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Ariel Gonzalez
Ariel Gonzalez is an English professor at Miami Dade College. He reviews books for the Miami Herald and interviews authors for Topical Currents, a program on WLRN, South Florida's NPR affiliate.

Entries by Ariel Gonzalez

A Supposedly Gay-Friendly Cuban Writer Questions Richard Blanco's Manliness

(20) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 11:57 AM

It was inevitable that Richard Blanco's selection as President Obama's second inaugural poet would provoke a response from a predictably vocal segment of the Cuban exile community. But I was surprised at the shoddy screed Zoe Valdes, a writer of distinction, posted recently on the right-wing website, Babalu...

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The Magic Mormon

(5) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 1:07 PM

"Speculation is the romance of trade, and casts contempt upon all its sober realities. It renders the stock jobber a magician and the [stock] exchange a region of enchantment."
---Washington Irving

Among the 5,000-plus books in Occupy Wall Street's People's Library, the omission of

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The Awesomeness of Awesome People

(2) Comments | Posted September 19, 2012 | 11:41 AM

A succinct description of Ayn Rand's philosophy can be found in the TV show Party Down. This sadly short-lived sitcom followed the travails of a hapless Hollywood catering crew. In one episode, a brainless hunk asks a co-worker, "Who's Ayn Rand?" The co-worker, played by the lovely Lizzy...

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Farewell, Lady Phoenix: My Interview With Nora Ephron

(1) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 7:07 PM

On Nov. 15, 2010, Nora Ephron read from her essay collection, I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections, to a packed audience at the Miami Book Fair. Earlier that day, I interviewed her for Topical Currents, a program on WLRN, South Florida's NPR affiliate. In our too-short time together, we reviewed...

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Infallible Israel

(40) Comments | Posted June 1, 2011 | 5:48 PM

Israel is no more. Its cities lay in ruins, its people wallow in oppression. All signs of Jewish presence in the Holy Land are being eradicated: synagogues closed, cemeteries desecrated, libraries burned. Dissidents disappear into "special" camps in the Sinai Peninsula. Arab leaders convene in Jerusalem to divvy up the...

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President Marco Rubio

(4) Comments | Posted August 23, 2010 | 5:12 PM

If Marco Rubio wins the Florida Senate seat, he'll instantly become a frontrunner for the Republican vice presidential nomination in 2012. Whoever is at the top of the ticket -- Palin, Romney, Gingrich -- will find it hard to deny him the nod. Several factors will work in Rubio's favor:...

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The 'Fascinating Fascism' of Sarah Palin

(5) Comments | Posted July 26, 2010 | 12:06 PM

"Fascinating Fascism" is a 1975 essay by Susan Sontag, which appeared in The New York Review of Books. Ostensibly a critique of an African photo journal by Leni Riefenstahl, it attempts to scrape off the whitewash the German filmmaker had succeeded in applying to her reputation after World War II....

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Christopher Hitchens: A Narcissistic Manchild

(52) Comments | Posted July 6, 2010 | 12:27 PM

Does the thought of preemptive war still give Christopher Hitchens erections? He said it did in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. (Actually, he joked that the mere mention of the word "preemptive" would initiate tumescence.) Once, during a debate with Rabbi Harold Kushner, he chided the rabbi for...

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McClellan, MacArthur, McChrystal

(6) Comments | Posted June 28, 2010 | 3:45 PM

Barack Obama is not my commander-in-chief. No president has been or ever will be, for I'm a lifelong civilian. The Constitution is unambiguous on this: the president is commander-in-chief of the United States armed forces -- not the United States. But many of my noncombatant brethren believe otherwise. They insist...

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An Open Letter to Bernard-Henri Levy, on His Defense of Roman Polanski and Pope Benedict XVI

(7) Comments | Posted May 4, 2010 | 4:21 PM

Dear BHL:

May I call you B? You probably don't remember me, but we met a few years ago, when you were in Miami to promote your travelogue, American Vertigo. I interviewed you for a local NPR program. It went well, I thought, although I was perplexed by...

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Why Republicans Want to F**k Ronald Reagan

(3) Comments | Posted January 25, 2010 | 2:12 PM

My provocative (and partially self-censored) title is indebted to J.G. Ballard's story, Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan, which was published in 1968, the year Reagan was touted as an alternative to frontrunner Richard Nixon in the contest for the Republican nomination. This alarmed Ballard, who had perceived the...

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Eyes off the Prize: Liberals Who Want to Kill the Health Care Bill Should Remember History

(154) Comments | Posted December 31, 2009 | 11:17 AM

With all this talk of death panels, it seems fitting that liberals have gone through the five stages of grief over the past several months. But with the health care bill poised to become law, there is mounting resistance to the final stage, acceptance. Before I continue, let me...

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A Child Rapist Is Not a Political Prisoner

(159) Comments | Posted October 7, 2009 | 11:47 AM

Right-minded souls who reject claims of mitigating circumstances in the case of Roman Polanski should follow the example of Fred Goldman. He's the father of Ron Goldman, the waiter who was butchered along with Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson's ex-wife. Since Simpson's acquittal in 1995, Mr. Goldman has refused to utter...

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Pat Buchanan, William F. Buckley Jr., and Right-Wing Anti-Semitism

(1) Comments | Posted September 22, 2009 | 6:01 PM

A column commemorating the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II has raised, for the umpteenth time, the question of whether or not Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite. The column, "Did Hitler Want War?", is a misleading and distasteful exercise in revisionism which paints the Fuhrer as...

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What Sarah Palin and Other Patriotic Traitors Think About Health Care Reform: "Soylent Green Is People!"

(183) Comments | Posted August 13, 2009 | 10:44 AM

Like the U.S. army major who "saved" a Vietnamese village by destroying it, the patriotic traitor seeks to preserve his country by bringing it down. Recently I watched Seven Days in May . In this political thriller, an American president has negotiated a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets...

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Dear Sen. Franken: The Terrorists (and Fox News) Win If You Stop Making Jokes

(4) Comments | Posted July 8, 2009 | 12:18 PM

Dear Sen. Franken:

First, congratulations. After eight months, our long Midwestern nightmare is over. What a photo finish! Three hundred and twelve votes out of almost three million cast. If anybody gives you a hard time, bring up Lyndon Johnson. In 1948, he won a U.S. Senate seat...

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Sarah Palin and Anti-Intellectualism in American Life

(35) Comments | Posted July 6, 2009 | 5:00 PM

In his article on the Quitta from Wasilla, Todd Purdum asks, "What does it say about the nature of modern American politics that a public official who often seems proud of what she does not know is not only accepted but applauded?" Is the intrepid Vanity Fair reporter shocked,...

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The Meaning of Treason

(4) Comments | Posted June 29, 2009 | 3:53 AM

I first read Rebecca West's Meaning of Treason in the 1990s. At the time I was more interested in the looping grace of West's sentences than in her moral observations. Content trumped style after 9/11. My parents knew what it was like to be cowered into silence; they had...

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Why Obama Is Reading "Netherland" (And Why You Should Too)

(1) Comments | Posted May 12, 2009 | 1:06 AM

After having finished Netherland, I can see why President Obama added it to his reading list. Aside from being extraordinarily well-written, it's a paean to multiculturalism, something that might interest a biracial liberal Democrat with a foreign-sounding name. A literary tonic for the juvenile chauvinism of the Bush years,...

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Obama Should Not Thank Bush at the Inauguration

(43) Comments | Posted January 18, 2009 | 5:58 PM

Do not be surprised if Barack Obama thanks George W. Bush for his service to the nation at the start of his inaugural address. Since Jimmy Carter, every incoming president has given a shout-out from the podium to his predecessor. But if one looks at history, one finds that this...

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