Arnold Beichman, R.I.P.

by Richard Brookhiser

How far back did Arnold go? He told me once about working for PM, a left-wing New York newspaper (in those days, the New York Post was quite liberal, but PM made it look blue dog). Reporters were putting on a Gridiron-like show in Albany, and in one sketch Arnold was playing Stalin. As he made himself up, Governor Dewey came through the green room, took a look at Arnold, and muttered, “Type casting.”

Now, the irony of this was that Arnold was a devoted anti-Communist, both in his left-wing days and his later winger days.

How devoted? Arnold and I were part of a junket of journalists who went to the Soviet Union in the late eighties. One day in Leningrad we took the subway to Nevsky Prospekt and walked to the Winter Palace. It was late afternoon; the square before the building was empty. The sky was green; the statuary on the roof looked like spectators, or perhaps frozen bodies. Arnold muttered, “Kerensky, that jerk—if only he’d shot a few people, millions would be alive.” R.I.P.

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