At the São Paulo fashion show on July 15, 2002 supermodel Gisele Bundchen catwalked wearing a glamorous bikini consisting entirely of faces of Che Guevara, who rarely bathed and constantly reeked of “boiled liver” and “rotting fish” according to his early comrades and surviving victims.
Granted, the future Mrs Tom Brady probably thought the cool, long-haired image clinging to her bosom and buttocks that day depicted Pink Floyd’s lead guitarist, or perhaps The Door’s lead singer, freshly-bathed and redolent of Guerlain--but still.
Gisele Bundchen, the world’s highest paid model and champion of “female empowerment” comes across as a genuinely decent person, devoted mom, and sincere philanthropist. Given her childhood in Brazil, her social circles today, and the educational qualities of the mainstream media, expecting her to have a clue about her Bikini icon that day seems unfair if not preposterous. Chris Matthews, after all, admitted that he learned much about the Cuban Revolution from The Godfather II. Time magazine, after all, hailed Che Guevara-- co-founder of a regime that jailed political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s, murdered more of them than pre-war Hitler’s, and craved to ignite a nuclear war-- as “Hero and Icon of the Century” alongside Mother Teresa.
Indeed, on this issue, being a high school dropout probably helped Mrs Brady. Given the tenor of “higher” education nowadays, an Ivy League degree in any of the social “sciences” would have probably made her into a lifetime cheerleader for Che-wear. So I offer the following more as missionary than as heckler:
Many American ladies of Cuban heritage whose husbands, sons and grandkids will be cheering for your husband this Sunday, Mrs Tom Brady, carry horrifying memories of the image on your bikini. These ladies suffered under a totalitarian horror utterly unknown in the Western Hemisphere until introduced by the Stalinist regime co-founded by the subject of your cheeky fashion statement.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.