Ernesto “Che” Guevara has been the chic icon of trendy anti-capitalism ever since his death in 1967. He’s the prototypical revolutionary, the hip Communist that everybody loves to love.
Never mind the fact that he enjoyed summarily executing his political opponents, those deemed too “counterrevolutionary” to be accorded the privilege of a trial or other judicial process. They’re enemies of the people! Just shoot ’em and be done with ’em!
The Che who has lived on in countercultural memory is the ultimately cool revolutionary dude, the hip anti-capitalist, the iconographic essence of those guys who stick it to The Man.
But Che has also been a staple of hip commerce for a long time. When I was a hippy-dippy college student in the early 1970s, it was de rigueur for every dope-smokin’ freak to have a Che poster on the wall. Since then the trade in Che artifacts has never slackened: T-shirts, posters, coffee mugs, hats, you name it: the iconography of Revolutionary Chic plasters itself across the body parts and paraphernalia of the youth of each new generation. New Skin for the Old Ceremony, indeed.
And now Che is selling CDs in Norway. Check out this banner ad that I found on one of the news sites that Fjordman linked to in his most recent post:
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The Norwegian text says (roughly): “Price Revolution — Lots of titles from 59.50 — Platekompaniet’s stores and on [website URL].”
The CD titles you see in the animated gif include Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, and Ecce Thump [BTW — I learned to spell that “Ecce Tharup” back in my days as a tyke].
How much more hip and cool can you get? Grandmaster Che himself, helping to flog the latest CDs released by geriatric rockers!
And then there’s that scowling Elvis-icon on the left side of the banner…
I don’t know what all of this means. It just reminds me that anything can be co-opted in the service of commerce.
Over the last decade or so, on those occasions when I have encountered a television, I have noticed that music by almost any of the progressive rock icons of the sixties and seventies — the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Who, etc. — has been used to sell cars and other commercial products.
¡Viva la Revolución!
It reminds me of a song by the Clash from the late ’70s, “Death or Glory”:
Every gimmick-hungry yob digging gold from rock ’n’ roll
Grabs the mike to tell us that he’ll die before he’s sold
But I believe in this, and its been tested by research,
That he who f***s nuns will later join the church
Welcome to church, everybody! Grab a pew and open your Little Red Book of commerce…