Friday, October 26, 2007

Re: Che

Indeed. The piece I wrote about Che Guevara wasn't favorable. It also wasn't targeted at people like Kirchick that have already written Guevara off as a bad guy -- it was targeted at the idealistic lefty college student wearing the Che T-shirt.

But the bigger point here is this: Kirchick has written Che Guevara off as "evil." This is a pretty dangerous thing when you're talking about leaders, whether current or historical. The world, much as people like to think, isn't made up of "good guys" and "evil" leaders. It's a good way of dehumanizing opposition. I recall the word "evil" applied many times to Saddam Hussein before (and after) the invasion of Iraq. I was trying to look at Guevara as a human being, and a very imperfect one at that. Forgive me for trying to have a nuanced view of this infamous historical figure.


Matt Zeitlin said...

"nuanced view"...Sorry Kay, but Kirchick doesn't really recognize the value of that nuance thing. Oh yeah, and pointing out that his Manichean world view is the one that got us into Iraq, well that's a compliment in Kirchick-world.

Show moral courage Kay! How dare you be soft on totalitarianism, you squishy leftist you! You're just like those silly intellectuals who had the hots for Stalin! OMG the Left is teh evel! Be more like Scoop Jackson, Bayard Rustin and Harry Truman!!! (end Kirchick mode).

In all seriousness, it was a good piece. Critiquing Che from the stance of a fiery anti-communist isn't going to convince any idealistic, confused kid wearing the shirt. Showing what an asshole he was, from a point of view that isn't calling the Che shirt wearer evil will probably more effective that Kirchick's method.

Dr Zen said...

Your piece was a bit of a dog though. Che wasn't the same kind of progressive as you? Well, dur. I doubt any rightist governments are shivering with fear at the blatherings of centre-leftists, to be honest. But someone with real fire, who wants to make a real change, not compromise their way into oblivion, well, I give them a pass for being a bit assholey.

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