National icon gangbang update…

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Quico says: First Chávez banged the name of the country, slapping his political movement’s buzzword on our passports. Then he moved on to the flag and the coat of arms, turning what had been symbols of national unity into divisive, partisan irritants. Recently, he talked about freelancing some extra lyrics for the national anthem.

Surely, with a track record like that, it was only a matter of time until he made a grab for the last of our national icons:


It is un’friggin’ believable, and all too believable at the same time: at Chávez’s request, Carabobo governor Acosta Carlés is making a grab for control of the most popular team playing the most popular sport in the country. I know that reads like a send-up, but it’s true.

You have to understand, Magallanes is to Venezuela what the Yankees are to the US – a National team with a passionate National fan base. It’s just their luck that that fan base includes El Supremo. Guess Hugo didn’t take it so well when the Tigres de Aragua kicked Magallanes’s butt in the finals just the other day.

It might all be funny, if it wasn’t so damn creepy. For years now, I’ve argued that it’s wrong to describe chavismo as “totalitarian” because the hallmark of totalitarian regimes is seeking control over areas of social life that have nothing to do with politics. Things like, y’know, pro baseball teams.

Doesn’t take much to paraphrase Hannah Arendt on this one:

If totalitarianism takes its own claim seriously, it must finish once and for all with ‘the neutrality of baseball,’ that is, with the autonomous existence of any activity whatsoever. From the point of view of totalitarian rulers, a society devoted to baseball for the sake of baseball is only in degree different and less dangerous than a class of farmers for the sake of farming.

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