The Shotgun Blog
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Che Guevara was a murderer and your t-shirt is not cool
Reason TV has a fantastic new video entitled "Killer Chic" about the strange mash-up of trendy fashionable t-shirts and the murderer Communist Che Guevara.
I see Che shirts everywhere, and I cringe every time I see them -- do people even know whose face dons their shirt? Maybe they don't. Maybe they don't understand how ironic it is that a communist should be used, like McDonald's golden arches, to sell t-shirts, lighters, beer, and so on. So the reason vid is a nice way to spread an important message: Communists are not cool.
Humberto Fontova wrote about Guevara here as part of Front Page Magazine's "Leftwing Monsters" series. Alvaro Vargas Llosas wrote "The Killing Machine," an article about Che, here. Dallas Boyd isn't a fan of Che's either, writing an op-ed about the killer here. And here's a list of 216 documented murders by Che Guevara in PDF.
Apart from watching the video, you can also get a nice t-shirt from the good folks at Bureaucrash. They've managed to really ridicule both the trendy stupidity of wearing Che, as well as Che himself with my favourite t-shirt in their contraband collection:
UPDATE: You can join the facebook group "Che Guevara was a murderer and your t-shirt is not cool" here.
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Powerful video. Thanks, Peter.
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-12-16 3:35:12 PM
Capitalist propaganda! The shirt I mean. :)
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-12-16 3:41:50 PM
Thanks for sharing that video and for the Contraband plug.
Also worth checking out (now that it's getting colder) is the re-designed "Communism Kills" hoodie, which sports the text "Che was a murdering bastard" down the right arm to not-too-subtlety remind others just how much he sucked.
Posted by: Pete | 2008-12-16 3:43:54 PM
Yeah, I've always thought, when I saw those shirts, "would you proudly wear Charles Manson or Robert Mugabe on your shirt? why is Che any better?" It's offensive, frankly.
I've known about the Bureaucrash shirts, but I'm glad other people are raising awareness about the cold-blooded killer that is Che Guevara.
Posted by: Mike Vine | 2008-12-16 3:44:23 PM
I love the Mickey Che, and we have our own "Don't be a DouChe' shirts at Blackfive.
Posted by: Uncle Jimbo | 2008-12-16 5:38:33 PM
All answer the question on behalf of socialists, communists and assorted "progressives", as I have asked these people why the idolize Che.
Their answer is generally that: Che's _intent_ was good, and he overcame insurmountable odds.
The same with Mao.
In the eyes of "progressives", you see, suffering that is inflicted in the attempt to "fight oppression" is a second consideration.
Ken Lay enrages them more than 65 million starving Chinese, because Ken Lay is selfish, where-as Mao envisioned a utopia.
The basic formula of socialist thought that forgives these horrific atrocities is:
1. The person in question intended to defeat oppression;
2. the person did so within the auspices of an egalitarian philosophy;
3. the person was only killing people who didn't agree with said philosophy or were perceived as being oppressors prior.
For example: when I've spoken to a lot of socialists about Mao's execution of landowners, they typically respond with something like this: "I don't condone killing, but I have little sympathy for those landowners. They had their chance, and refused to give up their wealth. The intent behind their execution was good."
It's similar to the line of reasoning you sometimes hear from Muslim groups: "I don't condone violence, BUT I sympathize with al-Qaeda due to American foreign policy".
At best, socialists view people like Che, Mao, Lenin, as comrades who simply "made mistakes, and should have done things different". But they still affiliate with them, at some level.
Posted by: Mike Brock | 2008-12-16 6:20:46 PM
Mike, I have to push-back a bit with your comment:
"It's similar to the line of reasoning you sometimes hear from Muslim groups: 'I don't condone violence, BUT I sympathize with al-Qaeda due to American foreign policy'."
There is a stark difference here. The landowners in China had a right to their property and the wealth they created. No one, not you or I, or a group that deems itself the "government" has the right to take that property with force.
On the other hand, the U.S. government (through use of its military) has violated the property rights of countless people (lives, land, buildings, assets, etc.) around the globe. And because owning something entails a right to defend against it being taken by force, some would argue that those pushing back are not in the same camp as Mao and his ilk.
Posted by: Pete | 2008-12-17 8:45:34 AM
There is a nice Che t-shirt running in the cartoon series at http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/
Posted by: John | 2008-12-17 9:29:05 AM
Pete. You're excusing terrorism? Really? It's ok because the US are just a bunch of Zionist occupiers right? They have a right to kill innocents in the name of Allah because of "Palestine?" The lands of the Muslim world were oft not Muslim lands at all until the Ottoman Empire made them so. Look up the history of Israel. Original settlers? Canaanites. Then Israelites. Forced out by Muslims. If anything, the people struggling to get their land back are the Israelis.
Posted by: Jarrett | 2008-12-17 11:34:07 AM
Cuba under the dictator Batista was a Mafia ran Casino (whore-house) paradise for idle rich oligarchs and U.$. Companies who owned 70 % of the land and resources.
Batista's secret BRAC police killed over 20,000 people and would gouge the eyes out of political opponents.
This is the context that allowed the heroic Che & Fidel to be victorious in their valiant struggle.
U.S. Sugar, United Fruit Co, Texaco, etc etc were finally overthrown for the first time and the American Empire has made the Cuban people suffer blockade for 50 + years as a result.
Still Cuba stands defiant as a beacon of light for countries who wish to cast off the shackles of U.S. Imperialism & Neocolonial domination.
HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE !
Posted by: Juan | 2008-12-17 11:48:52 AM
See this is where El Che messed up ...
Che should have
- Bought a peasant girl, made her his slave, then raped her and had her give birth to his child (Jefferson)
- Next Che should have made all the rich oligarchs walk hundreds of miles before leaving the country in a 'trail of tears' (Jackson)
- Once his legend was solidified he could send one of his commanders to do a 'march to the sea' where he burned out all the govt homes and Batistaites who had been defeated (Lincoln/Sherman).
It's a shame he didn't follow the great paths history already laid out for him ... then instead of being on the Cuban Peso he could be on the DOLLAR BILL.
Posted by: Marcos in Mexico | 2008-12-17 12:14:12 PM
I doubt many kids who wear the shirt care one bit about Che's biography. They're wearing it to show their disrespect for the establishment. No different from the brat/prince who wore an SS uniform to a party a couple of years back. I've seen Manson T-shirts, Mao T-shirts, and Che T-shirts on kids who have no idea who those people were. They just know it gets a reaction from people they're trying really hard not to be like.
At least Che's dead, and can't cash in on this blind following.
When I see one of these controversial shirts, I just ask the wearer if he knows who the character is. I try not to comment unless the kid has no idea at all.
Posted by: dp | 2008-12-17 12:16:41 PM
Born on 3rd base,
think they hit a triple.
+ Did 'Reason' just use the opinions of two celebrities (a musician and a Basketball player) to counter the opinions of other celebrities?
I personally favor getting my history from Yao Ming & Snoop Dogg.
Posted by: Mikey Boy | 2008-12-17 12:17:59 PM
Kind of puts thing into perspective Marcos. History is only pretty when you write it yourself.
Posted by: dp | 2008-12-17 12:19:28 PM
You're all invited to join the facebook group that the thread title is stolen from.
Creator (2 years ago) of the group "Che Guevara was a murderer and your tshirt is not cool."
Posted by: Mike Stout | 2008-12-17 12:28:19 PM
‘Black Book of Communism’ --- (Death Toll): 100,000,000
‘Black Book of Capitalism’ --- (Death Toll): 147,387,051
= Communism ... 47 % less deadly than Capitalism
Posted by: Groucho Marx | 2008-12-17 12:29:26 PM
You're all invited to join the facebook group that the thread title is stolen from.
Posted by: Mike Stout | 17-Dec-08 12:28:54 PM
Wow. Libertarians believe that property rights are inalienable. I guess that only applies when it's their property.
Posted by: The Stig | 2008-12-17 12:35:52 PM
Good video, thanks.
I never was a big Che or Mao fan. Where can one buy anti che or anti mao t shirts?
Che died the way any scumbag dog deserves to die, gunned down in a muddy hole in the jungle. Too bad we can do the same for Castro.
Posted by: Tom | 2008-12-17 12:57:36 PM
Juan wrote: "Batista's secret BRAC police killed over 20,000 people and would gouge the eyes out of political opponents."
Therefore this is an excuse for Castro, Che and thier minions to do worse?
Posted by: Tom | 2008-12-17 1:04:03 PM
Marcos in Mexico wrote: "Once his legend was solidified he could send one of his commanders to do a 'march to the sea' where he burned out all the govt homes and Batistaites who had been defeated (Lincoln/Sherman)."
Actually Castro and Che did all this and worse, and Mao stands alone as the greatest mass murderer in History. Not even Stalin comes close, and that is saying something. The only thing that stopped Castro and Che from being bigger killers is the fact that they were limited by geography. There were only so many people on Cuba and even they realized that it was a bad idea to kill, torture and jail All of them.
Posted by: Tom | 2008-12-17 1:08:10 PM
"There is a stark difference here. The landowners in China had a right to their property and the wealth they created. No one, not you or I, or a group that deems itself the "government" has the right to take that property with force."
Pete, I was comparing the psychology of the argument, not the underlying logic. Perhaps I was not clear enough on that.
Posted by: Mike Brock | 2008-12-17 2:20:15 PM
The American government's cries of fighting Communist infiltration often masked protection for the interests of the wealthy elite. What is Miami's Cuban "exile" community, after all, but an enclave founded by the privileged class who grew fat off the injustices perpetrated by Fulgencio Batista's regime?
Why is it that malnutrition has been eliminated in Cuba while Latin American governments far "friendlier" to the United States still face it as an ongoing problem?
Before Castro and Che ousted Fulgencio Batista from power, leaving Cuban sugar farmers in poverty while letting the urban professional class prosper was considered part of the natural social order.
Revolutions are bloody, messy, violent, and painful for those formerly in power.
It's almost as if Right-wingers don't understand the concept.
Posted by: Huh ? | 2008-12-17 2:40:59 PM
If Cuba is so wonderful, then why has 15% of its population SINCE 1960 fled, often taking extreme risks to do so?
If Cuba is so wonderful, why are AIDS patients segregated?
If Cuba is so wonderful, why did they nearly start a nuclear war in 1962?
Castro is NOT some hero, he runs a ruthless dictatorship where dissidents were suppressed.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-12-17 3:06:10 PM
Posted by: dewp | 2008-12-17 5:45:00 PM
Che and Fidel are my personal heroes.
They both contain more heroism in one of their hairs, than any right-wing douchebag who would comment on this idiotic site.
El Che Vive <3
Posted by: Joe the Marxist | 2008-12-17 6:35:05 PM
I personally celebrate the manner in which Che was finally executed by the "right" wing governments of South America. Thank God - they did themselves a real favour. Che was a commie and a tyrant. But socialist fanatics have faith - how else do you defend world socialism after a century of abysmal results?
Posted by: Faramir | 2008-12-18 12:17:48 AM
Joe the idiot wrote: "Che and Fidel are my personal heroes.
They both contain more heroism in one of their hairs, than any right-wing douchebag who would comment on this idiotic site"
Yes it is always easy to be brave when you have the gun and your victim is shackled and helpless. These two were nothing but low life thugs who deserve nothing better than to be kicked to death and fed to pigs.
Posted by: Tom | 2008-12-18 9:42:26 AM
What heroism does it take to round up suspects and kill them? Che did that; in fact the Bolivians who he tried to 'save' turned him in. Castro had little use for his extremism, but found him to be a useful pawn as a martyr. Both deserve the gallows.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-12-18 9:57:01 AM
Che was a leftist revolutionary who supported executing captured opponents. In Bolivia, he treated the local population like crap and they didn't support him. The U.S. has the death penalty. They execute murderers and are condemned by the left. Cuba has the death penalty and uses it on criminals and political opponents(Che was a big supporter of this). However, the liberals and ndp have said very little. The communist governments of eastern europe killed and murdered tens of thousands of politically prisoners while the left stayed quiet. Maybe the left believes that the death penalty and other law and order policies are permissible only if socialist economic policies are adhered to. If a capitalist country hangs a murderer, that's bad! If a communist or socialist country does then no big deal as long as they push for government run healthcare, no private businesses, and promote social engineering. U.S. or Japan executing killers is bad. Castro kills a free speech opponent no big deal. Would the NDP and Bloc vote for reinstating the death penalty if business owners and devout christians were targeted for execution instead? Poor Marcos and Joe, you guys must be really upset over the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and its eastern europe empire. I'm sure that during the cold war, you two were rooting for the warsaw pact. Now, you have a right-wing dictatorship in Russia and a business controlled oligarch(communist in name only) in China. Chavez will be gone in 2010.In Nicaragua, the conservatives control the legislature and Ortega is deeply unpopular(interestingly Ortega ran as a staunch pro-life, anti-gay marriage devout catholic who supported the free market). The president of Brazil has governed as a pro-business centrist. Where are the real surviving communist states? Bolivia is small, poor, and deeply divided politically. Burma and Zimbabwe are also basketcases. Eastern europe politics are now dominated by the right. But buck up guys, Mugabe has some nice stalin like tendencies.
Posted by: Frank | 2008-12-18 3:15:25 PM
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