While most people know that Ernest Hemingway loved bullfights and supported Castro and the Cuban Revolution, earlier I stumbled onto an interesting biographical detail that has heretofore been kept quiet.

Hemingway used to watch murders:

Fontova writes about influential Cuban agents in the United States and how the mainstream media continues to suck up to the Castro brothers in his new book, perhaps his most shockingly lurid anecdote is of writer Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Cuba at the time of the Cuban Revolution.

“Hemingway hailed Castro’s revolution as ‘very pure and beautiful,’” Fontova said. “He was also a guest of honor at many of Che Guevara’s firing squad massacres. Hemingway loved to watch Che’s firing squads murder hundreds of Cubans. Hemingway would watch the massacres from a picnic chair while sipping Daiquiris.”

Fontova’s source for this troubling detail of Hemingway’s life is a former employee of late Paris Review editor George Plimpton who says his traumatized boss once told him how Hemingway took him to one such fire squad social gathering.

It appears to be true, but it never appeared in any of Hemingway’s adoring biographies. I guess Hemingway thought the murder victims didn’t matter, or maybe that they “had it coming,” for he praised Castro and his regime.

This is not to detract from Hemingway’s writing, but I see no reason why his dark side has to be airbrushed out of existence. And watching Communists murder people in cold blood is dark, is it not? If, OTOH, it doesn’t represent his dark side — which it wouldn’t to people who believe Communist murderers and their supporters are to be admired — then why are they not praising Hemingway for it?

Speaking of interesting biographical details that are generally kept quiet, it turns out that another popular author, Oscar Wilde, was quite an admirer of the Confederacy. So much so that when he visited the United States, he made a point of paying an admiring visit to Jefferson Davis, the one American Wilde wanted to meet above all others:

While on his tour of the United States in 1882, there was one man Wilde wanted to meet above all others. No, not Walt Whitman (although the two did meet—and share a kiss—at Whitman’s New Jersey home that January). It was Jefferson Davis, former president of the Confederacy. Wilde finally got his chance on June 27, 1882, when he blew through Beauvoir, Mississippi on his way to Montgomery, Alabama to deliver a lecture on “Decorative Art” at the local opera house. The seemingly mismatched pair actually found they had a lot in common. Wilde remarked on the similarities between the American South and his native Ireland: both had fought to attain self-rule and both had lost. He went on to declare that “The principles for which Jefferson Davis and the South went to war cannot suffer defeat.”

Supporting the Confederacy hardly fits fits the conventional Oscar Wilde narrative. Hemingway watching Communist firing squads is probably a better fit for the Hemingway narrative.

Alas! There’s no picture of Wilde and Davis.

But both truths will probably remain hidden away from the sight of ordinary students of either author.

It’s narrative uber alles.

As Victor Davis Hanson observed earlier,

Like Orwell’s dead souls, we live in an age of statist mythology, in which unpleasant facts are replaced by socially useful lies. So we print the legend that better serves our fantasies.

Hey, I’m as human as anyone, and I enjoy having my fantasies served as much as the next man. But I also like to know the truth — at least as closely as it can be ascertained.

Or is caring about the truth only for losers and weak-kneed wimps? Sometimes I wonder…