Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mass Murder Chic

A vendor with a 'Nazzy' t-shirt on Calle 13 the other day.
Nazzy t-shirt up close.
While on Calle 13 the other day, I saw this very short street vendor wearing a 'Nazzy' t-shirt while hawking his candies and cigarettes. I suspect that the man has little idea about who the Nazis were and that they were responsible for murdering tens of millions of people - including people with genetic abnormalities like him.

It's more than a bit bizarre that many mass murderers have become chic - including Colombia's own Pablo Escobar, who is estimated to have murdered as many as 50,000 people while building his drug empire.

But here's Escobar, a cultural icon, smiling from a t-shirt:

Argentinean-Cuban rebel leader Che Guevara was idealistic, courageous and led an exciting life. But he also executed hundreds - including teenagers - without trial, and made racist statements about Afro-Venezuelans in his Motorcycle Diaries book. But that hasn't stopped Che from becoming a hero for young people who want to make the world a better place.

Students walk below a Che Guevara mural on the Universidad Nacional campus.
I found this image on Rodolfo Grimaldi's blog, which exposes Ché's dark side. I don't know about all of those accusations against him, but do understand that the Cuban revolution was very homophobic at its origin.
And Chinese dictator Mao Zedong, whose tyrannical rule killed as many as 70 million people thru massacres, public executions, starvation and forced labor, has become a cartoon figure - and commercial icon.
Mao beauty salon near the Universidad Nacional.
Fortunately, Hitler has not (yet) become a hipster symbol. But I have seen 'Stalin' used as a first name in Latin America - chosen presumably by idealistic parents who shut their eyes to the Soviet dictator's purges, mass murders and ethnic cleansing.

I can't help including this t-shirt made by the Spanish company Zara which looks a lot like a Nazi concentration camp uniform, altho the company claims it's supposed to look like something from the U.S. Old West.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Scott R said...


Sadly, you're wrong about Hitler! Last week in a village near Chachapoyas, northern Peru, we were astonished to see election wall-paintings seeking election to Regional Mayor for one Hitler Chuquizuta. I have a picture somewhere! Quite what Mr and Mrs Chuquizuta were thinking when they named their son Hitler I have no no idea.

Interestingly, in nearby villages, we saw candidates for other candidates called Lenin and Engels. Lenin and Engels were from the same party as each other (I'm guessing it's quite leftist!) but different to Hitler's party. That bit at least makes sense!

Shaver said...

Hipster Hitler

Colombialiv said...

There's a taxidriver in Bogotá called Hitler. Jesucristo Hitler, to be more exact...

Vocabat said...

Surely Mao comes from Mauricio, at least in Latin America.

Miguel said...

Well, at least 'Hipster Hitler' is satirizing rather than glorifying the guy.

But the Peruvian candidate, whatever he stands for, is frightening. I found his blogspot page, in which he talks about the importance of communication in the modern age. And, certainly, the original Hitler was an effective communicator.

I wonder what anybody who voted for 'Hitler' has in mind. It's worth remembering that the Nazi dictator got into office democratically.

The taxista's father says he was inspired by the 'scientific and cultural information he's read.' But there are lots of other historical names he could have chosen. Naming his kid Hitler means he's either naive or has some sort of agenda, seems to me.