And Where Does That Leave Me?


The first slap of her life came as punishment for mouthing an obscenity in front of her grandmother; the same phrase she shouted a thousand times in the street and at school but that, until that time, had not dared to articulate at home. The slap came suddenly, across her face, leaving a painful mark and a huge embarrassment. She was really annoyed with the old woman, because in the tenement where they lived bad words were an element of survival, the linguistic mark shared by everyone who lived there.

That blow was a painful but effective cure, because as she grew up she banished from her mouth almost all the thorny “flowers” of vulgarity. Even today, she blushes — with great frequency — when, in the middle of a conversation and for no reason at all, someone lets loose with a lexicon of vulgarity. She’s afraid that at any moment her Galician grandmother will interrupt the recital to slap the offender across the cheeks, berating him in front of his friends because “Your mouth is dirtier than a toilet!”

Last Saturday a military squad rehearsed for the upcoming parade shouting — on a central avenue — a slogan using the language of the barracks, sexist and dull. It was barely nine o’clock in the morning and the neighborhood kids weren’t in school, but at home and in the parks. The soldiers, marching by with their martial rhythm and red flag, energetically shouted:

The Yankees wear the skirts!
We wear the pants!
And we have a commander,
With the biggest b…s of all!

Her son looked at her scornfully, throwing back at her that she’d scolded him for swearing, when the same words were acceptable to the Revolutionary Armed Forces themselves. She couldn’t stop thinking about the bony hands of her grandmother, and how the tenement of her childhood had finally spread itself across the entire nation.

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58 thoughts on “And Where Does That Leave Me?


  1. And we have a commander,
    With the biggest b…s of all!
    the same balls we have in our mouthes
    so we can not speak what happen

  2. @#54–Damir,

    If you despise Yoani’s writings so massively, and do not find *anything* of any worth in them, not one thing, why do you feel compelled to stop by and read each and every one of her Web entries and denounce each and every one, oftentimes with vulgarity? There is a saying in English: If it acts like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. I, however, would replace the word “duck” with “repudio.”

  3. Damir,
    Freedom of expression is one thing, insults and vulgarities are another. You have the right to agree or diagree with other`s opinions, and you are entitled to express yours just as we all are. Its just that a little respect for others never hurt anyone.

  4. Another post removed. And there are cretens who will talk about freedom of expression here…

    Tpo those who have no idea of their own and are capable only of ad nauseam repetitions given to tehm by their bosses to repeat until the whole world (or so is the theory) believes in those lies, here’s one fact I have already demonstrated and proved many a time. In just abut every post.

    This post too is eprived of any meaningful content. Yes, it is situated in Cuba, and id even talks about a military parade.

    But the only thing the team “yoani” managed to come up with was actually something that has NOTHING to do with politics, economy, not even their favourite dictators, the Castros…!!!

    This meaningless post is about some person being disappointed with their grandmother because of …

    swearing…

    If it were not from teh team “yoani”, the people who learn about the internet and “blogging” (and vey little, by the way…) from “Internet blogging for idiots”, as they made sure we see the book on the shelves behind the “blogging” students, a few posts back, I’d be disappointed with the authors.

    But, since the authors are self-certified students of the book Internet blogging for idiots, and self-proved as unable to write anything of interest (little wonder the catastrophically low intellectual levels of “followers”), all is good.

    We know what we cn expect from the students, and what we should NOT expect from them.

    Intelligent and engaging, meaningful and observing thoughts are out of the question.

    Nonsense, on the other hand, is abundant.

    Just read the above post…

  5. JUST LOVE ALL THESE CONSPIRACY THEORIES! SO 007!!

    Carmine Di Zazzo said – “I am beginning to understand who are the instigators of this blog and who is behind the uprisal. It is the same people that are behind the uprisals and demontrations in muslim countries like Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, and Lybia.”

  6. @#51 –

    Carmine, there is no uprisal. And there is no free internet access to Cubans. What is happening in the Middle East and Cuba are not analogous. The average Cuban honestly does not know who Yoani is, because the average Cuban is not allowed internet usage (unlike China, where internet usage is allowed but restricted and sometimes censored). As far as the masses are concerned, there is only one opinion. The official one.

    You are Canadian, as am I. Imagine if Muskoka (or the Gatineaux) were run like today’s Cuba. The scenery…amazing (but note that it was not put there because of Fidel). Family relations are very tight, indeed. Something to be proud of. Yes, that is partly cultural. Or perhaps there is another reason. The cottages where you live has someone who keeps a file on you. That someone is a volunteer who notes your behavior. Your job. Your family. Your relationship with your spouse, your children, your neighbors. What your daily routine is like. Do you have enemies? Many friends? Are you happy? Are you for the government? Or against it? Every block in your town has such a committee, keeping files on you. Your friends. Your family. Your neighbors. And the file that is kept on you is an official record.

    I could explain this further, but essentially, you live in a beautiful, gilded cage. Many choose to live in the gilded cage, and that is fine. But it should be called what it is.

  7. I am beginning to understand who are the instigators of this blog and who is behind the uprisal. It is the same people that are behind the uprisals and demontrations in muslim countries like Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, and Lybia. Did you notice how the Americans stood aside while the protesters and rebels where gaining ground on Gadhafi`s controlled cities. They let things go as long as the protesters gained ground and killed pro-Gadhafi defenders. But as soon as Gadhafi started fighting back and began regaining control of his land, Nato and the Americans immediately retaliated reducing Gadhafi`s army and air defense greatly. Don`t you think its a clever way to get rid of the regime in Lybia by not attacking them directly but pretend to be protecting the rebels.

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