The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg was invited to speak with Fidel Castro, in light of his article on Israel and Iran. The resultant conversation held many interesting tidbits. Not only has Castro spoken out against Ahmadinejad's antisemitism and Holocaust denial, but he has questioned his own brash attitude towards the United States.
Here are some highlights:
His body may be frail, but his mind is acute, his energy level is high, and not only that: the late-stage Fidel Castro turns out to possess something of a self-deprecating sense of humor. When I asked him, over lunch, to answer what I've come to think of as the Christopher Hitchens question - has your illness caused you to change your mind about the existence of God? - he answered, "Sorry, I'm still a dialectical materialist."
He then noted that, unlike Cuba, Iran is a "profoundly religious country," and he said that religious leaders are less apt to compromise. He noted that even secular Cuba has resisted various American demands over the past 50 years.
"The Iranian capacity to inflict damage is not appreciated," he said. "Men think they can control themselves but Obama could overreact and a gradual escalation could become a nuclear war." I asked him if this fear was informed by his own experiences during the 1962 missile crisis, when the Soviet Union and the U.S. nearly went to war other over the presence of nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba (missiles installed at the invitation, of course, of Fidel Castro). I mentioned to Castro the letter he wrote to Khruschev, the Soviet premier, at the height of the crisis, in which he recommended that the Soviets consider launching a nuclear strike against the U.S. if the Americans attack Cuba. "That would be the time to think about liquidating such a danger forever through a legal right of self-defense," Castro wrote at the time.
I asked him, "At a certain point it seemed logical for you to recommend that the Soviets bomb the U.S. Does what you recommended still seem logical now?" He answered: "After I've seen what I've seen, and knowing what I know now, it wasn't worth it all."
"Fidel is at an early stage of reinventing himself as a senior statesman, not as head of state, on the domestic stage, but primarily on the international stage, which has always been a priority for him," she said. "Matters of war, peace and international security are a central focus: Nuclear proliferation climate change, these are the major issues for him, and he's really just getting started, using any potential media platform to communicate his views. He has time on his hands now that he didn't expect to have. And he's revisiting history, and revisiting his own history."
The Video also offers some insight into graffiti art, its history and techniques. Perhaps one interesting aspect of this artform is its access, alterability and exposure to the elements and such.
Living in London, this Robbo-Banksy war is quite visible. The latest I've seen was on Regent's canal that says "If I see a Banksy, I paint over it". Unfortunately, I don't find Robbo's comebacks to be terribly creative. Either way, the public nature of graffiti art and its immovability make it more temporal than other traditional pieces of art. It almost becomes a photograph, capturing a space and a moment in time rather than a permanent fixture on the landscape. The anonymity of persons involved lends more mystery to the whole issue - one this video tries to resolve, but also one that definitely draws an audience of curious onlookers.
While hip hop is experienced in tit for tat attacks, it is interesting how this translates to other art forms. I can't imagine Picaso and Matisse going at it in such a way. While allusion and sampling are common techniques in different forms of art - perhaps paintovers or creative editing could be added.