How soon they forget

President Biden’s recent meeting with Vladimir Putin got me thinking of Nikita Khrushchev. And, yes, I had to look up the spelling. Who knew you could cram so many Hs into a name?
I was just seven years old when I watched him on TV proclaiming, “We will bury you.” That was in 1956, but you don’t forget something like that. Especially when your parents explain the “you” he was talking about was “us.”
If you want to appreciate how those words resonated throughout the world, get this: Khrushchev was named Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1957.
This is why I am shocked every September when I present my course syllabus to the students in my Feature Writing class. I include a list of quotations on writers and writing. One is this:
“It is not without question that writers in our country are called engineers of the human soul.”
That’s from – if you have not guessed – Nikita Khrushchev.
I often quip that he could have added, “and that’s why they must be eliminated.”
But no one gets it.
That’s because no one ever heard of Nikita Khrushchev.
So much for burying us.

Ed Ackerman