When Will They Ever Learn?

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THE SPINE SEPTEMBER 26, 2007

When Will They Ever Learn?

Kevin Spacey has visited President Chavez in Venezuela, and so have Sean
Penn and Danny Glover. Alec Baldwin is sure to follow. And maybe even
George Clooney. Or the Dixie Chicks. This is the latest episode in that
long-running drama called "political pilgrims," which has been running
-- more or less -- since Lillian Hellman visited Stalin and found him
charming. Or does it begin with John Reed visiting Lenin? At least, Reed
was something of a revolutionary and he was rewarded by being interred in
the walls of the Kremlin.

Chavez is not yet quite the tyrant that Castro was or is (if he's still
functioning). But Spacey is pilgrimming to Cuba to see what a truly
revolutionary country looks like. Maybe he'll see Fidel. More likely
he'll have to be satisfied with Raul. Ah, 50 years too late.

Or, as Pete Seeger used to sing (or was it Bob Dylan?), "when will they
ever learn?"

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