Culture

Mao Less Than Ever

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From Breitbart.com:

US actress Cameron Diaz has apologised for wearing a bag with a political slogan that evoked painful memories in Peru.

The voice of Princess Fiona in the animated Shrek films visited the Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru's Andes wearing an olive green bag emblazoned with a red star and the words "Serve the People", perhaps Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong's most famous political slogan, printed in Chinese.

The bags are marketed as fashion accessories in some cities around the world, but in Peru the slogan evokes memories of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency that fought the government in the 1980s and early 1990s in a bloody conflict that left nearly 70,000 people dead.

"I sincerely apologise to anyone I may have inadvertently offended," Diaz said in a statement. "The bag was a purchase I made as a tourist in China andI did not realise the potentially hurtful nature of the slogan printed on it."

One prominent Peruvian human rights activist said Diaz should have been a little more aware of local sensitivities when picking her accessories.

At least she can return the bag. Iron Mike Tyson may have a tougher time with his exchange, especially if he's lost the receipt. More here.

Meanwhile, sales of Che Guevara tattoos are a bit flat these days too.

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  1. I wonder how long it would be until I was yelled at on the streets of Hollywood (if not killed) if I wore a stylish red t-shirt with black lettering that said NDSAP with a German Eagle atop a Swastika under it?

  2. Reminds me of the time I wore my swastika swimsuit on Miami beach. Faux paaaaaaa…

    What a dingbat. I guess cultural sensitivity doesn’t include cracking open a history book.

  3. (second pic)

    “Mmm, that’s a tasty lookin’ ear you’ve got there…”

  4. I wore my ‘no che’ t-shirt to a hippie co-op food market yesterday and got some strange looks from people. When anyone asked why I was wearing the shirt, I told them that Che would probably kill me if he saw me wearing it. Not too many people could argue with that.

  5. Come on, now-everyone knows that it’s perfectly acceptable to wear Mao/Guevara/whomever apparel. After all, the murders committed by those folks don’t really count because communists cared about poor people and inequality and stuff. And Guevara was, like, totally a rebel and it’s cool to wear t-shirts that show you’re a rebel too.

  6. I don’t know whether I’m ecstatic or ludicrous.

  7. Anyone ever been to Mao’s hometown and the heavily visited museum there?

  8. I just can’t get worked up over this kind of stuff. Cheesy, plaid out fashion statements are a net positive in my book, and as for bad tattoos, well they are always welcome.

    One thing I don’t understand is why Mao? That dood is no ones hero and he looks like a douche, which makes for bad tooin'(which is why I’m glad he got one!). Che, on the other hand, at least looks kinda cool (thats what the kids are sayin’). Like a pro tennis player with a mean clay court game.

  9. I don’t know whether I’m ecstatic or ludicrous.

    Living Color jokes! Does that date me?

  10. She BOUGHT a handbag with COMMUNIST slogan she didn’t understand. Let’s just chalk this up bad luck in accessory purchases and not a promotion of communist manifesto or cultural insensitivity.

  11. This has to be a hoax. She’s a celebrity. They know everything.

  12. This has to be a hoax. She’s a celebrity. They know everything.

    Absolutely correct. That’s why congress allows so many to testify in any damned discipline they wish.

  13. She BOUGHT a handbag with COMMUNIST slogan she didn’t understand. Let’s just chalk this up bad luck in accessory purchases and not a promotion of communist manifesto or cultural insensitivity.

    Promotion of communist manifesto – no. Cultural insensitivity – yes. Traipsing around a country wearing the slogan of the local terrorist group because I think it looks cool is the very definition of cultural insensitivity.

    If I wear a Skynard T-shirt with the Stars and Bars it doesn’t make me a racist. But, If I wear that shirt in Harlem I shouldn’t be surprised when I get punched in the face.

  14. If I wear a Skynard T-shirt with the Stars and Bars it doesn’t make me a racist. But, If I wear that shirt in Harlem I shouldn’t be surprised when I get punched in the face.

    You should ask them to give you three steps before the punch you.

  15. I think the big red star should have given away it was communist.

    Unless she thought it was a Heiniken T-shirt, which coincidently used to sell very well among Cubans in Miami until they filled in the red star.

  16. Communist thugs are cool! And dreamy!

  17. Abdul,

    LoL.

  18. next time I’m a celebrity traveling around a foreign country, I’ll make sure to see what local terrorists were promoting…jesus.

  19. ProLib,

    I wonder if the tattoo shop could get sued for copyright infringement of that Che image?

    …based on recent dealings with Cafepress…

  20. I started to recount your encounter with the clearly pro-communist CafePress.com a little while ago, but I thought I’d let you do it.

    Parody, damn you, parody!

    By the way, what do you think about just using the Anima dannata image? Does it work? Or does it lack oomph?

  21. Perhaps the Peruvians are just opposed to *Chinese* Communist mass murderers; as I remember it, you can’t walk a block without seeing a Che t-shirt in a shop window in Cuzco.

  22. PL,

    I’m pretty sure it’ll work on its own. I’ll have to see the final product and then decide if I want to make additions to it afterwards…

    As for the Cafepress thing; Suffice it to say that they are a snot-nosed, spineless little bunch from San Francisco 🙂

  23. Oh, and if I’m going to go completely off topic, I might as well link to what the hell I’m talking about, huh? Here is Bernini’s Anima dannata for your viewing pleasure. Thusly, I rename the statue: The Appalled Libertarian.

    By the way, back in the 80s, I recall seeing a guy with a concert-style shirt that highlighted Hitler’s European tour. I had forgotten this, but that shirt encountered a couple of moments of controversy, including REM tossing a guy out on his ass for wearing the shirt.

  24. Is there no alternative to Cafepress?

    printfection.com?

  25. hmmmm…I’ll have to check that out later on, highnumber…

    Thanks!

  26. Apparently, it seems they have no problem using that image.

    I’ll peruse it a bit more after work tomorrow.

  27. “Is there no alternative to Cafepress?”

    I just print them myself.

  28. You should ask them to give you three steps before the punch you.

    Oooh, nicely played.

  29. Anyone ever been to Mao’s hometown and the heavily visited museum there?

    I’ve visited Berkeley but I missed the museum?

  30. Cameron Diaz should have had Mike Tyson on “Trippin'”–they could have thrown shit at huts together. I would have watched that.

  31. I hate to say it, but I had no idea “Serve the people” was a particularly Maoist slogan either. (The red star on the other hand.) I thought it was a cannibal slogan.

  32. The headline should have been:

    Serve The People, Hold The Mao.

  33. heh, look!

    If that were no enough, the children of Alberto Korda, the late Cuban photographer who took the picture of Che Guevara that became an icon of progressive students worldwide, sued Tyson for stiffing them on a license fee to put Che’s face on his stomach. They demanded $50,000 in compensation, which is how much the photographer had won previously, in an out-of-court settlement with companies that had used Che’s image in an ad for Smirnoff vodka.

    Is this true?? lol…

  34. jimmydageek,

    Okay, the Che-Mart ad is funny. Hawkin’ the Che.

  35. NEWSFLASH

    Entertainers aren’t very bright.

  36. ed,

    What a ridiculous statement. Of course they’re bright and well educated! Otherwise, why would we hang on their every word, their every move, the way we do? Sorry, can’t post any longer, Paris just peeked out of her jail cell!

  37. No, entertainers aren’t often very bright, and I’m sure Ms. Diaz had no intention of offending anybody or promoting any kind of Maoist agenda.
    She’d probably never heard of the Shining Path and never even considered that a Chinese bag would upset anybody in Peru.
    A friend of mine once was wearing a Mao t-shirt. I asked her if she’d walk around in a Hitler or Stalin t-shirt. She didn’t really have an answer — certainly she had no Maoist inclinations (any more than your standard lefty twenty-something). She told me her grandmother gave it to her. Her grandmother is a fabulously wealthy socialite. Go figure …

  38. She’d probably never heard of the Shining Path and never even considered that a Chinese bag would upset anybody in Peru.

    Of course she had no idea. That’s what makes it funny.

    Just like the time I wore my ghost costume to the MLK Day parade. Honest mistake.

  39. I have no affection for Cameron Diaz. But the slogan was written in Chinese characters. I really can’t fault Cameron Diaz for not knowing how to read it. Nor can I fault her for buying it in the first place. I have this cute pink tote bag with Chinese characters on it. I carried it to the laundromat once and the Chinese owner told me they were upside down. Which has never stopped me from carrying it.

    I can fault her for that appalling “Trippin'” show she did for MTV, in which she praised the “eco-friendly” lifestyles of impoverished third worlders, but not for this.

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