Lately I’ve been hearing about Steven Soderbergh’s latest cinematic Lewinsky of Communist revolutionary Che Guevara, Fidel Castro’s number one thug. The film will most likely win awards due to its single-minded and exhaustive effort to heighten Che’s reputation from that of cult hero to that of deity to countless pot-smoking youth and Hollywood *intellectual heavyweights* nationwide. I was perusing material about the movie, and saw many ridiculous screenshots, such as Guevara surrounded by hordes of children, for instance. Oh, boy.
No doubt the film will endear this murdering revolutionary to a new generation of impressionable American youths, much as the earlier, 1960’s film “Che!” did to that generation. Liberal-minded Americans seem to have an affinity for latching onto ridiculous, irrational characters and elevating them to counter-cultural icons. (Plus, they just LOVE Benicio del Toro—he’s so dreamy—and he was AWESOME in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.) Yes, del Toro is a commendable actor. But let us not forget the difference between cinema and history.
So who was the real Che? His efforts in the 1950s Cuban Revolution and subsequent (failed) revolution in Bolivia are not quite commendable; he was the main presider of executions under Fidel Castro, and was known to pride himself on showing off the killing wall turned red with blood, as those being executed by a bullet to the back of the neck were forced to cry, “Viva Cuba libre!” He was also instrumental in establishing the Cuban labor-camp system in which countless citizens—including dissidents, democrats, artists, AIDS victims and homosexuals—would suffer and die by the thousands. Upstanding individual. No wonder San Fran loves him.
As I was lying in my hospital bed last week, I watched an interview of Soderbergh—I believe it was on CNN, but I can’t recall for sure. I found Soderbergh’s sentiment regarding the American public at large so particularly asinine in its elitist, condescending tone that I nearly heaved. He was asked some question about the film, and Soderbergh said something along the lines of, “I do honestly think that most Americans are capable of thinking through complex ideas. Look at how they can understand sports.” Hey, Soderbergh: You’re right. But I’m thinking a very un-complex thought about you right now: You’re an ass.
Interestingly enough, business is good for Che-worshipers. The sale of Che-gear is booming. But one T-shirt I found was spot-on:
But I will say it for the Communists: I love their jaunty caps.
Next up: A film honoring Saddam Hussein.