THERE’S a reality show to beat all reality shows! And I’ve been dreaming about one for years. But unlike Michael, Moore, Stephen Soderbergh, Benicio Del Toro, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, etc. who all get Cuban visas for the asking—unlike them, I can’t beg, borrow or steal one, Billy. And for the simple reason that my show would not be co-produced with Castro’s Propaganda Ministry, as were The Motorcycle Diaries, Che, Sicko, etc.
“My show would upset many apple-carts, obliterate too many fond fantasies. Remember when you learned that Santa Claus didn’t—oops, sorry! Forgot that while you were growing up in Cuba Castro had outlawed Santa Claus as a symbol of Yankee Imperialism. So OK, remember when you learned that the Easter Bunny—oops, again! Forgot that Castro outlawed Easter too!
“At any rate, it is very important that whenever you mention Cuba in front of any camera or mic, you quickly follow up with “free-healthcare.” And you might throw in “free education” too. The powers-that be-in this industry just eat that stuff up, Billy. I’ll pick you up at seven for dinner and more advice.”
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.