Thursday, October 14, 2004

There is, of course, a very broad range of opinions about the commercial iconization of Che Guevara. Does he belong on not just thousands of $30 college-town t-shirts, but on thong underwear, as he can now be seen? Was Madonna within her rights to so explicitly invoke him on the cover of this album?

Most speculation on the subject involves politics. But why? Let's throw that whole stinking fishkettle right out. Let's focus on the iconic image itself, stripped of ideology. First of all: the image is a stylized depiction of an actual photo. In the original photo, the viewer can see that Mr. Guevara is wearing an outfit I can only describe as "Commie from Space". Very slick. Why on earth would this sartorial panache be removed in the mass produced, stylized image? Wouldn't Che's devotees want potential new recruits to see Che's sci-fi pinko getup?

Secondly, and much more importantly: there is little serious debate about the fact that Mr. Guevara, whatever one thinks of his politics, was a stone fox. Yet the only image we see of him on a daily basis completely obscures this fact! Why is it just that same damn frowny, heavy-browed visage, when it could have been something far more crowd-pleasing like puppy-lovin' Che? Cigar bar Che? Introspective matinee idol Che? I'm just saying.


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