A Sprawling Cultural Desert

Quico says: So in my desperate scramble to rustle up enough material for 100 posts in five days, I’ve started reading stuff I don’t usually read, including El Universal’s OpEd pages. It’s a soul crushing exercise. You can read one opinion piece in El Universal after another all morning without ever encountering a fresh thought, an original insight, any hint at all of a human imagination alive and awake behind the keyboard.

Today, Alberto Jordán wisely opines that it is an insult to Francisco de Miranda to put him on a big mural alongside Che Guevara. Alvaro Benavides breaks the news that Venezuelans have gotten used to things that used to be totally unacceptable. Argelia Ríos breaks new ground saying “everything is going from bad to worse.” Clodovaldo Hernández burnishes his enfant terrible credentials by daring to suggests some priests may – gasp – not actually be celibate! Eduardo Sapene not only surrenders to the most boilerplatish of boilerplate with an “emperor-has-no-clothes” rant but actually pads out his column, which was only 300 words to begin with, by summing up the original story!

Only Prof. Agustín Blanco Muñoz breaks the dreariness with a kind-of-interesting, somewhat-iconoclastic piece on the historical roots of Venezuelan caudillismo. Aside from his bit, there isn’t a single opinion in the whole paper you couldn’t get for free by listening in to the conversation in any arepera anywhere in the country.

Seriously, who picks these columnists? As it stands, El Universal’s opinion pages amount to little more than a senseless ecocide: the wanton destruction of countless trees used to print opinions barely worth the electricity it takes to show them as pixels on a screen.

Post 86 of 100. Snob-o-rama, I know, I know…