.. it's unlikely that all the pseudo-hipsters who buy their Che t-shirts at Urban Outfitters will stop wearing them. No. These t-shirts send a message which effectively boils down to this: I have vague left-wing sympathies but don't read history. I am educated enough to want nonconformity but not intelligent enough to avoid conformity. I believe in supporting the wretched of the earh but happlily purchase products from multinational corporations.
It's all part of a history of reducing the genuine struggles of peoples around the world for social justice to pretty baubles, from Jane Fonda's Radio Hanoi broadcasts to Madonna mugging in guerilla gear to TV personality Tim Vincent wearing a hammer-and-sickle shirt on "Access Hollywood." In 2007, Cameron DIaz carried a Maoist messenger bag while sightseeing in Peru and was forced to apologize -- 70,000 Peruvians were murdered by the Maoist Shining path in the '80s and '90s. At least with Che chic, the idiocy is dreamy and romantic and you can pretend that wearing his face is all about being your, riding motorcycles, and having South American-level sex; Mao was responsible for the death of 60 million people -- he makes Hitler look like an amateur.
joi, februarie 05, 2009
This is part of a February Esquire article by Stephen Marche. It is for my friend IUnda, with whom I've often talked about people who wear communist symbols, although they know nothing about it.