Things trend in political prisons, too—the political captives at Guantanamo prison in Cuba have grown tired of Harry Potter and have moved on to “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” according to the prison librarian (who is, of course, named Milton). The How to Train Your Dragon books have also become popular of late, as have Westerns.
Of the decline in interest in J.K. Rowling’s books and movies, Milton, a civilian Defense Department contractor, said “They’re over that; it’s been more than a year.”
Most captives are detained in cell blocks of 20 men equipped with one plexiglass protected flat screen television that they’re able to watch together at pretty much all hours (anyone else imagining that pit prison from The Dark Knight Rises?). The maximum security prisoners can watch TV in a solo cell, where they can sit in a recliner with an ankle shackled to the floor, which must make actually reclining kind of awkward.
Most of the prisoners use the books and TV shows to improve their English. If the film and literature trends that have swept Guantanamo are any indication, they’re all talking like a cowboy Will Smith who’s trying to hide a British accent. Some of the captives are staying at Guantanamo voluntarily while they wait for a country to accept them as refugees. Other popular titles amongst the mostly Muslim, Arabic speaking captives have been True Grit and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series.
I wonder how many of the 168 captives of Guantanamo can sing the entire “Fresh Prince” theme song, like my entire high school class could (fairly sure it was a graduation requirement, actually), or what they're getting out of watching Will Smith goof around Bel Air. One thing's for sure--unless Milton gets them We Are Legend soon, they're going to be sorely disappointed when they realize how old Will Smith looks when they get out.