Saturday, September 20, 2008

Clothes: Che Guevara T-Shirt

Richard Shindell: Che Guevara T-Shirt


A song of immigration and racial inequality from Richard Shindell, one of my favorite still-standing Fast Folk-era folksingers, who has a way with the words of the downtrodden and their confrontations with the trappings of so-called justice which in his best moments transcends even the crushed hopes and longing of Springsteen or Joan Baez on similar topics. Here, our titular shirt is worn by the narrator's young love, a girl for whom he has embarked upon a dangerous journey to the land of milk and honey, only to be stymied by terrorist-dream-driven border patrol assumptions about the iconic portrayal which she sports on her chest in the photograph he carries.

It's like I tell my media students: never forget the power of the iconographic to be misunderstood. What you wear speaks volumes, and though it may have a particular meaning to you, its message is hardly ever clear.

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