Thursday, January 29, 2015
Fidel Castro: Heir of Sam Adams and Patrick Henry, Tom Paine and Thomas Jefferson
"For Fidel Castro swept into Washington last Wednesday night not only out of another world, the world of fierce Latin passion, but also out of another century — the century of Sam Adams and Patrick Henry and Tom Paine and Thomas Jefferson. Perhaps because he stirred memories, long dimmed, of a revolutionary past, and recalled a revolutionary ardor, once deeply felt ("Bliss was it on that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven"), Fidel Castro succeeded in achieving a suspension of disbelief — at least partial and temporary." — E.W. Kenworthy. The New York Times, April 19, 1959, p. E7
No, the adulation was not limited to Castro's creator, the unctuous Herbert Matthews, with his throbbing Pygmalion man-crush; but was embraced by all and sundry at The New York Times both before and after 1959. E[dwin] W[entworth] Kenworthy was The Times' correspondent in Washington, D.C. He is reporting on Castro's visit to the capital during his 11-day "victory tour" of the United States, in April 1959, which included a ticket tape parade down Wall Street's "Canyon of Heroes," a snubbing by President Eisenhower (who went golfing rather than meet the man that his State Department had vetted and installed in power four months earlier), visits to the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and Mount Vernon, and a day-long excursion to New York's Central Park, where he poked his finger inside a tiger's cage (not quite wrestling with lions, as his hero Mussolini had done, but still metaphorical enough).
I googled this passage and confirmed that no one had quoted it in 56 years. Suspiciously, there wasn't even a link to The New York Times' Archives. Its inclusion on this blog is its only citation on Google. I wonder how many other gems are buried in The Times' Archives? More, no doubt, than they would like to publicize. Something else to look into when blizzards (don't) strike.