Wretchard of The Belmont Club fame has an excellent post about Ernesto “Che” Guevara, that famous communist t-shirt and poster guy. It’s come to the point that you can hardly have a lefty gathering without a Che visitation. He is the communist saint, with more spontaneous manifestations than the Virgin Mary.
Wretchard does a bang-up job of outlining the historic realities of Che Guevara and his rather pathetic ending; he sums it all up with the following:
Che Guevara is a testament to the power of a media symbol. As a purely military force he was negligible. As an organizing force and agitator of Bolivians he was an abject failure. But as an international Marxist symbol and poster-boy Che was eminently successful. Millions of people have worn his likeness on a T-shirt believing that he was a brilliant revolutionary and guerilla when in fact he was neither. But that would be missing the point. Guevara was the prototypical example of the triumph of image over reality. What did it matter if he wrote nothing of lasting ideological value? What did it matter if he was a comparative military failure? He was a surpassing public relations success and that made up for everything else. The power of Che lay not in his M2 carbine, which was shot out of his hands by the Bolivian Rangers. It lay in his beard, beret and his photogenic camera angles. Long before the word “spin” came into common usage Guevara was all spin — a spin which will outlast the memory of those who defeated and slew him.
Personally, this is my favorite Che shirt.