Today we learn from Dana Loesch that J. Crew, the clothing source for people who normally want to look fashionably smart, is selling a replica Che Guevara jacket manufactured by Belstaff. The folks at both companies think Fidel Castro’s assassin is such a big sales feature that they put his name front and center:
Take a look at the copy that describes the product:
The epitome of rugged, authentic cool. Founded in 1924 Staffordshire, England, Belstaff’s exceptionally designed, hard-working and waterproof outerwear is as famous amongst serious motorcyclists as it is with fashion aficionados. Their durable classics include this heavyweight waxed-cotton jacket, a perfect replica of the one so famously worn by Ernesto Che Guevara on his legendary motorcycle journey across Latin America in the 1950s.
So, J. Crew thinks a murderous thug is the “epitome of rugged, authentic cool”? That J. Crew and Belstaff are hawking what can only be described murder-chic without any fear of a backlash tells us these companies are callous, ignorant, or both. That the product has sold out tells us how ignorant these companies’ customers are.
Dana snarks “Do you think they sell a Replica Hitler’s Mustache® to accessorize and complete the look?”
Yes, that would certainly complete the murder-chic look. Unfortunately, though, unlike Hitler whose actions have been well documented and taught to school children, Guevara and his crimes against humanity have gone under the radar, allowing his supporters to redefine him as a revolutionary and counter-culture hero of the poor. For example in 1999, Time Magazine included Che Guevara in its list of “Heroes and Icons”:
By the time Ernesto Guevara, known to us as Che, was murdered in the jungles of Bolivia in October 1967, he was already a legend to my generation, not only in Latin America but also around the world.
Like so many epics, the story of the obscure Argentine doctor who abandoned his profession and his native land to pursue the emancipation of the poor of the earth began with a voyage. In 1956, along with Fidel Castro and a handful of others, he had crossed the Caribbean in the rickety yacht Granma on the mad mission of invading Cuba and overthrowing the dictator Fulgencio Batista. Landing in a hostile swamp, losing most of their contingent, the survivors fought their way to the Sierra Maestra. A bit over two years later, after a guerrilla campaign in which Guevara displayed such outrageous bravery and skill that he was named comandante, the insurgents entered Havana and launched what was to become the first and only victorious socialist revolution in the Americas. The images were thereafter invariably gigantic. Che the titan standing up to the Yanquis, the world’s dominant power. Che the moral guru proclaiming that a New Man, no ego and all ferocious love for the other, had to be forcibly created out of the ruins of the old one. Che the romantic mysteriously leaving the revolution to continue, sick though he might be with asthma, the struggle against oppression and tyranny.
His execution in Vallegrande at the age of 39 only enhanced Guevara’s mythical stature. That Christ-like figure laid out on a bed of death with his uncanny eyes almost about to open; those fearless last words (“Shoot, coward, you’re only going to kill a man”) that somebody invented or reported; the anonymous burial and the hacked-off hands, as if his killers feared him more after he was dead than when he had been alive: all of it is scalded into the mind and memory of those defiant times. He would resurrect, young people shouted in the late ’60s; I can remember fervently proclaiming it in the streets of Santiago, Chile, while similar vows exploded across Latin America. !No lo vamos a olvidar! We won’t let him be forgotten.
Che Guevara’s crimes are just about as evil and horrendous as Hitler’s. Nonetheless, he is celebrated and held up as a hero. Now his sycophants can wear a replica jacket and look murder-chic.