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Che Guevara, Hitler and More

Posted by phduffy on 2007-07-17 14:05:01
15 forum posts
So Tim and I got started talking about stuff, when I quoted the following:

"The Motorcycle Diaries would be as if someone were to make a film about Adolf Hitler by portraying him as an artist, a vegetarian who loved animals and was against unemployment. It would be true, but missing the point.

In conclusion, nice t-shirt, asshole.”

He writes:

Well, I like the t-shirt bit. And the problem with Che Guevara is not Che Guevara -- it's that shitheads go into Bluenotes and buy the t-shirt. He's just a mythical, symbolic figure now. He's a brand. Kind of like Jesus. The only difference is his fans are angsty university students rather than elderly portuguese women.

By the way, there was such a film -- it's called Max, probably around 2001 or so. Stars John Cusack, about Hitler the failed artist. And it's slightly less interesting than Motorcycle Diaries (both are pretty mediocre, in my opinion)

Seriously though, speaking of missing the point, Che = Hitler? This sounds like it was written by Ann Coulter on an especially ignorant day. Che was actually a pretty good dude, all things considered. He's a politicized figure, but he doesn't have an overly vicious history -- charges against him (invariably US right wingers; he actually has a good reputation in Europe) are weak. He actually did spend some years in power (Interior Minister in Cuba), and there were no mass executions or pogroms or concentration camps. The man isn't a saint, and he was certainly aggressive and killed people in battle, but let's be honest, Hitler? He's closer to Ghandi. The strongest case against him is the legacy of his followers … which, come on, can you be responsible for the way people interpret or pervert your message? Is Jesus responsible for the Crusades and the the HIV epidemic? Of course not. Marx wouldn't have approved of Stalin. Washington wouldn't have approved of Bush. But, like it matters, Che's just a brand now; there's no history there anymore.

I reply:

Jesus is responsible for HIV.
Other than that, it's fine.

He writes:

No, Jesus isn't responsible for HIV or the HIV epidemic. (important: the HIV epidemic being different from HIV the disease -- epidemics are influenced by political, social and cultural factors -- the existence of a disease is obviously not). Jesus isn't responsible, as I noted, but "the legacy of his followers" who "interpret and pervert" his message is. Best example, the pope.

The pope and the catholic church continue to use wield influence to prevent the use or distribution of condoms in Africa and South America, because they don't agree with any form of birth control. Abstinence is their answer. So let's take an example -- Botswana. Highest AIDS infection rate in the world (something like 36% of adult population is infected), and the vast majority of the population is Christian. Devoutly christian. Something like 2% of the population dies off each year just from AIDS. And condoms are forbitten by the church. It's absolutely criminal.

It's unfortnate that the countries in Africa (mostly southern Africa -- S. Africa, Namibia, Botswana etc.) that are the most devoutly christian, and have Christian leaders, also have the world's highest AIDS infection rates. So, conclusion: the perverted legacy and interpretation of Jesus is a MAJOR driving factor in the HIV epidemic. You can be pretty sure Jesus would approve of condoms. But this is why I mean he can't be held historically responsible for the way his teachings get abused and twisted and interpreted to justify bullshit power structures. Like the catholic church -- directly complicit and responsible for thousands and thousands of AIDS deaths every year. If you really gave a shit about the people, you'd be distributing condoms in Botswana, not using every weapon in your arsenal to prevent it.
  15 forum posts