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Monday, November 27, 2006 

I got a bone to pick...

Walking through the glorious cornucopia which is the local shopping mall at this time of year, it's impossible to avoid the hawking calendar stalls, filled with the glossy machinations of whichever page 3 girl or hot-bodied celebrity the public most wishes to jump. What you don't generally expect to find is the err, "official" Che Guevara 2007 calendar:

This bizarre creation is produced by those nice people over at Pyramid Posters, who as well as printing calendars featuring a Marxist revolutionary, also make a pretty penny from selling posters, badges, stickers, keychains, postcards and prints all featuring the familiar cliched but iconic pose of the man.

Over on the licensing page, Pyramid explains it all:

We take our brands and license responsibilities very seriously. Pyramid Posters are one of the founder members of TRAP (Trademarks and Rights holders Against Piracy) and are also a member of LIMA (Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association).

Whether Che would have approved is uncertain. In 2000, Alberto Korda, who took the photograph, went to court against Smirnoff to stop them using Che's image in an advertisement. Korda, who died the following year, most likely left the image rights to his sons. Korda said at the time:
"As a supporter of the ideals for which Che Guevara died, I am not averse to its reproduction by those who wish to propagate his memory and the cause of social justice throughout the world, but I am categorically against the exploitation of Che's image for the promotion of products such as alcohol, or for any purpose that denigrates the reputation of Che"

When your photograph is sitting next to a calendar of Jordan, I'd say that capitalism hasn't so much turned your image into a commodity, as metaphorically dug up your corpse, rooted it, gave a number of bones to a passing dog, then buried it unmarked.

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