Crass Commercialism

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THE SPINE DECEMBER 22, 2006

Crass Commercialism

The Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady keeps us abreast of developments in Latin America in a way that almost no one else does. Latin America is not really on anyone else's agenda, which means that it will certainly be on Washington's in the near future. O'Grady is especially provoked by Cuba, which is a failed tyranny except that its population is still tyrannized, brutally, and impoverished. The only more impoverished country in the western hemisphere is Haiti. In any case, she had been apprised of the fact that, at Target stores, customers could buy a 24-CD carrying case emblazoned with the oh-so-heroic visage of Che Guevara. Which is like putting the face of Stalin or any other political mass murderer on merchandise. It's disgusting. And so the journalist, instead of just reporting, complained. And the item with the idol's face has since been removed from Target's shelves. Hooray for Target. Really
hooray. All of this is described in Friday's WSJ.

O'Grady also tells us a lot about Guevara's career that the people who buy his carrying case or wear his mug on their sweatshirts or have his image framed and hung in their dorm rooms (and older veterans of the happy days, in their studies) clearly don't know. (And if they do, God help them and us.) Ms. O'Grady alludes to Alvaro Vargas Llosa's writings on Che. Well, TNR published a devastating essay by Vargas Llosa on Comrade Castro's most intimate comrade about 18 months ago. It was called "The Killing Machine." Read it now. If you read it later, it might spoil your Christmas.

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