The Che Image, 40 Years Later

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  10.09.07 | 5:32 PM ET

imageForty years ago today, Che Guevara was killed by CIA-backed Bolivian soldiers, and the anniversary has prompted gatherings around the Latin world—Bolivian President Evo Morales, fresh off a visit to The Daily Show, choppered in for an event near the site where Che was killed. Predictably, media outlets have published a slew of stories about the man, the myth, the travelers on the “Che Trail” and the iconic image.

In one of the more interesting reflections, the BBC recounts how the famed Alberto Korda photo of Che looking muy macho in his trademark beret wound up in the hands of graphic artist Jim Fitzpatrick, whose 1960s high-contrast illustration based on the photo has become so enduring.

““I deliberately designed it to breed like rabbits,” Fitzpatrick said.

The curator of a traveling exhibit of Che imagery told the BBC: “There is a theory that an image can only exist for a certain amount of time before capitalism appropriates it. But capitalism only wants to appropriate images if they retain some sense of danger.”

I like the Che image on this tortilla by tortilla artist Joe Bravo. If the image was becoming too safe, Bravo added dark sunglasses. Nothing says danger like dark shades.

Related on World Hum:
* Che and the Image Seen ‘Round the World
* “I Tried to Conquer the Evil Yankee Imperialists and All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt”
* Traveling “The Che Trail”
* Will “The Motorcycle Diaries” Spawn a New Magazine: Condé Nast Revolution?
* Che: the Brand

Photo by Jim Benning.

5 Comments for The Che Image, 40 Years Later

CAJones 10.11.07 | 12:25 AM ET

Commies are never cool.  Especially dim-witted murdering ones.

TambourineMan 10.11.07 | 1:40 AM ET

Whaaa? Che is cool. Check him out on that tortilla.

Joanna Kakissis 10.11.07 | 12:07 PM ET

All the fake leftists here in Greece love Che! They wear Che T-shirts during demonstrations, shout Che slogans and light things on fire in the name of Che. Then they go home to mama’s home cooking and drink lots of Coca Cola. Che would have hated them.

PS: CAJones, check out Jon Lee Anderson’s bio of Che and I doubt you’ll still consider him dim-witted.

CAJones 10.13.07 | 4:18 PM ET

Thanks Joanna - I guess that depends upon what your definition of ‘dim witted’ is. 

Aside from that, it has nothing to do with his being a brutal, calculating, murdering, communist.  Commies are never cool.

Andy 02.14.08 | 6:40 PM ET

I am insulted by this story - just finished reading pro and con of travel to Burma on WorldHum, and now see this celebration of the Latin Hitler… I want someone to start a boycott on travel to Cuba. And Iran. And Saudi Arabia (oh, they won’t let you travel there anyway…) and Russia and China…

All of you clueless Sandalistas: you should at least try to read “Exposing the Real Che Guevara: And the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him” by Fontova. If reading is not your strong suit, get it on tape.

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.