That is "Mahatma" Gandhi in 1906, back when he was merely Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and working as an attorney in South Africa at the age of 37. We mention Gandhi a lot in our articles, and I often wonder if our readers even know who he is. His face is iconic with people my age mainly because of an Academy Award-winning biopic that was one of the most acclaimed and well-known films of the 1980s. He was the face of nonviolent social change in the world, but that face looked like this:
And that chest. Don't forget that chest.
Anyone my age can draw a rough Gandhi from memory -- bald, round glasses, emaciated, white shawl. And while I would never dream of comparing Gandhi to Lady Gaga, well ... you can see once again the power of iconography. His goal was to become a symbol, so he made himself into a symbol, with a distinct look that could not be forgotten. He created a character. The same as Colonel Sanders, or Batman, or Macho Man.
That's not to make light of what he accomplished at all. The same means can be used to achieve different ends, and the game is the game.
Via Wikimedia Commons
"And you either play or you get played, motherfucker."
Read the first five chapters of David Wong's upcoming novel Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits when you buy the paperback of his NY Times Bestselling tale of dong horror This Book is Full of Spiders. Pre-order at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Indie Bound.
For more from David Wong, check out 17 Images That Will Ruin Your Childhood and The 10 Most Important Things They Didn't Teach You In School.
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Extra Credit: Read Wong's last list of photographs that shatter your image of famous people here. If your favorite famous person existed before cameras, the Cracked forums have a list of quotes that will change your opinion of iconic figures. Marx didn't consider himself a Marxist- but learning that isn't half as surprising as learning the man didn't exist. So when we tell you Betty Crocker and William Tell never existed, you'll be suitably shocked.