October 23, 2008

Cameron Diaz, revolutionary

Cameron Diaz apologizes for wearing bag with Maoist slogan in PeruThe voice of Princess Fiona in the animated "Shrek" films visited the Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru's Andes on Friday wearing an olive green bag emblazoned with a red star and the words "Serve the People" printed in Chinese, perhaps Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong's most famous political slogan.

The bags are marketed as fashion accessories in some world capitals, but in Peru the slogan evokes memories of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency that fought the government in the 1980s and early 1990s in a bloody conflict that left nearly 70,000 people dead.

"I sincerely apologize to anyone I may have inadvertently offended. The bag was a purchase I made as a tourist in China and I did not realize the potentially hurtful nature of the slogan printed on it," Diaz said in a statement.

On Friday, one prominent Peruvian human rights activist said Diaz should have been a little more aware of local sensitivities when picking her accessories.
Comment:  Diaz should've been aware that a bag she innocently bought in China was connected to a Maoist uprising in Peru two decades ago? I'm not sure she could've found Peru on a map before her 4Real trip there. So I wouldn't criticize her for her choice of bags. "Serve the People" isn't exactly a revolutionary or provocative statement; in fact, it could've been uttered by Jesus or Gandhi.

I noticed this story because when I watched Cameron Diaz Goes to Peru, I saw something strange. A blurred spot kept reappearing in Diaz's vicinity. Eventually, I realized the producers must be blurring something on her bag intentionally. I thought it was some sort of commercial logo, but it turned out to be a Maoist slogan instead.

So there you have it. A Canadian TV show censoring Chairman Mao on a Hollywood celebrity's bag at an Inca site. Another fine example of Native America intersecting pop culture.

For more on the subject, see Native Documentaries and News.

Below:  "Like, rise up and throw off your, you know, bourgeois masters, or whatever!"

1 comment:

dmarks said...

Cannibalism was one of the features of Mao's "Cultural Revolution", so in his case, "Serve the People" could have been a culinary quotation.