Do It Simply with Your Own Hands

Regina Cano 

“Simply, do it simply, do it with your own hands and la la la…” sing the voices in the introduction of a program on Cuba’s “Multivision” television network.

They explain how to care for and feed your baby, how to make a lamp, a table, an apron, a plastic bag or a stained-glass window.  Everything you need for your home – quick and pretty.

Many women see it as something exorbitant and a as goal that’s difficult to reach.  They try — by substitution — to equal the materials on TV with those they already possess or can get hold of in our situation.

Beautiful works presented by beautiful women using beautiful new paintbrushes with synthetic bristles – straight, trim and fine.   They have their various tubes of acrylic paint, also new, and use each material with no attempt to scrimp or save.  “Make sure the bristles are dry and even.  Only dip in the tips…”

The method is fine.  The issue is the how they’re trying to push it on us.

This is what happens to children watching the program “Art Attack,” and it drives their mothers crazy.

It seems they continue bringing us everything that the rest of the world throws away, other people’s symbols of behavior and consumption.  This becomes another goal for Cubans to strive for and is something that accentuates the attempt to evade or distract us from what’s happening on the street.

Meanwhile the screen makes kids feel like Barbie, because it creates products for them.

The problem begins when the program concludes and the TV’s turned off.

I have to agree with a person who commented to me that in their neighborhood, people have begun to call Multivision the “Channel for ‘Mikis’1” and Cubavision2 the “Channel for ‘Repas’3.”

It seems that each channel tries to think of some target group while missing the boat in terms of the economic concerns of the majority of us.

1 “Mikis”: From Mickey Mouse.  This began as a name for those teenagers (“valley girl” types) who flaunt their purchasing power (supposed from their families).  They sometimes mesh with other urban groups, especially in terms of music.  (This note isn’t attempting to be absolute).

2 Cubavision:  One of the two earliest Cuban television channels still in existence.

3 “Repas”:  Another name for youth who prefer reggaeton, salsa and rap music.  They sometimes cross the limits of other groups.  (This note isn’t attempting to be absolute).


Regina Cano

Regina Cano: I have lived my entire life in Havana, Cuba – the island from which I’ve still never left, and which I love. I was born on September 9, and my parents chose my name out of superstition, but my mother raised me outside the religion professed by her family. I studied accounting and finance at the University of Havana, a profession that I’m not engaged in for the time being, and that I substituted for doing crafts, some ceramics, and studying a little English and about painting. Ah! – concerning my picture: I identify with Rastafarian principles, but I am not one of them. I wear this cap from time to time, but I assure you I just didn't have a better picture.

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