Originally posted by Stateless
As for the admiration I see many have for Guevara I like to subscribe to Jose Marti philosophy on this, "sin patria pero sin amo".
This may come as a shock to some (or even to many), but most of the "admiration" for Che Guevara that can be seen on the streets of many cities,
especially in Europe (and even more especially, among the "disgruntled" post-adolescents - some of which will never see 50 again)
from the purely visual impact of his IMAGE. (Ask yourself why you always see only one and the same image on all those T-shirts...)
And here is the ultimate irony: this impact comes from the semi-conscious identification of Guevara's figure with that of - Christ.
(Susan Sontag explained this well in her book of essays on photography, comparing the famous image of his dead body to the painting of the dead
Christ, by Andrea Mantegna.
The fact that many of his apparent admirers are self-proclaimed marxists and/or atheists may seem to contradict this, but it doesn't:
- rather than REAL abolition - of traditional religious figures and rituals by grafting "revolutionary" ideologies onto the
existing religious substrate of a society is a well-known - and effective - practice to ensure the propagation of a "revolutionary" ideology.)
It never ceases to amaze me how deeply and thoroughly can people be manipulated by images. (I am not saying it is "good" or "bad" - just
Personally, I find this (literally) blind and ostentatious adoration of him objectionable simply because it flatly refuses to see whatever doesn't
fit the image.
Now, this is often the case with idols (think "Saint" Diana Spencer, to name just one example).
But here it becomes much more problematic, because the most objectionable part is precisely the part on which the adoration is based.
In other words: while you can bash Diana Spencer's private life and personality until the cows come home (and it is tempting!
), nobody can
deny that she DID actually help people, both practically and as a catalyst; that's why the adoration for her apparently can withstand even the worst
revelations of a more private nature.
But the adoration for Ernesto Guevara is supposedly based on his fight for the poor, the dispossessed, the oppressed - for social justice
And I am sure he really did believe in his ideals, he really did want to help.
But in practice
he was directly responsible for the totally unnecessary deaths of many hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, including many
native Americans ("Indians").
If helping others really was Ernesto Guevara's primary objective, he would have done better by simply and honestly continuing his professional
practice - being a physician (a pediatrician, to be precise).
But that probably felt too modest, too "local" an achievement for his ego to be happy.
And I must say, personally I don't find anything inherently wrong with appeasing one's ego... unless it leads to the misery of others.
His wish may have been sincere, but the fact remains his plight brought nothing
to the "oppressed" that he set out to "liberate" - nothing,
except destruction and death.
But hey, at least he provided a GREAT iconic image to the icon-crazed 20th century!
And, you know, even that wouldn't bother me AT ALL - if only his admirers acknowledged and admitted the real source of their admiration.
It's their aggressive hypocrisy I cannot stomach.
[edit on 31-10-2009 by Vanitas]