Originally posted June 23, 2007 @ 10:10
Bumped with update:
Update: Diaz admits her ignorance. Will she stop toting around her Mao bag, now?
Cameron Diaz apologized Sunday for carrying a bag with a political slogan that evoked painful memories in Peru.
The voice of Princess Fiona in the animated “Shrek” films visited the Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru’s Andes on Friday carrying 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 e-mailed to The Associated Press.
Who’s more clueless: Harry Reid or Cameron Diaz? I’ll provide the annotated photos. You decide.
First up, a tipster sends this scanned photo of Reid published this week in Roll Call. It was snapped on Wednesday as Reid headed to a news conference to crow about energy efficiency:
In case you can’t read the caption under the photo, let me reprint it:
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid walks from his Chevrolet Suburban (left) to attend a news conference on energy efficiency Wednesday in Upper Senate Park. Reid rode in the sport utility vehicle from the Capitol to the event, which was across the street.”
The Chevy Suburban SUV weighs in at 5800 pounds and gets 15 mpg. Reid’s got two of them–one in DC and one back in Nevada. He says they are for “security.” What about the “security” of ordinary Americans who drive these same vehicles? Reid and the Senate Dems have just passed an automaker-demonizing energy bill that mandates higher fuel efficiency standards, which will mean higher vehicle prices and more consumers priced out of the new auto market.
“The time has come for us to speak for the American people and not the car manufacturers,” Reid inveighed in between his SUV shuttle stops. Henry Payne of the Detroit News lashes back:
In lecturing automakers to take their medicine, Reid scolded Detroit in particular (including GM) for not making more small, fuel efficient cars: “Perhaps if they had joined us instead of fighting us these last 20 years, they might not be in the financial mess they’re in today. But, as the senator’s own drive confirms, GM is meeting market demand – for Democratic pols who need big, powerful vehicles for security, for example. We await the senator’s next mandate that Capitol security vehicles be planet-saving, 4-cylinder gas hybrid Priuses made by non-union Toyota Motor Company.
Allah’s blog post title sums it up: “Celebrity moron totes trendy Maoist handbag in Peru, home of the Shining Path.” The AP reports:
Actress Cameron Diaz appears to have committed a major fashion faux pas in Peru. The voice of Princess Fiona in the animated “Shrek” films may have inadvertently offended Peruvians who suffered decades of violence from a Maoist guerrilla insurgency by touring here Friday with a bag emblazoned with one of Mao Zedong’s favorite political slogans.
While explored the Inca city of Machu Picchu high in Peru’s Andes, Diaz wore over her shoulder an olive green messenger bag emblazoned with a red star and the words “Serve the People” printed in Chinese on the flap, perhaps Chinese Communist leader Mao’s most famous political slogan.
While the bags are marketed as trendy fashion accessories in some world capitals, the phrase has particular resonance in Peru, where the Maoist Shining Path insurgency brought Peru to edge of chaos in the 1980s and early 1990s with a campaign of massacres, assassinations and bombings.
Nearly 70,000 people were killed during the insurgency.
Cameron’s next trip should be to the Victims of Communism memorial.
Perhaps Harry Reid would be willing to drive her there in his SUV.