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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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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