The Elian FAQ

In which our man Durst clears up some of the confusion caused by the media morass around the ubiquitous tot.

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Q. How is the Justice Department trying to spin Sunday’s rescue mission to Reagan Democrats?

A. Encouraging the media to refer to it as “The Miami Smackdown.”

Q. Any surprise that, on the hostage tape, the kid said he wanted to stay here?

A.Who wouldn’t want to stay in a country where your foster family celebrates your birthday every day? Of course he wants to stay here. He’s six. We have toys that aren’t made out of dried clumps of dirt. We gave him a puppy and he didn’t have to eat it. We have more than one TV channel, and it isn’t devoted to the 47-part series: Secrets of Soviet Hydroponic Farming.

Q. What about the charges that the Feds substituted a different boy for the reunion pictures with his dad?

A. Oh yeah, that. Because his hair was longer, right? The smart money is on the theory that the critical hair length discrepancy was due to the fact that it had recently been washed.

Q. What’s Fidel’s reaction?

A. Hard to tell. Translators haven’t completed interpreting the speech he started on Sunday. They promise to get back to us as soon as he finishes, estimated to be sometime during the second week of May.

Q. How bout the Miami family’s accusations that if he goes back to Cuba, Elian will be exploited for political purposes?

A. That’s kind of like worrying about the pig after you already smoked the bacon.

Q. Huh?

A. Nothing. Never mind.

Q. When was it obvious that the Miami family’s cause was lost?

A. When the only politician they could get to wander around Andrews Air Force Base and DC with them was New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith. That’s the political equivalent of getting your picture taken with snot hanging out of your nose. Like throwing a party and the only guy who shows up is Robert Downey Jr.

Q. Who stands to gain the most from the whole Elian mess?

A. Probably trial lawyers who will be scouring kindergartens for other six year olds seeking asylum, promising to work for only a percentage of the relocation costs.

Q. Who will suffer the most?

A. Oh, there’s so many losers to choose from, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d say Al Gore, who doctors fear may have to wear a neck brace to recover from the whiplash he incurred from changing his position so fast.

Q. Why is this Dalrymple guy who found him in the Atlantic still hanging around?

A. Don’t know. It’s weird, like Kato Kaelin meets David Brenner.

Q. How does America fill the void left from no longer seeing this cute little kid on the tube every day?

A. A team of nationally recognized therapists recommends either Pfizer’s new extra-strength Elian Patch or a daily dose of Teletubbies. But don’t mix the two.

Q. Any foreseeable way out of this mad muddle besides a protracted court battle?

A. Yeah, we get Janet Reno to arrange a trade. We keep the kid and they get Dr. Laura Schlessinger. And as a bonus we’ll throw in that creepy little Pepsi girl as well.

Q. What’s next?

A. Well, if there are any marketing types out there with half a brain, they’ll sign the kid up for endorsements. How’s this sound: Elian’s Freedom-O’s. A fruity oat-based breakfast cereal shaped like little red, white, and blue lifesavers.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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