iconic or ironic?

Che Guevara (that is a really good Wiki article, IMO) is a familiar symbol in the modern world, but of what, exactly? It seems as if his face at this point is ending up pretty much anywhere which is problematic to some small subset of people who take him seriously as a representative, but in the larger context has really lost any meaning. People may choose his image for a vague sense of spirit or revolution they understand from it, but without researching what precisely they are even meant to be agreeing to, to the point where it is often very hard to tell whether people intend to wear these images sarcastically or earnestly, or whether they would even know how to respond to that question… And perhaps it doesn’t matter; it’s become a new piece of art in itself.

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2 Responses to “iconic or ironic?”

  1. Dennis Osborne Says:

    Do you suppose his photographer may have anticipated all the reproductions and asked him to say, “Che’s” when he posed?

  2. Dennis Osborne Says:

    You got me to thinking about Richard Farina because years after his death, it was rumored he’d died in Cuba fighting with Che Guevara. (He didn’t.) http://imdb.com/name/nm0267469/bio

    So what’s Greenwich Village like these days? It really was incredible how poets, artists, and folk singers created so much energy in the ‘50s and early ‘60s in chosen coffee shops, working on and pushing ideas in verse and song. They demonstrated that change, not only could be instigated from think tanks, college campuses, or workplaces but from café group settings, too, where people were greeted as stars long before they became so, nationally. In fact, actually, I believe college movements of the ’60s originated in coffee shops of the ’50s. It seems a shame to me, with a Rap style offering a platform for poets, it hasn’t been similarly and better used to go beyond saying, “The Lady is a %@-$!”

    Coffee shops or pubs can be inspirational places when the setting is right and participants are mutually struggling together for something new that goes beyond currently accepted norms. The result can be a bottom up influence. I understand that’s been true in Paris at various times, too, when writers met to exchange ideas that challenged paradigms of their time. It must have been exciting.

    Anything like that going on these days in New York?

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