Yeah, sure, he was the root antagonist of American politics during the early days of the Cold War, but who could possibly resist young Joseph Stalin? (Seriously, quit stalin’ and get into my bed. Now.)
As much as I try to rid myself of understanding history as a succession of Great Men/People, it’s still tempting to try to be the Nelson Mandela of my generation. I’ve been known to create archetypes in the story of my own life, and construct protagonists and antagonists in narratives about my own reality. My “woke” friends and I are guilty of calling Malcolm X and young Joseph Stalin “activist bae,” and wearing Che Guevara shirts as badges of honor. I—with my ambitions to create a more equal society—still find myself attracted to the political equivalent of seeing my name in lights.