Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Demographics: Don't ask me how, but I got on some goofy left-wing mailing list. Saturday's mail featured a catalog of t-shirts, bumper stickers, and other totems of liberal groupthink. (The anti-Bush stuff is great simply for how it reveals the leftist mindset as pure foot-stamping three-year-old tantrum.) Anyway, the loads of Che stuff put me in mind of your question -- will we ever see Saddam on Che-style shirts or posters? I suppose not. Che got to be the Jimi Hendrix of the socialist revolution. He died before he could embarrass himself, sacrifice his principles (and people!), and generally embody the "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" principle. Fidel got to be the Rolling Stones of socialism (while Raul got to be the roadie) by living long enough to prove himself irrelevant, silly, and full of a lot of pointless noise. Sure, at one time he was the bad boy of the international scene -- on the Soviets' tab. Now he's a dinosaur of world affairs, a relic. We used to stay our hand (occasionally unsuccessfully) from trying half-assedly to topple him because of the cold war. Now we just have bigger fish to fry.

Saddam didn't have Castro's pedigree of international showmanship; he didn't luck out like Che and get croaked before he could prove himself another typical socialist sellout to power (memo: that arc is as inevitable as the sun across the sky) . He was more like Stalin: never the romantic-hero type, despite his attempts to create a rather transparent cult of personality (the Uncle Joe persona); a fairly obvious and cold-blooded climber from the get-go; a rube from the sticks who rose steadily and brutally through the party machinery to finally wield its power, and brutally. Few get misty about this type.

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