Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Marc by Marc, Save Us?

This drew my attention to Marc Jacobs' latest political zap: a new line of Al Gore t-shirts. "On Boston's uber-chic Newbury Street and in New York's Soho, I've already spotted numerous hipsters sporting Marc Jacobs' new Al Gore fashion line," writes the Nation's Sam Graham-Felsen.

It's always so embarrassing when fashion gets political, like with the Che shirts that this invokes (the other thing it deliberately invokes is every fashionista's favorite electroclash album, 'Chicks on Speed, Save Us').

But I'll let joancrawfordsface (in a discussion we had a couple months ago) argue the merits of aestheticization.

andy warhol mass produced iconography and it has filtered down to where he intended - pop culture. che guevara the rebel is eaten up by pop for his image. the eye wins out over politics.

ask yourself why it is che and not nelson mandela (or even fidel castro) on those tee shirts. ask yourself why it is that particular image of che and not another. i suggest to you that it is the image and not the man (or his AUTHORITARIAN politics) that is being celebrated here. che guevara was undeniably photogenic and never more so in that iconographic image. what's more, his face is decidely in tune with modern male fashion - embryonic wisps of beard, and framed by shaggy, unkempt mid-length hair. a person would not need to know the man or the politics behind the image to understand its implications, either. the imperious, defiant (and i would say auto-erotic soulful) look in his eyes tells enough. this image is that of a warrior, over which we write our own script. even if we do not know his story (and i agree that many sporting the image probably don't) we can understand his rebellion directly from the image.

guevara as style icon makes perfect sense to me. and the people who suggest that his image deserves sacred space probably know as little about his politics (what his rebellion was meant to achieve - and what his legacy is) as the fashionistas picking up the tee shirts in primark.

Which raises the question: is this new fashion line really all about Al's hotness? And if so, what does that reveal about our values?


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