Why is Che Guevara Cool?

This is an pretty old post from my blog, which has been preserved in case its content is of any interest. You might want to go back to the homepage to see some more recent stuff.

Here’s a question for the interwebs that the combined mental might of our car-pool couldn’t answer this afternoon: Why the heck is Che Guevara cool?

I get why he’s cool now – his silhouetted face has become a cultural icon, worn on t-shirts of people who don’t even know who he was, and that recognisability creates ‘cool’ just as brand names do.

But why did it happen in the first place? Who first created that image and sold it, made it popular? It’s pretty much the equivalent of college kids 50 years from now wearing Osama bin Laden t-shirts, and from this decade’s point of view that seems a pretty strange idea.

Why Guevara specifically? Are Lenin and Trotsky too old, is Franco too right-wing, is Pol Pot too controversial? Why does he get his crimes erased from the public consciousness so much more easily than other revolutionary leaders?


Andy Hayler 21 April 2010

Wannabe-revolutionaries presumably wanted an iconic figure, and goateed latinos are a better face for the revolution than hairy old russians with ice-picks for brains....But I really want a Trotsky/Ice-Pick shirt now.

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