Hitchens, Wisconsin & the Lincoln Brigade

March 4, 2011
By

Clarence Kailin, Wisconsin ALB vet

“Don’t mess with Wisconsin,” Christopher Hitchens tells his Vanity Fair readers this week, recalling the state’s solid progressive tradition:

To make a stop in Madison, either as author or speaker or both, used to be no ordinary part of a radical tour. You bumped up against a tradition that went back a good deal further than the 60s. On one occasion I remember getting into conversation with a fit and wiry old man in a plaid shirt, who had bought one of my books and stayed around to make a few dialectical points. It emerged that he had been a volunteer in theAbraham Lincoln Brigade. I was immediately embarrassed at having taken his money, and asked the staff to void out his credit card payment and charge it to me. In a Madison bookstore it didn’t take any time to explain why a fighter for Republican Spain didn’t have to buy his own book—or, subsequently, his own drinks. In fact, I think the shop ended up paying for the whole treat out of its own emaciated budget.

More here.

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