There's a neat collection of blogs at Harvard called FinalClub.org which essentially posts summaries of the lectures of various classes. The one I've been following is on American protest literature, and this particular entry addresses the 1960s, particularly through the lens of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It is indeed interesting, and with a very telling critique of the failure of non-Civil Rights protests. One of the main criticisms of protest in the US at the period, and to some extent since, is that it turned into a movement of consumers rather than actors. The blog entries are summaries with commentaries on the lectures, not the lectures themselves, and boy are they tantalizing. However, in their own way, they are also adequate for casual readers like me.
So all of this is because the lecture addresses the commercialization of Che Guevara:
Here is Stauffer’s trenchant point: redefining protest as a cultural act (an expression of freedom through sexuality, drugs and alcohol) is the establishment’s primary method of co-opting political protest. Whenever capitalist industries figure out how to make money from the activist ethos, they effectively reroute political transformation back through the sphere of consumption. (A recent example of this was the fad – no largely past, thankfully – of plastering image on just about everything possible. I once saw the Che image on a wall clock. Talk about the vacuity of commodification. Anti-capitalism sells! The best Che shirt Your Intrepid Blogger has ever seen had a caption below the standard image that said, “Your Logo Here.”)