Watch what you "Che"
Thanks to stores like Hot Topic, kids of all creeds have found it stylish to wear "Che Lives" t-shirts. I understand the need to express yourself and how t-shirts are a great way to convey your expressions. What pisses me off about these particular shirts is that the majority of those trend-whores wearing them know nothing about him. I was in the mall yesterday, walking around before heading to the gym. As I was headed towards the book store, I had to weave my way through a flock of skater styled grunge-lings. Well, 2 out of the 10 or so of them were wearing Che Lives shirts. One boy and one girl to be exact.
I made my way through their congregation and into the books store. I browsed for a bit, scanned a bunch of covers and found some really good bargains. I'll be doing some good reading for the next week or so. Unfortunately, there were no books about Ernesto "Che" Guevara at basement prices. I had actually hoped there was so that I could buy it and give it to the mall rats who donned their chest with his face. Oh well, my intentions were good.
Anyway, I paid for my books and headed out. The flock was still buzzing about, jawing about movies, I believe. So, I stopped to ask them if they knew anything about the person on their shirts. The boy was actually honest and said, "No, I just thought it looked cool." Due to his honesty, I actually had an ounce of respect for him. The girl then chimed in and said, "I know he was a great man and that we should respect his beliefs."
Did ... Did she just say what I think she said? ... Did she?
"A great man," I asked. I immediately felt the need to elaborate further. "What was it that made him a great man?" She replied with a pitiful, "I don't know." Oh boy! In certain situations, that is the absolute worst answer anyone could give and this was one of those times.
Even if she had said something like "He helped free Cuba from Batista," or anything somewhere near that in her own words, I would have been satisfied and just walked away. I mean, they are kids who are still in the midst of an education. I understand that, but to reply with "I don't know?" Hell, my 3-year old has a better understanding of the inane cartoon characters that decorate her t-shirts. How the hell can you exercise your freedom of expression when you don't know what the fuck it is you are expressing?
Unfortunately, I didn't have the time to get into a long discussion about Che Guevara, July 26th, guerilla warfare and Marxism. So instead, with an even temper, I suggested that she take the time to thoroughly read about him. To research what he was really all about, and that she would find that he was a scumbag (to put it bluntly, lol). I told her that the only reason why those shirts are popular is because bands like Rage Against the Machine started the so-called trend. I ended with letting her know that wearing a shirt of that magnitude is as stupid as walking through New York with a "I (heart) Al Qaeda" shirt.
Did I make a dent? Did I peak her interest enough for her to actually take my suggestion and read about "Che" ? As much as I would like to think so, the blank, bewildered look on her face told me otherwise. THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the future of our Country. Uneducated, uninformed drones of the digital media movement. I swear if I see my daughter (when she is older) wearing a shirt such as these "Che Lives" rags, and can't tell me WHY she is wearing it, I will publicly humiliate her just to teach her a lesson. Lucky for me (and her), I know for a fact that I would never let that happen.
I apologize that there were no graphic images of violence in this post, but as angry as I was, I was actually more disappointed than anything.