che-che-che cheetos

It is customary for followers of a cult not to know the real life story of their hero, the historical truth. (Many Rastafarians would renounce Haile Selassie if they had any notion of who he really was.) It is not surprising that Guevara’s contemporary followers, his new post-communist admirers, also delude themselves by clinging to a myth—except the young Argentines who have come up with an expression that rhymes perfectly in Spanish: “Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué,” or “I have a Che T-shirt and I don’t know why.”

12 thoughts on “che-che-che cheetos

  1. Oo, thanks, iggy! I’ve always been way more surprised when a hero turns out to be a really good person, at least in all the general ways except stealing some gum when they were 5, and kept to a sense of honour. I think getting a “Fly United” shirt is a better idea.

  2. I agree that Che-image-pervasion is excruciatingly annoying. But!
    He was hot and photogenic and the idiots of the world will put him on a shirt. So, I think this article subjects the phenomenon to excessive analysis and outright excludes a number of critical aspects of Cuban history that may be playing a role here, for example, the ‘special period’.
    I think there is shocking exclusion in this article of the fact that there exists a certain level of respect for Cuba and Castro in the rest of the world, right or wrong, for liberating themselves initially – and subsequently resisting – United States economic dominance and control. The cost to the people is great and that is also recognized and rejected as immoral. The entire ‘special period’ and resulting oil independence (excluding the foreign commercial interests involved) has created both propaganda opportunity for Cuba, of course, but also renewed respect from many disparate groups, for example, urban environmentalists.
    We know many Cubans want to leave and I also think Che should certainly be deconstructed as a folk hero as all leaders should be naturally subject to scrutiny. But he was one man and his actions as a man have to be analyzed in some fuller context. It excuses nothing for me, but bloody revolution and power confusion can quickly excuse, for many, blood-thirstiness.
    I don’t support executions, period, and I sure as hell don’t support them without due process – but that is happening all over the world. So I just keep coming back to this fact: Che is hot and photogenic and so he gets to be on t-shirts. He is the Justin Timberlake of revolutionaries. It’s that shallow, I think.
    Thanks for posting this! Good thought-provoking stuff.

    1. Re: I agree that Che-image-pervasion is excruciatingly annoying. But!
      Oh yes. It’s not on the level of the Manson t-shirt or something like that. It’s the ignorance that’s funny. He’s just “cool” in the same way that Martin Luther King, Jr. or Manson or Marilyn Manson or Marilyn Luther King, Jr. would be: symbol without meaning.
      Maybe I should sell t-shirts with Gavrilo Princip on them and see who buys them.

      1. Re: I agree that Che-image-pervasion is excruciatingly annoying. But!
        You really think MLK is a symbol without meaning? You think people aren’t aware of who he really was and what he meant? I dunno about that.

      2. Re: I agree that Che-image-pervasion is excruciatingly annoying. But!

  3. Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué
    Very interesting article. This kind of pop-revolutionary symbolism is apparently everywhere, though I maintain that it is particularly pernicious here. Off the top of my head, if I was going to put some revolutionary dude on a t-shirt, I would pick this guy:

    He’s not so photogenic, but I actually dig him.

    1. Votchy
      I actually just put in an ILL request for some semi-randomly chosen books of his.
      I think I’m the just only person in town who ILLs things,
      or even knows that they can, or how.

      1. Re: Votchy
        Yeah, ILL = Inter-library Loan.
        And I don’t know the titles. I mostly picked at random; and
        the system doesn’t give email confirmations or anything, so I
        guess I’ll just find out in a week or something when they
        come in. No rarities or anything.

      2. Re: Votchy
        It just arrived via ILL:
        <a href=
        >Open Letters

        There might be more on the way– I can’t remember,

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