This’ll shut ’em up

Dame Pa’ Matala has some choice words for the King of Spain. I have some for him and the media.

All weekend long we’ve been hearing nothing in the news but how everybody and their dog is out marching against that “evil dictator Chávez” (o rly?) Well, finally the media have woken up to the fact that there’s another side to the story. Take it away, Ollie Stone!

Spain’s King Juan Carlos should “shut up” and listen to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, US film director Oliver Stone said in comments published Tuesday in a Spanish newspaper.

“Your king should shut up and listen to Chavez more,” the top-selling daily El Pais quoted Stone as telling one of its journalists at the Venice film festival on Monday.

Stone and Chavez were in Venice for the world premiere of his documentary “South of the Border,” which looks at the outspoken Venezuelan leader’s role in bottom-up change sweeping South America.

At the Ibero-American summit in Chile in November 2007, King Juan Carlos sparked a diplomatic row when he turned to Chavez — who had been repeatedly interrupting a speech by Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero — and said: “Why don’t you shut up.”

His outburst became a catchphrase in the Spanish-speaking world, appearing on T-shirts and even being turned into a mobile-phone ringtone downloaded by millions.

Stone said: “Chavez is an extraordinary man who has managed to reduce by half the number of people living in poverty in his country. I am tired of seeing the media in my country call him a dictator, because he is not.”


And the scary part is that Chavecito, unlike his neighbor El Narco-Paraco Uribe, managed to deal with the poverty problem without killing poor people! He gave ’em hospitals, schools, doctors in their own neighborhoods, a pediatric hospital, and so much other free stuff I can’t list here. How evil is that?

Er. Actually, it’s not evil at all. It’s good, isn’t it? Yes, absolutely. So why’s it taken so long for the media to catch on? Well, they didn’t have Ollie Stone to interview. And they couldn’t very well break the news on his latest doc without talking to the man. And oh, bad luck for them–every word out of his mouth has been nothing but good about Chavecito, and slams for his detractors.

That’s why Reuters had to crib from The Hollywood Reporter, which also has another amazingly decent piece here; their own journos, who hate all things non-capitalist, were all in the bathroom with the cramps.

And that’s why TIME’s Richard Corliss got so fucking dyspeptic that he couldn’t even see straight, let alone spell Kirchner without an S. (Here, Dick, have some Angostura. Infallible stomach remedy, created by Simón Bolívar’s own German army doctor. Don’t worry–it’s now made in Trinidad, not Venezuela. And will you please get over your wife’s gushing about Chavecito’s nice firm handshake?)

And oh yeah, that great cultural guru and human Cheeto, Cornelius McGillicuddy the Fourth (please God, let there not be a fifth!) just had to weigh in too, however lightly. Whaddya bet he didn’t even see it–and that this is just his usual knee-jerkiness talking?

But y’know what? Seeing all the wingnut heads exploding is infinitely preferable to watching them continue to swell over their sad little march four days ago. Because this makes them all look every bit as idiotic as they are. And because it’s really sweet to see Aporrea flaunting headlines like “Venice kills Facebook” and “Oliver Stone: ‘Chávez is a hero, a phenomenon’.” And because that, not the march, is what’s gonna stick in people’s minds–or craws–the longest.

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