At the last Mass of the Holy Father in Cuba, one image from the television coverage impressed me above anything else: looking out over Revolution Square in Havana, from the vantage point of the large altar area where the Pope stood, off in the distance, the camera took in an immense mural of Che Guevara. When at UC Berkeley, I got continually annoyed having to see his face on everything from t-shirts to bumper stickers. Later I learned, that like most secular idols, Guevara was one of the most over-touted and despicable personalities in history, for many of the key moments in his life have remained purposely fuzzy; as the image overpowered the true person behind the hype and propaganda. Here, I am reminded of the endless softball questions thrown to Obama during his 2008 campaign and the vault full of documents that to this day he refuses to release. Though what is truly remarkable about Obama is that he was able to present an already solidified mythic image before he had actually achieved anything. Because even though many pop idols have a sketchy claim to fame, the lore of Obama was conjured up from near nothingness; a couple of mediocre self-serving books and a short stint in local and national politics.
On a polar opposite plan are many of our contemporary heroic Catholic religious and saints who have been fully vetted by a suspicious media and by the Church's own scrupulous examination processes. Their images do not need propping up or governmental propaganda apparatuses to remain fully relevant. Interestingly, Pope Pius XII sustains a major following despite a flood of particularly nasty fantasy-filled books and negative press. Of course, the current Holy Father is also a prime example, as after his election the international media stalked down almost everyone he ever spoke to as a child and adult and scoured through decades of written material hoping to find any hint of scandal. Despite their efforts, they emerged empty-handed. While the same so-called media repeatedly failed to do even the most miniscule amount of investigative journalism when it came to Obama. But this pseudo-religion, that is essentially Marxist, as it contends to sustain state-driven symbols as new gods, is destined to fail. These false idols are pap to the populace and are largely distractions manufactured to confuse and obscure; and the list is endless from degenerate music-queens to criminalized sports stars and hollow ganster martyrs. But there is always hope: the Holy Father, on his way to Mexico, stated: “it is evident that Marxist ideology as it was conceived no longer responds to reality.”