An absolutely extraordinary auction is now taking place on eBay: It is of a Fidel Castro baseball card, signed. And the owner of the card has “improved” it by decorating it with the truth about Castro: that he is a murderous dictator, an enslaver of men, etc.
As I explained in this column, the owner is a friend of mine, and a freedom-loving NRO reader. All the proceeds of the sale will go to the Center for a Free Cuba (whose name is explanation enough).
The auction ends today at 14:11:21 PDT (to use eBay’s precise language). The Castro card is the most-watched baseball card on eBay. And the third-most-watched sports item (behind two items concerning Tiger Woods). The owner has taken a lot of abuse from people who don’t understand why he did what he did – or who do understand, and despise him for it. At the same time, he has received hearty bravos.
And the card’s page on eBay? Here.
So far, the card has received only one bid, although experts expect that to change today. And, last night, I received a letter from the bidder (whom I don’t know, incidentally). He asked me to share it with NRO readers – which I now do, in abridged form:
Where are all the capitalist pigs and imperialist running dogs out there? Right now there is a fantastical item of anti-Communist satire up for auction, and no one but your correspondent has so far bid on it.
A decent, freedom-loving Wall Streeter purchased this card and converted it into a piece of satiric art worthy of the Tate Modern – if an anti-Communist artist could get into that august collection of bad taste and anti-human dreck. This is no mere crucifix-in-urine or Madonna made with dung. Instead, the artiste has decorated the card with critical editorial remarks in various colors of ink.
Some card collectors and fans of dictatorship have described the “reworking” of the card as a “desecration” because, I suppose, Castro’s signature makes the card some sort of relic worthy of loving preservation. I disagree.
First, I think the new demonic horns poking through Fidel’s baseball cap give him a jaunty, “devil-may-care” look. Second, the card is far more valuable now, as the best piece of anti-Communist, anti-fascist satiric art since Parker & Stone played with Kim Jong Il. It is now a little treasure of modern art and political commentary. And it will be mine.
That is, unless some of you other fans of freedom get off your bottoms and outbid me. Now, I realize that a starting bid of $2,000 seems a bit steep – but this is freedom we’re talking about. All the money from the sale will go to the Center for a Free Cuba.
Don’t get me wrong: I really do want the card. It looks cool, and I have a great idea for displaying it: I’ll put it with a snapshot of me from my military days, grinning into the camera from my post on the Gitmo fence line. But getting the card without a fight means less dough for Cuban freedom.
Don’t miss your chance. All you fat-cat stockbrokers. All you Cuban exiles made good. All you capitalist oppressors creating jobs hand over fist. All you fans of human freedom. Put your money where your heart is, and bid!
The letter is signed, “Sailor Jim.” What an outstanding spirit, don’t you think?