Saturday evening I watched a C-SPAN rerun in which a historian talked about Ernest Hemingway. Some of the talk was on Hemingway as a well-known seeker of danger. Much of the address concerned the possibility that Soviet intelligence agents recruited or attempted to recruit Hemingway after the Spanish Civil War. The speaker concluded Soviet intelligence put out feelers, but were unsuccessful. An FBI file, the speaker said, had in Director J. Edgar Hoover’s handwriting a note that Hemingway was not a Soviet agent.
Phrasing of all too many questions from the audience indicated a belief that some sort of logic permeated Soviet NKVD, NGB and KGB. Doctrine and Stalinism, yes. But logic? No.
Other questions from the almost all over-55 audience showed that some people cannot let go. The enemies of the past – Eugene McCarthy, the House Un-American Activities Committee – are the enemies of now, in those old minds.