March 23, 2016 – 5:20 pm
When Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road was published in 1961, many critics and readers dismissed it as yet another indictment of the American suburbs, a theme which even then had become trite (amazing how some things don’t change). For years, the best book of Yates’ career was essentially ignored, isolated to a corner of the literary community.
When Revolutionary Road began to gain popularity again recently, it was often read as more than just a complaint about suburban conformity. In the story, the Wheelers (April and Frank), yearn to break out of their house-kids-job lifestyle and live more exotic, interesting lives. They begin to work towards changing their lives, alternating between positive steps and pure self-destruction–the common literary foibles of mankind. And in the end, their dilemma becomes one of choosing “safe” lives and that safety representing desperation and death.
A baseball game took place in Cuba on Tuesday between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team. It was the first game of its kind since 1999, when the Orioles made a similar trip.
The game, and the attendant diplomacy by President Obama that it represented, have been praised as a “landmark” game, as “baseball diplomacy,” and even a chance to maintain some sense of “normalcy” in the face of the terrorist attacks in Brussels.
But since this is Cuba, even the mention of the island dictatorship brought back the old ghosts of communism and Cubans escaping the island for a better life in America. Ted Cruz wrote Obama’s diplomacy will “legitimize the corrupt and oppressive Castro regime with his presence on the island.” ESPN’s Dan LeBatard, in an emotional column titled “‘Historic’ game in Cuba ignores the pain so many people endured,” called the trip and the game “another loss….As if the Cubans who fled to this country haven’t already felt enough of those losses over the decades.”
LeBatard, the son and grandson of Cuban refugees, recounts the pain and suffering endured by his family (and millions of other Cubans) at the hands of the Castros over the past 50-plus years. It is a very personal, heart-wrenching story that is as excellent an explanation of why change in Cuba is so important.
Read the rest of this entry »