In today’s Impromptus, I talk about a ride with a Greek taxi driver — not in Greece, but here in the New York area. It’s a cliché to talk about taxi drivers. It can be interesting nonetheless. This particular cabbie, on the way to Newark Airport, said, “You know who Alexander Hamilton is?” I said I did. Pointing, he said, “That’s where they fought the duel — over there.”
I mentioned this to our Rick Brookhiser, an expert on Hamilton, as on other Founders, as on other subjects. He said his “favorite cabbie history comment” came from a driver in Massachusetts, “with a thick Southie accent.” Referring to the American revolutionaries, he said, “T’ank Gawd for dose characters or we’d still be tawkin’ English!”
Rick said his “most striking cabbie history comment” came from a driver in New York, originally from Tashkent, and Jewish, by the by. He praised Stalin as Russia’s greatest ruler — because “he wore one coat [i.e., was not venal] and he keeled Germany.”
I’ve heard worse apologias from Marxist professors . . .