Carlos Eire, eminent professor of history and religious studies at Yale helpfully explains the mythical spell of Fidel Castro:
Oddly enough, some will mourn his passing, and many an obituary will praise him… Because deceit was one of Fidel Castro’s greatest talents, and gullibility is one of the world’s greatest frailties. A genius at myth-making, Castro relied on the human thirst for myths and heroes. His lies were beautiful, and so appealing. According to Castro and to his propagandists, the so-called revolution was not about creating a repressive totalitarian state and securing his rule as an absolute monarch, but rather about eliminating illiteracy, poverty, racism, class differences and every other ill known to humankind. This bold lie became believable, thanks largely to Castro’s incessant boasting about free schools and medical care, which made his myth of the benevolent utopian revolution irresistible to many of the world’s poor.
Many intellectuals, journalists and educated people in the First World fell for this myth, too — though they would have been among the first to be jailed or killed by Castro in his own realm — and their assumptions acquired an intensity similar to that of religious convictions. Pointing out to such believers that Castro imprisoned, tortured and murdered thousands more of his own people than any other Latin American dictator was usually futile. His well-documented cruelty made little difference, even when acknowledged, for he was judged according to some aberrant ethical code that defied logic.
The rest is here. HT: Alan Jacobs
I regularly read the blog posts of the eminent, New Testament scholar, Larry Hurtado. His blog can be found here: https://larryhurtado.wordpress.com.
In a recent post on the death of Umberto Eco, Hurtado reflects on one of Eco’s books:
The book is fundamentally (it seems to me) an extended “send-up” of people who itch after exotic, esoteric stuff, disdaining what they view as simple notions, and conspiracy addicts (who, for example, insist that the moon landings took place on a Hollywood stage), the sort of people who mistake Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code as anything other than an easy “beach read.” (I’m told that Eco was once asked what he thought of Brown’s book, and he replied, “Dan Brown is a character in Foucault’s Pendulum!”)