Friday, October 19, 2007

The Motorcycle Diaries

We watched "The Motocycle Diaries" last night. I thought it was a really good film. It's about a road trip that "Che" Guevera took with his friend, Alberto Granado, when he was 24 and the latter was 29.

It was visually beautiful. The mountains at the tip of Argentina and Chile, the snow, the desert, the home of the Inca at Macchu Picchu, the rivers. I almost felt patriotic, except I'm not a South American.

I've got to take exception with a comment from this review:

The Motorcycle Diaries is lovely to look at but insipid, a lavishly illustrated Rough Guide to white liberal self-affirmation.


The whole point of it was that Ernesto (Che) and Alberto were white, upper-middle class boys. They were relatively privileged, ... is it possible to say "relatively extremely privileged" (in light of the grinding poverty of some of the people they encountered)? These privileged white boys went on a road trip and it changed them, and one of them went on to fight and win in a revolution of world-historical importance.

I wouldn't say the film is all that "liberal" either. Even in this gentle film, there's a moment when Che argues with his friend that it is impossible to have a revolution without guns.

Other reviewers feel compelled to point out that Che Guevera shot people. This supposedly detracts from the characterization of the sweet, soulful young man in the film. Most of the reviewers who feel fit to level judgment against Che Guevera are no doubt completely oblivious to the reality that they benefit each and every day from the fact that we shoot people in Latin America, we terrorize, torture, and exploit them. We fund, arm, and train mass-murderers. Peasants who protested peacefully found themselves just as dead as those who took up arms against that system.

So, yes, Che Guevera shot people. US and Canadian soldiers shoot people. The School of the Americas teaches fascist nincompoops how to use torture to interrogate people. The difference, as the movie tries to point out, is that Che fought and killed to try to destroy a system that worshipped money and power over human life, whereas the system we fund and support and benefit from, well, it is that system. Che lost. A lot of his ideas turned out to be badly, dangerously flawed. But our system is failing too. As the neo-liberal manager/governments of South America continue to topple in the face of popular rage against their destructive incompetence, something better is going to take its place. Something inspired by the same principles that impressed themselves on young Ernesto "Che" Guevera.

8 comments:

fergusrush said...

"The difference, as the movie tries to point out, is that Che fought and killed to try to destroy a system that worshipped money and power over human life,..."

The irony of killing to promote "human life" seems lost on you.

"As the neo-liberal manager/governments of South America continue to topple in the face of popular rage against their destructive incompetence, something better is going to take its place."

I hope you are correct.

thwap said...

Nothing is lost on me, "fergusrush."

I was trying to be perfectly honest about what Che did, while describing what motivated him.

You might live in puffy-marshmallow land, where Latin-American dictators and their US paymasters respond to the will of the people and the rule of law, but that just isn't the case.

By your own logic, you must oppose any military mission that seeks to champion human life by killing those who wish to abuse and violate it.

The alleged inspiratio of our "mission" in Afghanistan for instance.

fergusrush said...

Gee, I thought the purpose of our mission was to fulfill our obligation to NATO as it strives to deny Afghanistan to the Taliban, thereby forcing terrorists like al Qaeda to find bases elsewhere.

Actually, thwap, I know that you understand the irony I referred to in my earlier comment. It was really just a barb, because I find it laughable that you deplore killing only when it is not lefties doing it. They always get a free pass from you.

thwap said...

fergusrush,

"Gee, I thought the purpose of our mission was to fulfill our obligation to NATO as it strives to deny Afghanistan to the Taliban, thereby forcing terrorists like al Qaeda to find bases elsewhere."

Gee, I guess I never heard anyone who supports Canada's presence in Afghanistan ever try to justify it by saying that we're trying to give the Afghans a chance at a better life through reconstruction and democracy-building.

What you tried to do, and failed to do, was to divert your own logic from discrediting the mission in Afghanistan. If you're going to decry the taking of human life, and insist that it discredit's any goal associated with, you're going to have to be consistent.

"Actually, thwap, I know that you understand the irony I referred to in my earlier comment. It was really just a barb, because I find it laughable that you deplore killing only when it is not lefties doing it. They always get a free pass from you."

Well, even though I am a leftist, that statement is still wrong.

fergusrush said...

"If you're going to decry the taking of human life,..."

Ahh, I see the misconception. I don't "decry" the taking of human life, thwap, it's innocent human life that I value.

Of course, your definition of "innocent" is sure to differ from mine.

thwap said...

Sigh.

You're flinging shit, in the hopes to make something stick, but you're throwing it in all directions and if anything, most of it appears to be sticking to you.

If you've got something more than snide innuendos, by all means, make a fucking point.

Nonny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
thwap said...

Idiot without a life, are you nonny?