The Revolution in My Head - Che gives me Nightmares
October 5, 2006 11:45 AM   Subscribe

So I have been reading this biography of Che Guevera, and I find it gives me nightmares... Why?

Now, I have no connection to Latin America, briefly lived in a Communist country (so I am not scared of Reds really), the period I am reading about now was before I was born, and I have a degree in History so I have read this kind of thing a lot - I never felt much personal impact.

There is no real reason for this to scare me, but it does. Any idea why or has anyone else been scared by a historical figure they really have no connection to?
posted by Deep Dish to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Are you being chased by a motorcycle?
posted by riotgrrl69 at 12:06 PM on October 5, 2006


I'm currently reading Thomas Friedman's book "From Beirut to Jerusalem" and I can tell you that it scares me. There isn't one particular historical figure that is more scary than the others, they are all scary. When you read a book like that and realize how violent this world really is, then you would be crazy not to be scared.
posted by Vindaloo at 12:08 PM on October 5, 2006


It might be more about how the book is written - it's a creative work even though it's about real events. I'd guess it's affecting you in the same way that particular movies or novels can just stick in your imagination.

The other possibility is that you read or saw something about Che years ago when you were more impressionable (children tend to get much more involved in things than adults) and this is bringing that back up.

Or maybe there are just subtle parallels that creep you out. The murders of left-wing activists in Germany in the 1920's really affect me, and I sort of know why, but not completely.
posted by crabintheocean at 12:19 PM on October 5, 2006


What happens in the nightmares? I'm curious now!
posted by crabintheocean at 12:26 PM on October 5, 2006


Can you talk more about what seems to be scaring you?

My off the cuff answer would be that you're scared because Che was a (seemingly) good man, who became a bad man, who many people who should know better insist was a good man through and through. He scares the hell out of me in a way that Hitler doesn't because I see too many people who also care about the things I care about venerating him.
posted by OmieWise at 12:30 PM on October 5, 2006


Or maybe it isn't Che. Maybe you're just having nightmares (too much cheese?) and because you're reading that book, that's the form the nightmares take.
posted by crabintheocean at 12:38 PM on October 5, 2006


I had chalked it up to bad food etc the first time it happened, but this is a big thick brick of a book and I have been reading it for a while and this has happened a few times.

I don't remember the content of the dreams, just that I wake up scared - and it is related to Che

My off the cuff answer would be that you're scared because Che was a (seemingly) good man, who became a bad man, who many people who should know better insist was a good man through and through. He scares the hell out of me in a way that Hitler doesn't because I see too many people who also care about the things I care about venerating him.

This crossed my mind and I would tend to agree with this analysis of Che but I still don't think this is the answer.
posted by Deep Dish at 12:43 PM on October 5, 2006


Look I don't even believe it, but it was the first thing that crossed my mind:

Are you Che, reincarnated?
posted by unixrat at 1:21 PM on October 5, 2006


Which biography, by whom, if you don't mind my asking?
posted by fuzzbean at 2:08 PM on October 5, 2006


Which biography, by whom, if you don't mind my asking?

Che Guevera A Revolutionary Life by Jon Anderson
posted by Deep Dish at 2:13 PM on October 5, 2006


OmieWise: Can I assume that, when you say he "became a bad man", you refer to his work with the trials and executions of Baptistas, etc.? Or is there something else?

Ever since I heard Suicide's song "Che", with the line, "said he was a saint/but I know he ain't", I've been sort of intrigued by this reverse-idolatry, if I can call it that.
posted by stinkycheese at 2:41 PM on October 5, 2006


Che was a murderer on a grand scale - a butcher, really - and a terrorist, all in the name of an extremist ideology. Killing other people effectively, and teaching others how to kill effectively, was something he took pride in. I'm sure that he would have reveled in being labeled a 'terrorist' - he certainly showed the way to a lot of modern folks who get called terrorists.

And for that reason his story is really resonant with a lot of modern fears. 19 virtually unarmed people taking down 4 airliners and two skyscrapers would have been just his style. He was ruthless and ruthlessly effective.

I always got the idea he wouldn't fit in very well to the communal society on whose behalf he was supposedly struggling. I know if I saw him coming down the street I'd run like hell.
posted by ikkyu2 at 6:16 PM on October 5, 2006


I had dreams about that book, too, when I was reading it. I thought it was just because it was so detailed, thorough and engrossing. It's just one of those books that takes a lot of brain power to process.

Other dream-inducers for me have been John Updike's Rabbit books and We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda.
posted by Airhen at 7:34 PM on October 5, 2006


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