The Executioner vs. The Rock Star

Whose image is more recognizable, El che or John Lennon?

Exhibit explores appeal of “Che” image 40 years after revolutionary’s death

The immortalized face of the Latin American idealist certainly has become — to the joy of some and to the disappointment of others — a constant presence in the Western world. The face, which is printed on shirts, mugs, posters, folders, pins and key chains — and which some have made indelible by tattooing it on their bodies — is now an omnipresent symbol that transcends geographical and generational borders. Beegan confirmed this a short time ago, when he was teaching a class at New Brunswick High School. He showed the class a painting that had arrived from Cuba that featured the faces of Che Guevara and John Lennon in their most popular portrayals beneath the word “Imagine.”
The kids in the class asked their professor who the guy in the picture was.
“Che Guevara,” Beegan answered.
“No, no,” the students said. “The other one, the guy who’s to the left of Che.”
To Beegan’s surprise, the Argentine idealist — executed 40 years ago — was more recognizable to members of this new generation than the British idealist murdered 25 years ago.

There’s just no end to the damn thing. Again, for the zillionth time, I have to ask; how it is that people who wouldn’t be caught dead with an image of Hitler just refuse to face the truth about che. Is it ignorance, stupidity, anti-Americanism, or a not so subtle racism? If we were talking about someone who murdered and subjugated Swedes, I have to say, I don’t believe there would the international cult of che.
Read the article here.

H/T: Humberto Fontova

4 thoughts on “The Executioner vs. The Rock Star”

  1. Ziva,
    I think that you hit the nail on the head! There is a component of racism in this Che adoration. If he had killed Swedes, etc.., he would not be seen as a hero. In fact, the entire notion of communism is racist at the core. When anyone defends Castro the first thing that he or she brings up is that Castro gives Cubans “free education and healthcare,” and many will even say that “freedom is a first world notion” not applicable to thirdworld people which is how they see us even though Cuba was far from a third world country when Castro took over.
    You see, to them since we are seen as inherently inferior, [like cattle in a farm], we only need to be fed and educated [ educated mind you, even though we don’t have the right to read what we choose, this is a right reserved for first world people].
    Ironically, Che adorers while seeing themselves as the exact opposite of imperialists are themselves suffering from a form of internalized imperialism and are very paternalistic in admiring an instrument [Che] of a system as imperalistic as communism was/is.
    That much said, part of the problem lies with us: Cuban exiles. We have failed miserably to tell our side of the story to the world: what type of psychopath Che was. We have failed because despite our political prowess and individual successes, we are not institution builders and we do not have the public relations, or media outlets that Castro has.
    We don’t own a english speaking newspaper, our filmmakers do not receive help from our millionaires to fund movies, and we don’t seem to have any viable think tanks to put out information to the contrary. IN other words, Che continues to be seen as a hero without much opposing information other than what we say through word-of-mouth or what is now being written in Blogs, etc.. which is good, but not enough to counter the tidal wave of misinformation and adoration.

  2. PART of the problem is the superficiality, shallowness and desperate desire to be “hip” inherent in popular culture. If “Che” had looked like Woody Allen, he wouldn’t be an “icon.” If The Photo (courtesy of that great Cuban prostitute, Mr. Korda) had not been taken, we might not have such a problem. If idiot (or worse) celebrities like Santana didn’t run around wearing the photo, non-celebrity idiots wouldn’t be as motivated to wear it or display it (even though they frequently know next to nothing about “Che” and don’t care; they just want to be “cool”).

  3. Carlos Eire has pointed it out on many-an-occasion – there is a blatant prejudice against Cubans that boggles the mind. From fellow Latin Americans, this might stem from the decades that Cuba was a successful, first-world Latin American nation, which produced a great deal of resentment among their ranks.
    As for the Europeans, Cubans are simply those “brown folks” down in the Caribbean – “they aren’t to be trusted with the reigns of democracy and need a strongman.” I believe the same sort of thing has been said regarding Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

  4. I don’t think it’s racism. Remember Stalin was a huge hero to most of these same folks (and still is to some) even though he massacred 40 million mostly whites. Probably still would be if Kruschev hadn’t “de-Stalinized” the USSR.
    I think it’s just a case of ol’ fashioned the-left-can-do-no-wrong-ism.

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