Gitmo's Pop-Culture Moment

Friday, February 08, 2008


Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg observes that Guantánamo has become a recurrent pop-cultural trope throughout the world – in memoirs and novels, visual arts and theater, and even song. Rosenberg, who has visited the prison dozens of times, believes that Gitmo has long since left the island of Cuba and taken on a symbolic life of its own.

Comments [7]

Jack from Chicago

Michael Moore's mocumentaries can only be called popular relative to traditional documentaries. Leading punk rockers, certainly not leading in record sales. Britney's 911 calls sell more copies than Patti Smith's musical rantings. Harold and Kumar, the original, did less business than the last Rocky movie in which Rocky picks fights with other residents at the nursing home.

So one Law and Order episode is all your hanging your hat as evidence that Gitmo has become a recurrent pop-culture trope. I'm waiting for the Jay Leno man on the street interview where he asks passer-bys what Guantanamo is and I'll bet you 100-to-1 the answer is an avacado-based dip.

I only listen to Clear Channel for the tornado warnings.

Feb. 16 2008 02:46 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Let’s forget that Michael Moore turned documentary film making into something more than a minor category in the Oscars, a popular money making phenomenon.

Let’s forget that Patti Smith was one of the leading punk rockers from the ‘80s.

Let’s forget that the first Harold and Kumar movie was a commercial success.

Let’s talk about the recently repeated Law & Order (SVU, I believe) where the victim was an innocent immigrant cab driver, whose cousin was tied to terrorism not he, but died from the long term effects of the “stressful interrogation” he received in Gitmo and the ADA charged a NYC medical doctor, who advised the interrogators, with complicity in his death.

Is that popular enough culture for the blood thirsty, ready to strike out at anyone who looks like they might be an enemy? It isn’t the pap Clear Channel forces down our throats as so-called “pop” culture, but it has an audience and it isn’t the only television series script to deal with the issue.

Whatever those at Gitmo may be or not, I say provide the evidence in transparent court proceedings and prove it, which it appears may occur for six of them according the news since this report repeated. Otherwise, it might as well be called our Hanoi Hilton.

Feb. 13 2008 02:09 AM
Richard from Chicago

Well, Jack, it seems to be popular with the OTM crowd. Gitmo is an imperfect solution to a real problem: how many rights do we provide to Taliban and AQ captives? Are they POW’s, criminals of war, common criminals, or something entirely different (as I believe)? No one is having this debate in any meaningful and significant way.

Trite and meaningless displays of “pop culture” do nothing more than throw red meat to the usual suspects.

Feb. 11 2008 06:07 PM

Well, Jack, its certainly popular with the OTM crowd, small as it may be.

Feb. 11 2008 06:03 PM
Jack from Chicago

I thought the definition of pop culture was that it had to be popular. None of the media references were in any way popular in the traditional sense. I'm not sure Gitmo has any longstanding place in the national discourse.

Feb. 11 2008 11:22 AM
ws from midwest usa

al qaeda and taliban combatants have no habeas corpus
rights , that's ok with me.

they have not signed on to the GENEVA CONVENTION ON
they wear no uniforms so that they cannot
be identified.
they have no country, and are,therefore,a
stateless band of terrorists.
they attack innocent people not just military

their detention is under humane conditions, so
much so, that they have put on weight and
can pray and are even given korans and
prayer rugs. i wonder if they would afford
any captive they held wth the same
privledges. they have excellent medical
care and i wonder if they would give any
captives they held with the same level
of medical care. bin laden should
have it so good. end.

Feb. 10 2008 05:12 PM
Abie Philbin Bowman from Dublin, Ireland

There's more information about 'Jesus: The Guantanamo Years' at

There's also an MP3 of the show on sale through the site.

It will be launching on iTunes on March 17.


Feb. 10 2008 12:41 PM

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