Fidel Castro

Justin Trudeau, Castro's Death, and the Power of Twitter

Twitter users responded to the Canadian PM's idiotic paean to Castro early and often, showcasing free speech as one of its enemies died.


Christmas Red, Twitter

At the top of every list (including Reason's) of idiotic and ahistorical eulogies for Fidel Castro is Justin Trudeau's. The Canadian prime minister, himself the son of a former prime minister, filled his encomium with bland phrasing that tap-danced around tbe brutality and terror that characterized Castro's reign:

"Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century….

"While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro's supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for "el Comandante".

"I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba."

For more awful official responses to Castro's death, as curated by Anthony Fisher, go here.

Of course, in an age of social media, Trudeau was mocked immediately and for hours, spawning two ironic hashtages, #trudeaueulogy and #trudeaueulogies, which pushed the Candadian's logic to absurdist degrees.

A sampling, compiled by Elias Toufexis:

Elias Toufexis, Twitter

We can make too much of the leveling power of a platform that allows the many to speak back to the mighty directly and publicly. Despite having been used in all sorts of incredible ways in tense political situations, Twitter and other forms of social media don't overturn existing power structures in any obvious, clear, and definitive ways. As with most forms of dissent—or, more accurately, most forms of free-er and more-open speech—new platforms create some space and then get appropriated or become domesticated as the existing power structure and its chieftains move in (remember what a big deal it was when Hillary Clinton finally joined Twitter?).

Yet as Bill Cosby, whose attempt to generate #CosbyMemes on Twitter just as rape charges against him were coming out ended in disaster, could tell you, the audience is more active, engaged, and empowered then ever. There was a time in the near-past when the audience's power over the messages sent its way was much more limited. Reacting either as a person of a group took a lot more time, energy, coordination, and courage. To that extent that political and social change is predicated upon free speech and free assembly (both in cyber- and meatspace), we're in a much-better place than we were just a few decades ago. About the only public figure that doesn't get a firehose of abuse when they act or speak poorly is the Dalai Lama (give it time, people). In both repressive societies (such as Castro's Cuba) and open ones (such as Canada and the United States) social media has made it far easier to speak to power and throw in a few jokes as well.

Such as these from Reasoners:

These may be small victories or tiny bubbles of dissent, but it's great that platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and the web more broadly, are out there. For all their many limitations, more speech is not only better, it's harder and harder to control.

For more on "the audience's power over media's message," go here for a view from the late-1990s.

Technologies and platforms that disperse control over and access to speech are central to the ongoing Libertarian Moment, in which all of us are increasingly able to individualize and personalize more aspects of our lives and to pursue happiness as we see fit. Read more about that here.

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  1. Jim Jones may have expressed unorthodox religious and political views but despite the controversy he created he knew the value of community as well as the importance of saving money with generic brand Flavor-Aid.

    1. Jones clearly sought to make America great again, and he would certainly have lauded our current efforts to suppress the Internet trolls and, if necessary, to construct a digital wall to keep the perverts and the provocateurs away from our children. Surely no one here would dare to defend the outrageous “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

  2. The immediate historical revisionism toward Castro has been sickening but predictable.

    Obama’s statement that history will judge him is cowardice. I’m perfectly comfortable with judging murderous dictators in the here and now.

    Fidel Castro is dead. The only tragedy here is that it didn’t happen fifty years ago.

    1. I’ll give Obama credit for at least avoiding saying anything unambiguously positive about Castro, unlike a lot of world leaders. I mean, you didn’t really expect anything more than that, did you?

  3. Don’t be hard on Trudeau, his dad just died.

    And his uncle Roul has taken over his fathers business.

    So there goes Justin’s dreams of hanging out in Cuba, growing a beard, smoking cigars and throwing people he does not like in prison.

    1. He still has Raul and Castro’s scumbag sons to hang out with so he may realize those dreams yet.

  4. Emperor Palpatine was a divisive figure for some but it is undeniable that he had the will to act swiftly and decisively. He’ll be remembered for his impressive construction projects that created millions of jobs and his electrifying manner of instruction to young Jedi.

    1. And how he reached across the aisle in the senate.

  5. These are obviously examples of the hate speech and false news that create the unsafe spaces that Barack Obama and Angela Merkel have pledged to fight.

  6. Let us remember the Baron Harkonnen not for his struggles with obesity, but for his cunning political mind, love for children and desire to keep the Spice flowing.

    1. Don’t forget his support for LGBT alternative lifestyles.

      1. +1 “Drug him well, I don’t feel like wrestling”

    2. Not mutually exclusive!

  7. Trudeau needs to get sent to the Center for People Who Don’t Think Good. Not insulting a dead Castro is one thing, cupping his balls while giving him a tonguebath is another.

    1. It needs to be at least 3 times bigger.

    2. Trudeau is legitimately stupid enough to remember Castro as ‘that guy who used to hang out with my dad and was nice to me’.

      1. And being a dumbfuck leftist, feels shape his reality. So all the atrocious crimes and wistful longings to incinerate every North American city of note that can be attributed to Castro, are completely ignored in Trudeau’s little feminist mind.

      2. I’m also starting to believe people mistook Pierre’s ecocentrism for a great intellectual mind. He was smart – smarter than his son anyway I think – but not to the extent he’s been built up. The CBC showed footage of Margaret gushing over Fidel calling him ‘so, so charming!’

        It’s like they can’t or don’t want to investigate behind the charm for possible darkness.

        Justin, given he’s not that bright, is not getting it given his recent comment doubling down on is emotional vapidity.

        1. Justin got Margaret’s brain and looks, and the only thing he inherited from his father was his name. Which is actually a good thing, because Pierre had an animal cunning and charisma that was way more dangerous than anything Justin has.

          Justin got elected because it was the Liberals’ election to win and he didn’t screw up, Pierre was a phenomena.

  8. Though prone to lapses in judgment due to pride and anger, Khan Noonien Singh had a noble vision for a better breed of humanity. He inspired devotion in his followers who swore an oath to live and die by his command 200 hundred years before we were born and always rose to the occasion when someone tasked him. I join the people of Ceti Alpha V in mourning his loss.

    1. KHAAAAAN is dead!

    2. He offered an unready world order at a time in history when it was truly needed.

    3. Chekhov:”Are you certain this is not Ceti Alpha VI?

  9. Thank you world, continue to shower the PM with reality. Theseus needs the thread to map the route out from his own ass.

  10. Can we get a few more clauses in tge alt-text?

  11. I typically don’t believe in collectivizing to the point that I can say any one person embarrassed an entire country, but Zoolander certainly made himself look like even more of an idiot than usual, which takes some doing.

    I didn’t vote in the last Canadian election as I wasn’t all that fond of any of the major parties, but I may have to consider taking part in both the fed and provincial elections next cycle if someone unoffensive enough runs against the Liberals and NDP.

    1. He’s Zoolander 2, and aren’t the sequels always a disappointment?

  12. Canadian PMs have been a great counterindicator for where the American public is headed as of late.

    First, Harper presages the age of Obama, and then Trudeau signaled the rise of Trump. Or maybe Bush Jr. presaged Harper and Obama presaged Trudeau.

    Either way, Trudeau is like having Pajama Boy as PM.

    1. But he’s so dreamy-I could stare into his stupid, vacant eyes all day.

      1. You have them in a jar on your desk?

  13. “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century….

    It’s a cookbook!

  14. Although a controversial figure, Julius Caesar will be remembered for his legal career, his infrastructure projects in Gaul, and his emotional support for his fellow politicians’ wives. He passed away this Ides of March after being crushed by excessive hugs from his fellow senators.

  15. Maybe we’re all just suffering from an American-centric view of Cuba. The rest of the world understands his greatness.

    1. I don’t know if anyone’s ever given that sort of non-argument/rhetorical-move a name, but I’ve always thought of it as “the Assumed Leftist Global Consensus

      ….Where when someone smugly asserts what “The Rest of the World” thinks

      …. as though they are somehow, by virtue of their special place in society, granted access to the “secret global polling results” which accurately reflects the popular opinion of billions of people worldwide
      (*and not simply a handful of left-leaning UN types)

      If you challenge them over whether such a thing is even ‘knowable’, they’ll fall back on some self-congratulatory statement of their own worldliness = “i travel and read a great deal; i have many friends across the globe; my half puerto-rican spouse permits me insight into the views of all latin-americans”, etc.

      This same device is also used re: policy, where any given liberal position (e.g. abortion, gun control, taxation, free speech) is the obviously superior one because it is shared by so many others around the world – as though there’s some collective wisdom which the US is ignoring.

      1. Yup, gets used all the time. The day after the election, when I was posting on Farcebook thanking God that Hillary lost, my online Canadian friend was quick to post how “no one outside of America was scared over a President Hillary.” Yup, everyone else in the world wanted to see Hillary win. Even if true, so what? Right is right, and wrong is wrong, no matter if everyone else in the world calls good evil, and evil good.

        1. It’s also worth pointing out that most of the world’s media lazily translate HuffPo articles and call it a day.

          A particularly annoying example of this was when (I think it was) translated an article citing Clarance Thomas describing the deplorable racism he experienced at the hands of east coast liberal elites. Except they didn’t bother to translate “liberal”, or at least point out that it means the exact opposite in America than in Denmark.

          That kind of journalism could be a significant factor in why most of the world would feel a certain way towards various American political figures.

  16. (1801 London Times) We note the passing of Gen. Benedict Arnold who loved his Monarch so much that he worked to achieve victory against colonialist forces, led by aristocratic slave owners, that failed to recognize the merits of his military achievements. Arnold’s beautiful socialite wife says her husband’s sacrifices, though controversial in Cousin Jonathan’s new “republic,” will long be associated with his name.

  17. Maybe we’re all just suffering from an American-centric view of Cuba.

    Is that the stupid cunt on ABC? I wanted to jump through the teevee and stab her in the eye with my mechanical pencil.

    “America-centric” my ass. I suppose only Americans think Idi Amin was a bad guy.

    1. I am sure the Angolans probably have a thought or two as well…

      1. Maybe even the Ugandans

  18. Twitter is the platform upon which all of us can stand and shout, “I am an idiot, and I can prove it!”


      2. Anthropomorphic? I actually like that better.

        1. Climate Change probably looks like the Smog Monster from Godzilla

            1. WTF?? It’s ………Putin???

  19. Also, for goodness’ sake, will somebody notice that Florence Henderson is dead?

    The last of the stay at home moms? The first of the new breed?

    It was about divorce like M*A*S*H was about Vietnam. Extremely important to Gen X kids everywhere!

    After the psychological torture kids from divorced homes had to suffer at the hands of Bewitched in the early ’70s and its never ending carousel of new Darrens (That’s not my Dad! I remember my Dad! You’re not my father! Why is everyone pretending nothing has changed? That Darren is an impostor! Has the whole world gone mad?), there came Florence Henderson and the Bradys to make blended families seem perfectly normal.

    Now Florence Henderson is dead, and all people want to talk about is fucking Castro?

    1. I just realised where I got my fetish for cute milfy petite blondes with pixie haircuts, yes very specific, I know.

    2. Yes, she was heartless tyrant – but she brought order!

    3. I’m old enough to remember the episode (ok, on reruns on TBS) where Mr. Brady complained about kids “rioting” on campus. If he was only around today to warn us about the rape counselors of today.

      1. I want to pretend you’re a tweener.

        Picturing you as a socialist adult is not flattering.

        1. If you’re not a socialist when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not not a socialist by the time you’re 35, you have no real property.

          1. All the socialists I know have no real hard assets to lose. Hence, it’s easy for them to *intellectualize* about stealing it from others including inheritance taxxxes – the pornographic fetish for left-wingers.

    4. it was about divorce like M*A*S*H was about Vietnam.

      M*A*S*H was set in the Korean war

      1. Only because the studio refused to release it unless Altman inserted references, including the opening.

          1. Right, but the TV series was thinly veiled reference to Vietnam, most times.

            1. the TV series was thinly veiled reference to Vietnam

              (shrug) still veiled-enough for pre-teen me.

              my vague memory is that whenever they featured Korean citizens (*noncombatants) on the TV show, they were usually very sympathetic to Americans… not secretly smuggling weapons back to their cousins in the bush. If they were trying to make a point about misguided American anti-communism, it was lost on me.

              I can see it for the movie; i never really saw the movie all the way through until the 1990s.

              1. I watched it as a kid too and liked it all, even the later seasons with all the character changes. But I was watching it again lately and somewhere around half way through it does get awfully preachy and sentimental and I lost interest.

                I don’t think it’s supposed to be about Vietnam, but the commentaries on war that it made were definitely more about the country’s way of looking at Vietnam than Korea.

              2. Pre-teens were not the intended audience.

                1. Pre-teens were not the intended audience.

                  It helped me develop an open mind about Lebanese cross-dressers, and inspired me to try and make my own home-distilled martinis

          2. And Apocalypse Now was about the Belgian Congo because Heart of Darkness was set there.

            1. See, this guy gets it.

            2. the TV show and movie are also set in Korea

              i get that there’s obviously some parallels (*at least in the movie). Your comparison to HoD sort of sucks.

              1. And the hills you choose to die are getting smaller and smaller.

                1. Maybe you should double-down and compare it to Animal Farm now

          3. “Like the movie, the series was as much an allegory about the Vietnam War (still in progress when the show began) as it was about the Korean War.[4]


            Incidentally, The Crucible was about the red scare.

            1. The movie may have been intended as a commentary on vietnam. as I pointed out – the same-titled book which the whole thing is based on was not.

              Mild tweaking of the subtext of the story doesn’t even remotely approach “allegory”. Both the books and film are generally ‘anti-war’ – not exactly some hidden parallel theme. Its an obvious comparison of 2 recent anti-communist wars in Asia.

              The patronizing comparison to The Crucible is dumber (if possible) than Sugar’s Heart of Darkness reference. You can have your ‘it has a vietnam theme’ point without attempting to claim that there’s some super-rich, historical-message meaning embedded in a fucking TV drama-comedy.

              1. This is absurd.

                M*A*S*H was about Vietnam.

                “Though nominally set during the Korean War, “M*A*S*H” the movie was intended all along to work as a metaphor for the Vietnam conflict. “I did everything that I could do to make the audience feel that this was Vietnam,” says Altman on the new “M*A*S*H” special-edition DVD.”


                1. I think most people are talking about the TV show.

                  And I’m probably sinking into pedantry here, but it’s true.

                  Is was ABOUT Korea. That’s what the setting was. It also deliberately served as a commentary on Vietnam, but that isn’t the same as being about Vietnam.

                  1. The TV show was about Vietnam.

            2. “Incidentally, The Crucible was about the red scare.”

              Nuh-uh! It was about the Salem witch trials.

      2. It’s clearly intended to be more about Vietnam than Korea though.

        I mean, that series lasted a hell of a lot longer than Korea did.

        1. The series only lasted about 128 hours, actually. And episodes were pretty self-contained, so it’s not as if the plot spanned 10 years, or however long it was on.

          It was about Korea, but certainly meant to also be a commentary on Vietnam in many ways.

          1. That’s in real-time hours, not ‘MASH hours’. Someone with a lot of free time needs to go through MASH and determine how many days went by over the entirety of the series.

            1. I sort of wish more TV shows, especially comedies, would do more like MASH did and make episodes mostly self-contained and not reference other episodes.
              Long story arcs can be great, but a lot of sitcoms could do without them.

    5. How about Ron Glass?

      1. +1 Preacher

        1. Everybody talks about him on Barney Miller, but I think Book was his best role.

  20. It’s not the rubes self-identifying these days. It’s the deluded who are doing so. I wish it weren’t so. No wonder we’ve been so screwed by the Left, the rot is worse than most anyone thought.

  21. Henry Tudor (eighth of that name) was controverisal figure who freed his people from the dead hand of Papist rule. A great lover of women, he had his slut wives killed.
    [am I doing this right?]

  22. All you commentariat have to be nice to us Canucks.

    After all, we have Trudeau as our Special Burden To Bear. {SOB!}

    1. And our politicians are all brilliant and not-giant-assholes.

      1. I read that as “Giant Brilliant Assholes” and started nodding vigorously.

        1. Is that like a Giant Magic Buffalo?

        2. I could have phrased that a bit less clumsily.

  23. Certainly the Great Chicago Fire has a complicated legacy, but one cannot deny that Chicago is, in the end, bigger and stronger than it was before the fire.

  24. Explore the self-evident mastery of the American political system by comparing and contrasting the per capita number of people incarcerated, average life expectancy, and per capita military expenditures between Cuba and the USA. I’m confused… which country are you supposed to move to?

    1. You’re smarter than everyone, you’ve figured it out. Now go. Get your ass to the superior country and leave us the fuck alone.

    2. Please don’t feed the troll.

      1. I can’t help myself. I need to check myself into some sort of rehab center.

        1. His whining for food does get annoying, but it’s really for his own good. No one wants a fat troll.

    3. Pro-tip: follow the boat people. They go one way.

    4. You forgot per capita torture rates and extralegal execution by firing squad.

    5. That undoubtedly explains the millions of downtrodden Americans who brave shark-infested waters every year to relocate in Cuba.

    6. Why don’t we compare those stats under Batista as well?

      Also, go to Cuba and try mocking Castro on Twitter.

    7. Fuck off, asswipe.

    8. No need to imprison them in Cuba when labor camps or firing squads work just fine.

  25. A lot of the same people singing paeans to Castro are calling Trump an authoritarian.

    These are the days of derp.

    1. This is what kills me. Some on the left cry and wail that Trump will muzzle the media, imprison LGQBT and deport foreigners, but praise Castro who has done all of those things (and much worse) for decades.

      1. But they have lots of doctors! No medicine or equipment, but


    1. Is Tolkien really that much of a nerd thing anymore, what with the movies and such? If they were making Patrick Rothfuss jokes that’d be a different story.

      1. Hmm, no, I don’t think so. True nerds are about Tolkien, comic book movies, and big-titted cosplay girls.

        1. *Perks up*

    2. One does not simply walk away from Tolkien jokes.

  27. Elmer Fudd: Second Amendment supporter, hunting enthusiast, advocate for controlling the wabbit population.

  28. Wouldn’t say Trudeau’s comments were bland, so much as out-and-out praising. And my guess is that, living in his own special bubble, Trudeau never even considered the possibility that the comments would be seen as absurd. In proggie circles, exactly how popular is it to point out that guys like Castro or Chavez are totalitarian shitbags who torture their own public?

    1. “There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.”

      He’s made it a habit of dropping his progressive mask.

      1. Do they even really use masks? These “slips” really aren’t all that rare.

        1. It’s more a thin coat of foundation than a mask anymore.

      2. “I’m going to lecture my kids on feminism but then follow archaic gender segregation rituals when I need to kowtow to the local imam’s demands.”

        1. When he was an MP I told my wife, his penchant to say stupid things aren’t going to cease when he becomes PM. You don’t magically stop being a progressive tart. I love being right.

          1. The worst part is that our political class is so stupid no one actually calls him out properly though. When he made that ‘honour killings shouldn’t be called barbaric’ remark everyone just started talking how it was inappropriate and how they’d never say that. When in reality they should have been working on a ‘gotcha’ by asking Trudeau “alright, if they aren’t barbaric, what are they exactly?” Or after the Castro statement, ask him why exactly he’s ‘the longest serving President’ and what exactly Trudeau thinks is ‘controversial’ about his reign.

            Trudeau is willing to stick his foot in his mouth at every opportunity. Dammit Tories, line it up for him.

            1. To be fair, he hasn’t faced the press yet because he’s in Mozambique doing whatever feminist-progs do in Africa.

              Of course they should line him up and force him to further back up and explain his vapid one-sentence quips.

              1. There’s a good reason why Trudeau’s backroom handlers keep him on the road and away from the House of Commons, and it’s not because he’s so diplomatic.

    2. “And my guess is that, living in his own special bubble, Trudeau never even considered the possibility that the comments would be seen as absurd.”

      Similarly, I’m pretty sure the proggies ignored Clinton’s felonies and are absolutely shocked that the rubes didn’t. The proggies didn’t know anyone who found them (and her) despicable, so how can anyone else feel that way?

    1. Yeah, how the fuck is that any better.

    2. Meh looks like satire

      1. My brother really liked The Motorcycle Diaries. I couldn’t even.

        1. I actually liked The Motorcycle Diaries too, but you have to view it as a tragedy. I just made sure to end it with “and then he went on to become a mass murderer.”

          1. Tomato, potaters.

  29. which country are you supposed to move to?

    I remember those glorious days in the ’80s, when people fled Miami in droves, headed for Cuba on makeshift rafts, desperately seeking a better life.

    1. I think they made a movie about that, yes?

  30. A devoted son beloved by the people of Westeros, today we mourn the passing of King Joffrey Baratheon.

  31. If you think Trudeau’s shaft stroking of Castro is bad, read the New Yorker. 3 pages and not a single mention of his crimes. In addition, he lamented Castro’s unfinished work and thought he passed too soon.

    In a life that saw Fidel install a communist regime in Cuba; defeat the C.I.A.-backed invasion at the Bay of Pigs; spark off the Cuban Missile Crisis; launch and arm myriad Marxist insurgencies in Latin America and Africa; dispatch Cubans to fight South African troops in Angola?thus helping to weaken the apartheid regime; survive the collapse of the Soviet Union and keep Cuba’s communist system intact for another quarter century, often seemingly through sheer willpower and to the chagrin and frustration of his many enemies; and for a man who sought to help transform humanity through revolutionary socialism to the end of his days, ninety years was, perhaps, not quite enough time.

    1. I stand by my assertion that progressives are anti-humanist.

      1. Duh. They’re Malthusians, trying to disguise themselves as Humanists.

        1. “The death of the many will lead to the prosperity of you! No, really, you! We double-pinky swear you won’t be against the wall!”

    2. “install a communist regime in Cuba”

      That’s not a crime?

    3. “launch and arm myriad Marxist insurgencies in Latin America and Africa; dispatch Cubans to fight South African troops in Angola”

      Apparently it’s only imperialism when America or European countries support foreign dictatorships and coups.

      1. “America or European countries support foreign dictatorships and coups.”

        That’s just garden variety coup supporting. No need to dress it up as ‘imperialism.’

  32. they also keep excusing Castro since he overthrew an American supported dictator. one despot overthrowing another despot does not make for good governence.

  33. I was at my grandma’s over the weekend and she doesn’t have Internet, and I didn’t browse on my phone much. After catching up, all I have to say is that the reaction is even more disgusting and idiotic than I expected. I figured that most of these people who had these positive thoughts about him would at least keep them to themselves, but I guess that’s setting the bar too high.

  34. Like the marketing genius shown by their slogan, “resistance is futile,” we must all come together to mourn the end of the Borg. From their simplified fashion choices, to their love of cube-shaped ships, and especially their singular sense of purpose, the Borg were supremely well-organized.

  35. “Technologies and platforms that disperse control over and access to speech are central to the ongoing Libertarian Moment”

    Kinda like writing letters with pen and paper, only more likely to be ignored.

    1. Laugh while you can, monkey boy.

      1. Home is where I wear my hat.

  36. Hey all, longtime lurker here.

    Anyone gonna take a crack at Ideological Turing Test on Castro memorials?

  37. RE: Justin Trudeau, Castro’s Death, and the Power of Twitter

    Twitter allowing in free speech?
    Did the sun rise in the West this morning?

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