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“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”
— Thucydides

“A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”
— Jean-François Revel

Drinks with Che

Saturday, November 26, 2005

In Salt Lake City where I'm visiting for the weekend, drinking is something of a more rebellious activity than elsewhere, due to the more restrictive state and local liquor laws. To have a drink in a bar, for example, one must pay dues and become a “member”, or else come as the guest of a paid-up member — a regulation whose practical utility in curbing irresponsible drinking I must admit I'm skeptical of.

The amusing upside of this is that it lends the bars that do operate here that certain special “je ne sais quoi” that goes with all things forbidden. And if you're decorating a den of quasi-forbidden libations in this town, what more perfect icon of fashionable rebelliousness to grace its walls than the omnipresent Che? Such is the fare at the “defiantly hip” Red Door downtown, where I ducked in for a couple of drinks with friends tonight. If I didn't know better, I might have thought I was back home in left-wing San Francisco.

It continues to bewilder me how people manage to associate this fellow with rebelliousness. Is there any more certain road to capricious, illiberal totalitarian rule than that which Guevarra and his ideological comrades represent?

“Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué”