February 17, 2005
Commies Aren't Cool
Normally I don't go in for ideology-wear. The bumper stickers and ribbons that people stick to themselves or their cars as tribal markings or expressions of "concern" don't usually interest me. However, I admit there is one exception: Che Guevara. He's everywhere. How many people do you have to kill these days to become a pop icon? Why doesn't Hitler get a t-shirt, or Stalin? Where's my Pol Pot special edition iPod?
It seems that by remaining an emotionally retarded adolescent for his entire (and thankfully brief) life, Guevara has somehow earned a spot on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams - right up there with Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. There is evidently no limit to his marketability. He's on t-shirts, stickers and even...well...just see for yourselves. (I can't bear to describe it.)
It's been bugging me for years, but finally there's a solution. Normally I don't go in for ideology-wear, but I'm making an exception in this case.
by Sterling at 07:38 AM GMT
Maybe it's not Che, but idolatry more generally, that is the indicator here of something more sinister afoot.
For example, perhaps a penchant for idolatry correlates with totalitarian leanings. There aren't many T-shirts with Hayek on them, for example, or Nash.
Posted by: Stefan on February 17, 2005 10:53 AM
Most people don't know Che was a murderous thug. They see him as a cuddly poster boy like a young Jim Morrisson with a gun.
Howevever, I don't see why idolizing a communist thug is any worse than idolizing Reagan, Bush Jr, Sharon, or any other power hungry madman.
Che and his followers were sick of the poverty and the serfdom of the common people. They were sick of the fat cat rulers. They did something about it, and it unfortunately turned them into paranoid psychpaths just like the people they were trying to stop.
But as the leftists of today have nothing left, I say let them have their Che toddler wear.
Posted by: Sloth on February 17, 2005 02:14 PM
I'd like to think that Che Guevara is rolling over in his grave at a pretty fast clip as a result of all the commercialism (and profit) that has been made in his name.
but c'mon Sterling- he's cuter than Fidel. and for Latin America, he wasn't all that murderous. and maybe they were "acceptable casualties"?
Posted by: mike on February 17, 2005 02:27 PM
Sterling: I'll stop thinking of you as a one-note whiner when Prince Harry shows up at a costume ball dressed as Castro.
Posted by: Mr. 99th Percentile on February 17, 2005 02:52 PM
Minor Nit. When are Americans going to figure out that when you use the international "Aino" (as in "Aino left turn allowed here") symbol, the slash goes from upper left to lower right. Ghostbusters screwed it up, and the rest of the country just fell in line.
Posted by: Rance on February 17, 2005 03:58 PM
Come on Sterling, who says Che's not cute and cuddly? I've got an F The French T-Shirt on order now, I just wonder if I can get it in a 3-T too. Not nearly as good as my "Kick Their Ass and Take Their Gas" one from Desert Storm, but it'll have to do in a pinch. That Coulter one is kind of frightening, but either extreme always is.
I think the appeal of Che is that he was, well, an ass kicker with a cause. Sure, he might not agree with some folks world view, but he's kind of like the Babe Ruth of Cuba. He pointed over the fence, and then hit someone's mom's head there.
Stefan, you are right, the disturbing undercurrent is the of idolatry more than Che. LIBERTAD!
Posted by: Sanford on February 17, 2005 06:16 PM
I also like the Fry Mumia t-shirt.
Posted by: Sterling on February 17, 2005 06:21 PM
That's odd. They mispelled "free" on that T-Shirt you linked to, Sterling.
An old roommate of mine had a "French Football is Rubbish" shirt that I think would pose a dilemma to Sterling: to wear (because it disses the French) or not to wear (because it talks about an "unamerican" sport).
Posted by: mike on February 17, 2005 06:40 PM
Football (aka soccer) is not an un-American sport - our girls speak very highly of it, and apparently play quite well.
Posted by: Sterling on February 17, 2005 07:37 PM
I just recently started following this blog, but, man, Sterling, you have really got the bratty contrarian frowning down. you're constantly towing hard lines, and always tacking against the wind, aren't you? the stances you take are so brave!
Posted by: tiny sticks on February 18, 2005 09:26 PM
Tiny, this site is all about contrarian, self-serving stances. We can't help it if we're too real for you.
Posted by: mike on February 18, 2005 09:57 PM
the stances you take are so brave!
Someone must be willing to confront the creeping menace of the Che Guevara t-shirts. If I should be struck down in the struggle, doubtless another noble citizen would pick up the banner and carry it to the end.
Posted by: Sterling on February 18, 2005 11:05 PM
When will people who take hard stances begin to offer hard evidence to back up what they say? One or two references to some literature maybe, so we can judge the validity of your statements based on your sources.
Posted by: julian on February 19, 2005 06:45 AM
It's possible that references aren't necessary; you must have known Che, - can speak from first hand experience and were involved personally in the various struggles he was a part of.
Julian, it's called reading. I didn't know Hitler personally but I gather he wasn't a very nice man.
Posted by: Jame on February 19, 2005 07:59 AM
...the various struggles...
Look, history has demonstrated that the intellectuals who were so enamoured of communism were a bunch of poseurs and dupes - "useful idiots" in Lenin's phrasing. Che Guevara was no different - a bored elite, he found a cause to entertain himself. If he was alive today he'd probably become an Everquest addict instead.
As for those people who are still enamoured of "the struggle," well, I encourage you to attend a U.S. Socialist Workers Party meeting if you want to see what "lowest common denominator" means in practice.
Posted by: Sterling on February 19, 2005 04:04 PM