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A Day in My Life

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Above: Steve Bannon and Jonah Goldberg

On Saturday, I wrote a post about Fidel Castro. It is titled “Castro–It’s Complicated!” That’s because he was a complex man with a complex legacy. I used the post and a boatload of historical literature on these issues to do two things. First, I attempted to place Castro within the context of his time, both in terms of Cuban history and the larger history of postwar global revolutions. Most of you liked that. I also sought to point out the hypocrisy of American responses to Castro given our own history. The response to this was more mixed, but that’s fine. In general though, the point was that Castro was a very complex person who needs to be seen in a larger context. Fairly uncontroversial generally, especially given that around some parts of the old left there were outright lamentations for his passing, although most of the left had pretty complex takes on it.

Earlier today, I was contacted by the press person for Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News to appear to talk about my Castro essay. First, LOL. Yes, please make me your piñata for the evening. What fun. I mentioned this to Lemieux earlier today and he pointed me to what my interview would look like. I didn’t even respond to the bow-tied jerk.

But then, why did this happen? How on earth did this come to their attention? I found this really confusing, especially given the tone of the essay. The post literally says “It’s Complicated!” But of course I remembered the Professor Watch List, which I am on. And so I figured I should at least investigate this a little bit. So I put my name into Google News. And lo and behold, it is of course originating from terrible, poorly written stories by right-wing students funded by the larger fascist funding network. I mean, could you at least spell my name correctly in the various paragraphs when you discuss me? Or at least incorrectly in the same way? It’s like some kid who gets a D in my class all of a sudden gets hired to write for Rolling Stone or something.

But here’s how the fascist networks operate. Low level functionaries get paid something I guess to gather the red meat. And then it spreads up the line, presumably without anybody even reading any of it. Again, this is based on a post actually saying that Castro’s legacy is nothing more than complicated. The kid uses quotes from it that are literally “Castro did this one thing was good but on the other hand did this other thing that was bad.” But if we know one thing in 2016, it’s that truth does not matter. So it started going up the food chain. First, Laura Ingraham’s lifestyle site (what!?!) grabbed it. Evidently, they employ an editor because my name was spelled correctly.

Who grabbed it then? Why none other than Steve Bannon, Inc. Yes, I was attacked in the official publication of the incoming president of the United States.

Many professors at universities across the United States have praised Castro for his efforts in combating colonialism, capitalism, and racism.

Erik Loomis, a professor of history at the University of Rhode Island, praised Castro as a champion of social justice, calling the dictator “a tremendously complex person who attempted to rebuild a society around ideas of justice while also refusing to allow democratic institutions to form.”

Loomis goes on to add that in his several decades at the helm of leadership in Cuba, Castro brought “outstanding medical care and education to his own people and the poor around the world while limiting the ability of educated people to use their skills at home.”

He called Castro, along with Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara and communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh, “an inspiration for billions of people around the world seeking freedom from colonial overlords.”

Like Loomis, 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders came under fire during the Democratic primaries for an interview he gave in 1985 in which he praised Castro for his efforts in bringing healthcare and education to Cuba.

Let’s step back a second here.

calling the dictator “a tremendously complex person who attempted to rebuild a society around ideas of justice while also refusing to allow democratic institutions to form.”

So, like, someone who tried to do some good things but also really screwed up? Wow, I truly wish I was on the front lines with Pol Pot in 1976. And then:

He called Castro, along with Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara and communist revolutionary Ho Chi Minh, “an inspiration for billions of people around the world seeking freedom from colonial overlords.”

That’s crazy. Actual demonstrable facts undisputed by any professional historian. Might as well be a member of the NKVD torturing some poor sap for a forced confession in 1938 Stalinist Soviet Union!

I do like how they segue straight from me to one Bernie Sanders. Also, if the following video of Bernie praising Castro proves one thing, it’s that the Trump campaign would have had no red meat to attack Sanders with and thus Bernie would have walked away with the presidency if only Democrats hadn’t nominated that huge sellout $hillery.

From there, it has gone to the most dishonest human being on the internet. That’s right, one Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism: Two Words Next to Each Other. After wrapping himself in his sexual fantasy of what George Orwell stood for instead of the actual Orwell with his tremendous commitment to justice, he writes:

Such un-nuanced arguments always make leftist eyes roll. As University of Rhode Island professor Eric Loomis put it, “Castro: It’s Complicated!” cautioning against thinking “in terms of simplistic moral judgments.” It seems to me that when people want to ban simplistic moral judgments, it’s usually because simple morality is not on their side.

Some of us would call nuanced arguments and a lack of simplistic moral judgments “critical thinking.” But then this is Jonah Goldberg, so LOL.

To my knowledge, this is as far as it has gone. This is so transparently stupid that I can’t imagine it going any farther. But again, this is part of a well-funded plan to intimidate professors from speaking out. And let’s not beat around the bush–Breitbart is Trump’s publication. It’s entirely possible and in fact probable that I am going to become a frequent target of attack in a nation with declining freedoms. You can imagine that I don’t feel that comfortable right now. But as I have said before and will continue to say, this is the moment where you decide whether you will stand up to fascism or whether you acquiesce to make your life easier. This level of previously unfathomable intimidation is going to continue and get worse. I will fight until the end. Being tough in the face of this and publishing more rather than less is the only answer. And despite the fact that facts don’t actually matter to these people, if they want to attack me on issues of historical fact backed up with dozens if not hundreds of books and articles of historical and other scholarly literature, go for it.

In conclusion:

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