Throughout the semester we have been exposed to various texts by Marx and his followers, such as Gramsci, Althusser, Fanon, and Said which heavily criticize or at least question the effects of capitalism and colonization. Yet, now we move a bit away from the criticism of capitalism to an understanding of its relevance in marketing iconic images of subversion, such as “El Che.” In his analysis of Che Guevara Casey reflects on the irony of what Che stood, which was an opposition to the predatory spread of capitalism, and the way that his image has now become part of its consumerist system.
The strength of Casey’s book centers on the symbolism and re-appropriation of the image of Che. Why do people use this icon or symbol by wearing the logos? I would argue that many people who consume Che do not really know who he is. I personally have experienced this when I asked people who wear this logo if they know who he is and most do not, nor what he stood for. I think what is important is to explore the appeal to Che. Casey does this by discussing the sexy image of a young virile Latino revolutionary man. This also reminded me of the way that Marcos (Zapatista subcommander) has become an icon through the media. Could it be for the same reasons?
I also thought it was interesting the way that Casey included alternative versions of Che’s image from the voice of the son of a man who was assassinated by Che. I thought this was interesting because I have actually read about Che and watched the various films about his life, and this idea of his murderous side has not been something I reflected on.
I think Casey’s book is very interesting and a nice conclusion to our analysis of Marxism and Cultural Studies in the sense that it makes the theory relevant to our (U.S.) society today. I found myself really enjoying this book. I think that what makes his book interesting is really the appeal that figures like Che have for us.