Letters to the Editor

Distasteful T’s

August 7, 2008


To the editor:

Che Guevara and "hammer and sickle" T-shirts appear all over town, apparently for giggles - though some may be serious. All ought to read Ray Chao's account in Monday's Journal-World of the cruel wickedness of Che's hero, Mao Zedong.

As Eileen Roddy reported, the Chao family was brutally beaten and driven from its home in China simply because Ray's parents were educated people. Che and Mao used the same rhetoric and proclaimed the same paradise, all the while using murder, torture and exile as tools to control people and hold on to their own power.

No, a T-shirt with Hitler's picture or a swastika doesn't make me giggle. This "clothing celebration" of communist liars and murderers doesn't either.

David Upchurch,



bearded_gnome 7 years, 10 months ago

jackieriper,remember, there was tobacco and another std the indians gave the whites. it is false propaganda to spread the myth that it was eutopia before the eeeevil whites came. scalping started between indians a long time before whites came to america. native peoples warred against each other. native peoples cheated each other. it could be argued that tobacco is the red man's revenge! and you know Jackie, if you hate america so much, you should quit living here. yes I'm serious: staying here, you're paying taxes to support that evil government you hate. ***Liberal fascists = oxymoron--try Stalin. atheist, fascist, liberal.

exhawktown 7 years, 11 months ago

I suspect that most people wearing the Che t-shirts have no idea who he was or what he stood for, they just buy them because they think they're "cool," which is sad. As for the hammer and sickle t-shirts, who knows? If the ignorance of the ridiculous limitations of communism is as prevalent as it looks, we are in trouble.As for revulsion over a GOP or McCain or even Christian bumper sticker, they sell Pepto Bismol at Wal-Mart, but probably not at the Merc. :-)

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

madmike: When did Mao commit genocide, please tell. Let's see how much you actually know on this subject. You don't seem to have much of a grasp on his goals, either.

geekin_topekan 7 years, 11 months ago

Boy,this an outrage looking for an issue.Would a good ethnical cleansing make you happy?

jonas 7 years, 10 months ago

logicsound: That was before the term became bastardized to be synonymous with socialism. It was something that I didn't think about when Satirical was posting his paired base definitions of liberalism and conservatism. I might have to bring that up the next time it happens.

paavopetie 7 years, 11 months ago

Yeah! Way to further the misconception that communism/socialism = nazism. I mean, doesn't David know that on any side of an argument the first person to compare the other side Hitler automatically loses?

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

Brent: I would assume that number of dead relies rather heavily on the 20-30 million deaths from famine during the Great Leap Forward, which Mao certainly did not intend, and cast him from real power until his attempt at reclamation that was the Cultural Revolution.

exhawktown 7 years, 10 months ago

"And should we ask the Native Americans in this country what capitalism meant to them?"Let me guess:Penicillin?

exhawktown 7 years, 10 months ago

"their different attitudes of life separate them completely: the black is indolent and fanciful, he spends his money on frivolity and drink; the European comes from a tradition of working and saving which follows him to this corner of America and drives him to get ahead."--Che Guevara

jonas 7 years, 10 months ago

XD40: Are you suggesting that the alternatives to socialism do not also lead to murder?

bearded_gnome 7 years, 11 months ago

madmike:I think Tom was saying that in lawrence there's lots of the same revulsion by McCain/christian bumperstickers. he is right. he wasn't saying he is one of them who feel that way! ***part of the problem: many profs on campus, and others in town (often posting on here) actually do believe in marxism, socialism, Stalin's kind of rule. yes, some of the problem cited here in your letter David is directly because of total failure to teach people in this generation any kind of history! they're taught to hate america (amerika, U.S. of KKK-A)and in some subcultures america hate is fashionable.

geniusmannumber1 7 years, 11 months ago

And once again, the irony has left the building....

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

Maoist. Chuckle. Mao was a great revolutionary, and an absolutely terrible ruler, who's time in and out of power after the founding of the CCP tarnished any good that came out of his successful revolutionary campaign completely. It would have been best for everybody if a meteor had fallen on him right after proclaiming the PRC, but sadly he survived.The fun thing about the red guards is that they effectively answered to no one but themselves. Mao let the cat out of the bag, relying on high-school students and college freshman to supplement his re-taking of power, but his primary purpose, other than power, in the cultural revolution was to rid themselves of the taint of the educated elite on the greater social movement. His primary method for this was relocation and reeducation camps, not sanctioned executions. But the implementation of his goals, like in the Great Leap Forward, far exceeded his ability to discover or control, and most, though not entirely all, of the murders took place solely under the direction of overzealous adherents to his cause. If he had an opinion, and I'm sure he did, it would probably be less along the lines of "these people deserved to die" and more "omelets and broken eggs." Regardless, this is political repression, not genocide. There was never any stated desire or spoken desire to extinguish any ethnic, racial or national groups. The protection towards Chinese minorities was enshrined in the PRC's constitution. Mao's brand of ignorance and idiocy require their own clean analysis in order to maintain any accuracy at all. The funny thing, though, about the Hitler quote is that I can't seem to find a single source for it past the book that is referenced in the Wikipedia link, where I assume you cut and pasted that response from. I wouldn't accuse Harvard scholars of making up information, but it makes me wonder what the initial source was though.

Fort_Aubrey 7 years, 11 months ago

I thought this was going to be a LTE about the bus system. I wondered why they were 'distasteful.' Especially when I thought that was the problem at the swimming pool. Nevermind.

Bamastreet 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm walk around town in a t-shirt with Harry S Truman's likeness on the front. Japanese students give me dirty looks . . .

DavidUpchurch 7 years, 11 months ago

For more documentation of Mao's genocides, see The Black Book of Communism (available at the LPL). And, lest you think it McCarthyite screed, it was originally published by French scholars in French in France!One of the big differences between Hitler's genocides and Mao's is that Mao's were more successful. Hitler ranks a poor third to the murders of innocents done by Mao (#1) and Stalin (#2).So, yes Hitler doesn't equal Mao. Mao was far worse. And, Che was a Mao wannabe.

Brent Garner 7 years, 11 months ago

The following link, which I hope the monitors will allow, addresses the subject of genocide and specifically deaths caused by deliberate action of government. Sadly, it points out just how bloody the 20th century really was. By the way the Chinese Communist government is listed as having killed 35.2 million of its own citizens between 1949 and the present. Even if that number is off by 90% that would be more people than the communists killed in Cambodia. I certainly think it would qualify as genocide.Here is the link.http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/tceh/Slouch_power4.html

Brent Garner 7 years, 11 months ago

Jonas:According to other sites which I looked at regarding this issue, some of which even quoted a Mao biography, it would appear that Mao was aware of the famine problem and couldn't care less what happened as long as the party remained strong and in control. Sounds a bit like the Kim group in North Korea.

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

madmike (Anonymous) says:"Well, now we know where jonas lies politically."You can assume that if you want to, but I doubt that you do. I must admit that I would be interested to see your. . . characterization. . . of the things that I believe.

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

Oh, and Brent, just for clarity's sake. I personally think that equating yourself and your vision with the people of the country you lead or live in is one of the most damnable and destructive things that a citizen or a leader of that country can do, so it would be unwise to think that, in the final sum, I have much respect for Mao.

pace 7 years, 11 months ago

I feel the same way when I see a cartoon character of Nero playing a fiddle. It feels me full of rage and hate. Don't they understand that there is evil and I see it, They would not think it so funny if they had suffered under Nero's thumbs. I wish all those Nero worshipers would just die like poor Claudius.

shirinisb 7 years, 10 months ago

What could/would Che have done with Hitler's resources?

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

Movie, CIA, motives, theory. Sounds like a winning combination. (cough)

jonas 7 years, 11 months ago

Brent: In any light, that assumption is absurd, even tempered with that "as long as they remain in power" epithet that's tacked on en masse to anything related to communist governments. The nature of the Chinese political environment at the time made it virtually impossible for there to be stability without change. The only reason it did not erupt in revolution is because the total Chinese populace was totally behind the policies of the Great Leap Forward, and it was in general natural mistakes at the local level and by the people themselves (and the tremendous problems inherent in communism) that led to the catastrophe in the first place. Of course, the debacle was the fault of the central government, and Mao as its titular head, but that would take far more space than this post is worth. Anyway, you can maintain anything you want, even based hearsay on quotes from His Own Biography, if you want. I'm suspicious of quotes. After all, I'm sure if I searched I could find a quote supporting the view that George Bush wants to be a dictator, and I'm sure we agree that it would be a misrepresentation, ne? Much that I've read shows that, at least abstractly, Mao cared a great deal about his country and his people, at least at the beginning. At the end of his life, I think his primary fault was a megolamaniacal view that equated himself to the people of China. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, as they say.

BrianR 7 years, 11 months ago

Such whining. I'm am around town every day and don't recall seeing a Mao or Che shirt for quite some time. Christ man, get a hobby or something.

SloMo 7 years, 11 months ago

I cringe whenever I see a confederate flag, but you know what, some people like it so much they wear it on their tee shirts, paste it across the rear window of their car, and fly it in their yards. I think such people either don't really understand what that symbol stands for, or they do and they support those ideals. Some of them think that I don't really understand that symbol.I'm glad we live in a country where people can be misguided or out and out wrong-headed, because I'm sure that's how some people see me! And I'm glad we don't try to legislate good taste.

jonas 7 years, 10 months ago

Of course, the leftist ideologues could have been just as culpable in that bastardization as the rightist ones. I wonder how that happened.

not_dolph 7 years, 10 months ago

svengalli -That's because he's (spiderman, cool, metta, jaguar, Sven) not interested in authenticity or full disclosure. He is only interested in stirring the pot when he doesn't get his way. Rather sophomoric, don't you think?

Brent Garner 7 years, 10 months ago

Jonas:Apparently you admire Mao. Forgive me if I don't share your fascination. I am going to give you two links which I hope the monitors will allow. Here they are:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao_Tsetunghttp://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/1/9/202829.shtmlNow, I am sure you will discredit the wikipedia reference but you ought to read it first. Unlike many entries there this one has a list of documentation. And, I am sure you will want to dismiss the second reference as it comes from Newsmax, but before you do you should read the article. The article is about a man who suffered under Mao and this man's personal experience. Depending on which sources you look at and whether or not you include the governmental induced famine during the Great Leap Forward Mao is either responsible directly or indirectly for the deaths of anywhere from 10 million to 30 million or more Chinese. Therefore, I cannot possibly see how anyone can argue that Mao was a benign, wonderful leader who did much good. That he transformed China is true. But so have other tyrants and mass murderers transformed countries. Transformation, no matter how "good" it is perceived, is not always justified nor jutifiable if it comes as the result of the deaths of millioins and millions of people by direct governmental or even indirect governmental action.At this point I expect you to either launch into a tirade against the US over its treatment of the indigenous people found here or to attack the US by making accusation against George Bush. I totally agree that the mistreatment of those peoples was wrong. As for George Bush, I would argue that even if the allegations of Iraqi deaths were true (and there is question about that), George Bush pales when stood next to Mao. Sorry, but Mao remains a bad guy!

not_dolph 7 years, 10 months ago

Wow, Jonathan Kealing...metta (who is also spiderman, cool, jaguar...and SVEN) is flanting it. Just the other day, spiderman was posting the Noam Chomsky youtube links. Since he gets to have multiple personalities...oh, wait, I mean online identities, can I have some extras too?

jonas 7 years, 10 months ago

"Apparently you admire Mao. Forgive me if I don't share your fascination."Apparently you can't read past what you want to see. I've apparently used some interesting words for a man that I apparently admire, such as megalomaniac, idiocy, ignorance, my reference that I did not have much respect for him, suggestions that he should have been killed by a meteor etc. All within this thread. I know far more about this subject than you do, I've studied modern Chinese history extensively, in both English and Chinese, for the last two years, I've lived in China for a prolonged period, and will be getting a Master's Degree in these subjects at the end of this next one. Due to that, I would wager that my overall disdain for Mao is far sharper than yours, because I, unlike you, have more than a couple web sites of knowledge in order to provide context for which wrongs were done for which reasons. So no, I don't think I'm going to bother with your references. Until you take the time to actually understand my position on the matter, I'll just view you as a joke.

not_dolph 7 years, 10 months ago

Poof...where'd "metta" go? I think you are right screed. Out of principle, they ought to jettison him as well. When he comes back with a new name (tomorrow?) it will be easy to pick him out.Do you know what I mean ? That last one was for you...

not_dolph 7 years, 10 months ago

I never metta spiderman who wasn't cool.

jonas 7 years, 10 months ago

Brent: You can believe whatever you believe, but being alive at the time doesn't seem to me to matter much in terms of information relevance. I could say being alive at the time only subjected you, really, to two separate sets of propaganda, theirs and our own. In the same vein, do you really think that Newsmax is going to either look for or publish quotes that demonstrate a more humanitarian side of Mao? Or a more logical one? They were there, but you'd probably have to look prior to 1958 to find them. At any rate, I think it is fair to say that after the Great Leap he didn't care what happened to achieve his revolution. I don't think it's fair to say that before. The Great Leap Forward was Not an intentionally malevolent act, certainly not on the level of Hitler or Stalin. It was intended as benevolent to China, and it's people, a way for China to achieve greatness to equal the western powers. If China is as a country put above its people, that's the nature of Chinese people, and you're viewing it in an ethno-centric fashion. Virtually every Chinese person at the time would have said that they would die for the glory of the country, and most of them for the revolution. But it's foolish to suggest that anybody thought "Oh, hey, this economic experiment is going to kill off tens of millions of our people on accident. hahaha oh well." It's funny, because the Great Leap, which is being utilized ignorantly to deligitimize one man who's been dead for three decades, is really an archetypal and horrific example of the failures inherent within a fully-socialist state, which I've been told still corrupt our perfect market-driven world. Of course, it's also an archetypal and horrific example of what happens when the leaders of a country decide to put the ideological line above expertise, so maybe that's not so fortunate.

Brent Garner 7 years, 10 months ago

Jonas:I will see your disdain and raise it! You are, due to the information disclosed here, younger than 30. For your information I was alive when most of the depredations of Mao occurred. I got to watch and read what little was revealed and later be shocked and stunned at what a bloodthirsty monster Mao is. I am sorry if I misunderstood some of your postings but you specifically took issue with the claim that Mao is responsible for the death of up to 35 million Chinese. You stated he did not intend for the famine he orchestrated to have that affect. I beg to differ with you. Even if it was not an intended consequence he plainly manifested that he did not care how many of his countrymen perished as long as the revolution progressed. And his Cultural Revolution was another nightmare! Frankly, to me, Mao is a worse mass murderer that Stalin or even Hitler. He just did it while smiling for all the world to see.

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