The Artist Formerly Known as Dissident

Artists have a duty to dissent—even against Obama

For over 14 years, I've been professionally involved in the street-art community, hosting events where artists paint live installations, and producing and promoting national art tours. I've personally known the key players behind the Barack Obama "Hope" posters for many years—one being a former employee of mine, another a former colleague. I'm excited for their accomplishment and sense of pride for participating in Obama's historic presidential campaign. When asked by my former employee to be involved with the Hope poster distribution, I declined on philosophical grounds, but fully appreciated and understood their passions.

But that said, it feels to me, as it did during the campaign, that the art community is not meeting its duty of always questioning those in power. And I say duty because the art community, as a counterpart of the press, has been given special rights written into the Bill of Rights, known broadly as freedom of the press, for the explicit purpose of keeping power in check.

Throughout modern history, art typically enters politics on a mass scale in two fashions: first, as a check on power; second, as a tool used by those in power. Freedom of the Press comes into play in both cases, but in very different ways. In the first case, it protects political commentary by artists. This freedom is not a garnish. It is a necessary weapon, enshrined in the Constitution for the purpose of countering contradictions, hypocrisies, and distortions made by politicians and others in power. Yet the art community has responded to the Obama administration's contradictions, hypocrisies, and distortions with near total silence.

Consider the recent flurry of debate over the Obama "Joker" posters that have been appearing in Los Angeles. This image represents the only substantial counterpoint to Obama's current agenda from the art community. What's been the response?

One writer from the LA Weekly declared of the image, "The only thing missing is a noose." Philip Kennicott of The Washington Post stated, "So why the anonymity? Perhaps because the poster is ultimately a racially charged image." Bedlam magazine, the first to comment on the poster back in April, argued, "The Joker white-face imposed on Obama's visage has a sort of malicious, racist, Jim Crow quality to it." Why would any artist who hopes to have (or keep) a career create images that criticize the president when both journalists and art reviewers make such irrational comments? To give some perspective, remember that the "noose" comment came from a publication that once presented a cover image of George W. Bush as a bloodthirsty vampire.

When I first saw the Obama Joker poster on my block in April I tried to read the website featured in the upper right-hand corner, but it was too pixilated to decipher. Is anonymity part of the artist's message? Possibly. However, if anonymity is not a part of the message, can you blame the artist for wanting to remain anonymous given the irrational and racially-charged criticism the poster has received?

I find it hard to believe that the Obama Joker creator is the only serious detractor (assuming that it is a critical commentary) within the art community. And I'm sure the incendiary criticism will keep others from creating similar images. But regardless of political affiliation, the art community must embrace all rational dissenters. Art must not exclusively serve the interests of any presidential administration.

It's time for the art community to return to its historical role in political affairs, which means speaking to power, not on behalf of it. Which leads me to the second case where art enters politics on a mass scale. The power of art, in combination with the suppression of free speech or a free press, has been used as a tool by authoritarian governments to control their citizens. From Hitler, Stalin, and Mao to Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il, art has been used to deify leaders while preserving the position of the ruling class. Most artists would not want to be referred to as tools of the state, but in the case of Obama's administration, that's exactly what they've been so far.

Patrick Courrielche is a marketing strategist, art community consultant, and co-founder of the non-traditional advertising agency Inform Ventures, LLC. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/courrielche.

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  • Xeones||

    After all, art should question those in power, not speak on their behalf.

    But... hope! and change!

    And, and art grants!

  • Ska||

    When the author Godwins his own post, can we still comment?

    Not sure that there's much more to say about this one, I think it got some heavy coverage yesterday. That, and the whole racist angle is absurd.

    I guess the takeaway is that if you're going to depict Obama negatively through images, you're going to be called a racist. Maybe the follow up should be to show one of those schoolbuses from the opening bank heist with a bunch of dudes sporting press passes and the caption "retards." Yeah, it's childish, but it's about time.

  • hmm||

    I wonder how long until last nights altercation between SEIU protesters and a black tea party protester makes it to main stream media. It happened at a Carnahan town hall.

    really long Post Disgrace article

    I await the SEIU / black guy beer fest.

    Russ made sure to hit the DNC talking point in his response. Nice work buddy. But isn't SEIU a Washington special interest?

    Sadly we've seen stories about disrupters around the country, and we have a handful of them here in Missouri. Instead of participating in a civil debate, they have mobilized with special interests in Washington who have lined their pockets by overcharging Americans for a broken health care system.

  • Art||

    Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value-judgements.

  • hmm||

    Stupid cops as an added bonus.

  • ||

    Hmm. Fuck you?

  • DJF||

    """After all, art should question those in power, not speak on their behalf."""'

    Art speaks for whoever pays for it.

    Just ask FDR who spent lots of taxpayer dollars on art during the depression and ended up with lots of pro-FDR art.

  • john quinn||

    The Barack Obama Joker Poster And The Purpose Of The Artist
    http://theobservedblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/barack-obama-joker-poster-and-purpose.html

  • hmm||

    Hmm. Fuck you?

    I won't answer until I see photos.

  • <strike>strike through</strike||

    I wonder why nobody is taking credit for it? I sure as hell would. Maybe I should!

  • <strike>strike through</strike||

    (If Joe The Plumber is the artist, I'm going to kill myself.)

  • ||

    My Gawd, The Words, "RAINBOW PARTY" Are Stuck In My Head!

  • ||

    This is why they portrayed Obama as The Joker:

    Bruce Wayne: Targeting me won't get their money back. I knew the mob wouldn't go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed the line.

    Alfred Pennyworth: You crossed the line first, sir. You squeezed them, you hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation they turned to a man they didn't fully understand.

    Bruce Wayne: Criminals aren't complicated, Alfred. Just have to figure out what he's after.

    Alfred Pennyworth: With respect, sir, perhaps this is a man that *you* don't fully understand.



    They are blaming this mess on non-Democrats who voted for Obama to punish McCain for Bush's fuck-ups. It's simplistic, but it is not nonsensical.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I don't understand...

    A) The original intent or message of the poster

    B) The claims of racism associated with this image


    Have my 4 (and a half) years of art school failed me (even worse than they already did)?

  • Paul||

    It now appears that any negative depiction of Obama is going to be recieved by the American press the same way the radical muslim community responded to the cartoon drawing's of Muhammed.

    That is all.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Which means it should be embraced by the art community, not smeared. After all, art should question those in power, not speak on their behalf."

    Ha!

    Don't hold your breath on that.

    When the shoe is on the other foot, it's a one way street.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Oh, OK, I get it, SF (I didn't see your post before I posted). Sorta.

  • ||

    "They are blaming this mess on non-Democrats who voted for Obama to punish McCain for Bush's fuck-ups. It's simplistic, but it is not nonsensical."


    That is the real problem with the Democratic party going completely off the rails over the last 8 years. It allows the Republicans to get away with murder. The Republicans deserved to lose in 2006 and 2008. But, the price of them losing was putting this lunatic along with Pelosi and Reid in power. That is a cure worse than the disease. The problem is not so much BO. The electorate is going to take care of his dumb ass in 2010 and 2012. The problem is what are we going to do with the Republicans who take his place. They are now going to be able to get away with murder by saying to the electorate, "do you want another Obama Administration"? They were able to do it for 12 years after Carter. They may be able to do it for 20 years after BO. It is not good to have one party go completly off the rails.

  • Steve Smith||

    How is the poster being "smeared" by the "art community," whatever that is? The fact that it's a racist poster depicting a black man in whiteface seems to be a reasonable criticism, especially given the context and the author's anonymity.

    Libertarians should be more offended that the Joker is being tagged in a poster as a "socialist," since his character (at least in the Heath Ledger version) is someone after their own heart.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    It now appears that any negative depiction of Obama is going to be recieved by the American press the same way the radical muslim community responded to the cartoon drawing's of Muhammed.

    Death threats?


    Gilbert Martin,

    Most artists are left-wing [citation needed], but there are definitely artists that go in for the more right-wing stuff (I always liked Dali's provocative right-winginess), and also equal-opportunity offenders.

  • ||

    Thank goodness someone's come by to call us all murderous psychopaths.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Libertarians should be more offended that the Joker is being tagged in a poster as a "socialist," since his character (at least in the Heath Ledger version) is someone after their own heart.

    I thought Joker was a sociopathic anarchist with some serious boundary issues, not a libertarian.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Hmmm,

    Sugarfree for the rendering all my posts useless ;)

  • Cliché Bandit||

    This poster does not really do much for me. I get what SF said but...uhh /shrug. The racists remarks are always going to be thrown around, no logic required. And to say that libertarians are like the Joker is assinine. Destruction and anarchy are not core principles of libertarian philosophy.

    In other news: Hmm's threadjack attempt was pretty crazy stuff. I think the far left is cracking.

    Patience is a virtue

  • ||

    What is the big deal? Obama looks pretty good.

  • ||

    Libertarians should be more offended that the Joker is being tagged in a poster as a "socialist," since his character (at least in the Heath Ledger version) is someone after their own heart.

    I gotta be honest... The only reason I didn't vote for Barr in '08 was he was too ambiguous in his support for blowing up hospitals.

  • ||

    The left is starting to crack. Note, they are not trying to actually convince anyone of anything. They are just attacking the motives of anyone who questions them, which if you have ever tried to argue a point with a liberal in the last 20 years should not surpise you. Best of the Web boiled down the arguments for Obamacare as follows:

    • Republicans are bad, they lost the last election, and they have partisan motives for wanting to stop ObamaCare.

    • People who are angry about this are crackpots who display swastikas and other invidious symbols. Also, their anger is insincere, and they are shills of the RNC. They wear nice clothes, and this is not to their credit.

    • Some of the arguments against ObamaCare are false, according to Obama.

    • If ObamaCare is defeated, Obama would be hurt.


    Maybe I have too much faith in the American people, but I don't think that is going to cut it.

  • Warty||

    Thank goodness someone's come by to call us all murderous psychopaths.

    And by the look of him, he's an ape, or perhaps a cyclops.

  • MNG||

    We determined he was a nihilist yesterday Art. Pro L posted like a 7 point definition of the term and it fit the Ledger Joker to a T.

  • guy in the back row||

    depicting a black man in whiteface

    I know there was a tradition of white actors doing blackface (just saw it in Yankee Doodle Dandy on TMC last month) but I didn't know the obverse was racist. Is it racist to white people? I'm not offended, but perhaps I should be? It's racist for balck people? What happens when OBL puts out pictures of BO dressed like Uncle Remus or Aunt Jemima? Iranian invasion?

  • mng||

    warty
    he cat be both?

  • ||

    You have to remember the left have been in the moniority for nearly 30 years. During that time they never had any power so they never had to worry about convincing anyone except each other. Then they came into power primarily because of the incompetance of Republicans. These people have no idea how to persuade anything. They spent the last 8 years screaming and throwing shit like monkeys. And now they are shocked when people actually expect to be persuaded before supporting whatever crackpot program they are proposing.

  • mng||

    "can't"

  • ||

    John, being from the other side of reality, i see things a bit differently. Bush and company beat the patriotism drum loud and long for 8 years, whipping the folks into a sheeple state of mind while waging an unpopular war at the end of an economic cycle. So we get a very charismatic populist president with the folks still in that sheeple/blind patriotism state of mind. The media is enabling the dissent is unamerican mindset and the right is being played like a fat chick at a frat party.
    The republicans wanted the president to have unlimited power without foreseeing an Obama in the future. Reaping what the sowed.

  • ||

    If it is racist to depict BO in white face, is a black man being a clown racist?

  • MNG||

    "You have to remember the left have been in the moniority for nearly 30 years."

    With all the conservatives bitching about the liberal establishment I would never have guessed this...

    "And now they are shocked when people actually expect to be persuaded before supporting whatever crackpot program they are proposing."

    I don't think any serious person on the left thought changing health care would be an easy political feat...

  • ||

    The fact that it's a racist poster depicting a black man in whiteface seems to be a reasonable criticism, especially given the context and the author's anonymity.

    So all anonymous depictions of Obama can be reasonably assumed to be racist? So if the gay-fantasy Obama on a unicorn painting was unsigned, it would be racist? Or is it just that unsigned art that is critical of Obama is racist?

    And it's clown make-up not whiteface. There is a difference, you know. Are all clowns racist? Or just the black clowns? Are white clowns in white clown make-up reverse racists? Racist against themselves, perhaps?

  • PR||

    my favotite line from hmmm's threadjack:

    "My friend took pictures," Matthews said, "and an officer told her not to. She contested that."

    this was 2 seconds after Matthews and his friend tried to have someone arrested for videotaping them.

  • ||

    "The media is enabling the dissent is unamerican mindset and the right is being played like a fat chick at a frat party.
    The republicans wanted the president to have unlimited power without foreseeing an Obama in the future. Reaping what the sowed."

    First of all, using the term sheeple is a quick way to get someone to stop reading your post. But I suffered through it. Second, the Republicans were so good at making dissent un-American they managed to lose both branches of elected government in a span of two years. So, I wouldn't look to their model as a way to stay in power.

    Second, if the Dems are using the Republicans' tactics, the Republicans' are using the Dems' tactics from the 00s. So, I fail to see how either side has a right to complain. It is politcs. Of course the Dems are going to claim their opponents are unamerican whackjobs. That is what politicians do. But, that doesn't mean they are going to win the argument or convince anyone of anything.

  • Will Rodgers||

    I'm not a member of any organized political party . . . I'm a democrat.

  • ||

    Seems I got lapped while typing.

  • SFH||

    The racism claim comes from showing a black man in whiteface, which calls to mind showing a white man in blackface, which would be more blatantly racist.

    I object because the caption is so lame. If the caption were "Why so socialist?" it would make sense as playing off the Heath Ledger character. When you just put the word "socialist" there, it just lies there.

    If "as street-art veteran Patrick Courrielche writes, this poster actually represents the only substantial artistic counterpoint to Obama's current agenda," then political satire is in trouble.

  • ||

    "I don't think any serious person on the left thought changing health care would be an easy political feat..."


    I guess that is why they decided to go slow and build a consensus instead of slapping a policy together in the first 100 days and demanding it pass both houses by August. If they knew it was going to be hard, they would have tried to persuade people rather than ramming it through.

  • MNG||

    Sugar-free
    Notice the unicorn Obama was riding was white. Now there's some reverse racism or racism in there somewhere!

  • anarch||

    When the shoe is on the other FLEET foot, it's a one way street.



    ftfy

  • ||

    John, I agree that the tactics haven't changed. The audience has changed. the tactics now, imo, are a losing gameplan.

  • ||

    "If "as street-art veteran Patrick Courrielche writes, this poster actually represents the only substantial artistic counterpoint to Obama's current agenda," then political satire is in trouble."

    It is in trouble and has been for years. When the artists all think the same way and support the same programs and have the same enemies, chances are art is going to suck.

  • ||

    don't think any serious person on the left

    I thought all people on the left were, by definition, "serious"

    gawd I hate that term.

  • MNG||

    John
    Duh, why do you think they tried to ram it through? Noone is going to change anyone's mind on this. Ramming was the best thing politically, if what you want is for it to pass.

  • bill rabbit||

    I really, really, really, really, really don't understand what the hell this poster is supposed to mean. As it was pointed out here the other day, the Joker is not a socialist. Also, he's a white guy (and have we become so confused as a society that black people in white face is somehow the same as white people in black face? ESPECIALLY when that person was not even a party to the masquerade? Or is the artist suggesting that Obama is an "Uncle Tom" because he's a socialist, a charge that makes absolutely no sense to me...). Also, the Joker's a psychopath. Also, he's a dead actor.

    My point: this artist sucks. Get better artists if you really want to criticize the gubment.

  • kinnath||

    The democrats took both chambers of congress with overwhelming majorities. They also elected an extremely popular candidate that brought huge numbers of young people into the political process.

    They couldn't even make it to September before their agenda came crashing down on them.

    I suppose I'd be bitter and irrational as well.

  • ||

    Seems I got lapped while typing.

    How much did you have to pay for that?

  • ||

    The socialist has never looked better!!!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    We determined he was a nihilist yesterday Art. Pro L posted like a 7 point definition of the term and it fit the Ledger Joker to a T.

    You're right, too. Of course, I'm sure you pointed out that nihilists with the faith of their conviction would seem to end up, if not like the "kidnappers" from the The Big Lebowski, then like The Joker.

    Disclaimer: AFAIK, I've never met a nihilist.


    Seems I got lapped while typing.

    Now you know how it feels! :::runs off crying

  • MNG||

    It's pretty much insane to claim the Joker thing is racist. He's made to look like the Joker because the Joker is a bad destructive guy, and the maker of the poster thinks Obama and the socialism he supposedly brings is a bad, destructive thing for the nation. Jesus Christ!

  • Warty||

    Hey Steve Smith, come back and take your insults, you recently-lobotomized homosexual Neanderthal.

  • ||

    As far as art, I think the image works. The joker is a sociopath - because he tries to remake society in his image, regardless of the consequences. he is obsessed with his own image - he hides behind a facade.

  • ||

    I'd have gone with "stupidly" instead of "socialism", but my artistic sense is a bit snarky.

  • MNG||

    Art
    There was a nihilist in the book Fathers and Sons by Turgenev(?). Read it in college and thought it was good, not trying to sound all elitist ;). Anyway, the nihilist character was interesting, almost Randian in a way if tht makes sense...

  • kinnath||

    I posted the other day that it was a great image with a lousy caption.

    I would have gone with "better class of elected official" or something like that.

  • ||

    "John
    Duh, why do you think they tried to ram it through? Noone is going to change anyone's mind on this. Ramming was the best thing politically, if what you want is for it to pass."


    Yeah because a bunch of 12 year olds can do all nighters in the Whitehouse and slap together a good plan. They did the same thing with the stimulus and wound up with a monumental piece of crap that did nothing to stimulate the economy and wasted $700 billion dollars.

    You can't put together a bill too long to read that no one, not even the bill's supporters have read that reorganizes people's health care and expect the country to stand idly by as you ram it through Congress. People won't stand for that. It is the height of arrogance and stupidity. Yeah just tell the country "we will be spending a few trillion of your dollars and changing the way you get healthcare, but shut the hell up, we won the election and this is what you want even though half of you voted for us because you were angry at the otherside and didn't think we would fuck things up any more than they already are." It is amateur hour up there.

  • MNG||

    Warty
    I think his fellow apes are grooming around his eye.

  • ||

    MNG,

    Notice the unicorn Obama was riding was white.

    A black man riding a unicorn is clearly an argument in favor of reparations. He wants to break the white race to the saddle and ride them hard and put the away wet to sweat out tax money. But there is no saddle and he is naked. Obama wants to pound his balls into white people's backs!

    (Both sides can play the out-of-context racial deconstructionism game! Whee!)

  • Paul||

    It now appears that any negative depiction of Obama is going to be recieved by the American press the same way the radical muslim community responded to the cartoon drawing's of Muhammed.



    Death threats?

    ART pog:

    Perhaps my statement was unfair to the American Press. I was speaking in generalities about the Muslim community writ large. Specifically, I was referring to the unhinged indignation with which the MSM seems to be reacting.

    No, no one in our society is demanding the death sentence for the artist. No cars are being overturned, buildings burned, or riots taking place. So in that respect, it's nothing like the reactions we saw from some segments of the Muslim community.

    But the calls for the identity of the artist do creep me out significantly.

  • Oh no here we go again||

    I like that poster, but these two newer Batman movies not so much. They just don't do it for me as a comic fan. I hope people are liking the new Dick Grayson and Damion duo.

    But anyways,


    John, shut the fuck up, you're embaressing yourself. DO your friends look uneasy when you start foaming at the mouth? I bet they hate being out in public with you. I know you're Reason's new target audience and all, but seriously say something new. I know you couldn't wait all of ten minutes before atributing the country's problems to OBama, why? Hmmmmmmmmmmm

  • ||

    So I guess this movie was racist. And so are these guys

  • Sean W. Malone||

    All I have to say about this shit anymore is just... This:

    Learn to use Google

  • ||

    "John, shut the fuck up, you're embaressing yourself. DO your friends look uneasy when you start foaming at the mouth? I bet they hate being out in public with you. I know you're Reason's new target audience and all, but seriously say something new. I know you couldn't wait all of ten minutes before atributing the country's problems to OBama, why? Hmmmmmmmmmmm"


    fuck off. You don't like it don't read it. I was talking to MNG not you. No one asked your dumb ass anything. Further, no one including me has attributed all of the country's problems to Obama. I am sorry you liked the taste of his cum so much but things aren't working out. Sometimes life is like that.

  • ||

    How is the poster being "smeared" by the "art community," whatever that is? The fact that it's a racist poster depicting a black man in whiteface seems to be a reasonable criticism, especially given the context and the author's anonymity.

    Libertarians should be more offended that the Joker is being tagged in a poster as a "socialist," since his character (at least in the Heath Ledger version) is someone after their own heart.


    Don't be an idiot....Obama in white face with the word socialism below is saying "regardless of his skin color Obama is the face of socialism" It is more anti-racist then anything.

  • ||

    Now you know how it feels! :::runs off crying

    Dry your eyes, little camper. There's mocking to be done.

  • MNG||

    John
    On the one hand people bitched the original bailout by Bush was too short, now the Obamacare is too long.

    Most major bills are really long. Politically what makes health care such hrd sell is 1. it effects so many people so profoundly and 2. there are crazy mad organized interests who are effected profoundly too. A prolonged debate on this would have just been even more rowdy and worse for Obama's hopes of having it pass...Ramming it through was his best bet.

    In the end it will fail for one reason: the Democratic party does not have, and has never really had, discipline and ideological unity. There are so many Democrats who are "Dems in name only" that any majority they seem to have at any time is bullshit.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    As far as art, I think the image works. The joker is a sociopath - because he tries to remake society in his image, regardless of the consequences. he is obsessed with his own image - he hides behind a facade.

    Best criticism of the work I've heard yet. And to the artist's credit, this work has provoked a lot of discussion.

    But on purely artistic merits, the golden lawn gnome giving the "heil Hitler" was better.

    There was a nihilist in the book Fathers and Sons by Turgenev(?).

    I love Russian novels (particularly of that era). I'll have to read that.

    Obama wants to pound his balls into white people's backs!

    I had no choice but to smile at that.

  • Johnny||

    "I fail to see how either side has a right to complain"

    You don't see how anybody (excuse me, "either side") has a RIGHT TO COMPLAIN? Jesus, that's frightening.

  • ||

    I posted the other day that it was a great image with a lousy caption.

    I would have gone with "better class of elected official" or something like that.



    I agree with your point...I was thinking of some play on "Why so serious?"

  • kinnath||

    I was thinking of some play on "Why so serious?"

    I was also thinking "do you know how I got these scars"

  • ||

    "You know how I got these scars? National health care turned down my request for plastic surgery."

  • ||

    FUCK SHIT DAMMIT, KINNATH!

  • ||

    "In the end it will fail for one reason: the Democratic party does not have, and has never really had, discipline and ideological unity. There are so many Democrats who are "Dems in name only" that any majority they seem to have at any time is bullshit."

    The problem is not either party. The problem, if it is a problem, is that the country doesn't have any ideological unity. To win control of Congress you have to win in places besides Berkley and Manhattan. To do that, you have to have an ideologically diverse group of candidates. When you are in the minority, it is easy to have discipline and unity because everyone represents districts that are strongly on your side. But when you take the majority, especially a big majority, you get people who represent districts that are in the middle or maybe a little bit on the other side. There are Dems who represent districts who voted for McCain. You can't expect those guys to go lock step with the hardcore liberals. Well, you can, but they won't be in office after the next election.

  • Steve Smith||

    ooh ooh oooh AAH AAH AAH AAH AAH ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh AAAH AAH AAH AAH AAH AAH

  • kinnath||

    "You know how I got these scars? National health care turned down my request for plastic surgery."

    now we're getting somewhere

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Although there is some merit to the philosophy of nihilism, I always figured anyone who'd call themselves a nihilist was probably either pretentious, or a jerk.

  • ||

    Warty and my first run-in with Steve Smith.

    Warty Issue #0

  • ||

    MNG,

    The Republicans have the same problem. Now that they are the minority and only have guys from really conservative states and districts, they can be all small government and pure. But put them back in the majority and they will have people from more liberal districts and states and they won't be nearly as small government.

  • ||

    Libertarians should be more offended that the Joker is being tagged in a poster as a "socialist," since his character (at least in the Heath Ledger version) is someone after their own heart.



    Maybe I'm giving Mr. Smith too much credit, but he may be referring to the Joker's hospital bed conversation with Dent where he explains that the "planners" of the world are the true enemy. I admit it made me think of Hayek and The Road To Serfdom momentarily.

  • ||

    "Although there is some merit to the philosophy of nihilism, I always figured anyone who'd call themselves a nihilist was probably either pretentious, or a jerk."

    I always respected them as athiests who were willing to look at the abyss.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I think the proposed captions in this thread are way better than the actual caption.

  • Ska||

    Art - not if they starred in Logjammin'. You get a free pass if you've done that.


    Brant can't watch though or he has to pay a hundred dollars.

  • ||

    I was also thinking "do you know how I got these scars"

    Given the GM takeover and Cash for Clunkers, it might be better to do "do you know how I got these cars?"

  • Chicken Bones of Justice||

    "If it is racist to depict BO in white face, is a black man being a clown racist?"

    If by clown, you mean waering saggy pants and brightly colored SpongeBob or Skittles jackets and funny caps, then I gotta go with no.

  • ||

    It's disturbing.
    It's compelling.
    I can't look away.
    I love it.

  • ||

    Rather than "socialism" why didn't the artist put "change"? That would have had more effect than "socialism". It would have been more ambiguous and let people read into it what they wanted. It seems to me that by putting socialism as the caption, the artist walked over his own joke.

  • kinnath||

    The real problem is that the population is a big bell curve with the vast majority of the population clearly in the center.

    They don't give a rat's ass for Republican or Democrat.

    They only want to know how their elected official is going to scrath whatever itch is bugging their genitalia at the moment.

  • Walter S.||

    Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

  • ||

    And if anyone is looking for a message they might look at the word printed along the bottom.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I always respected them as athiests who were willing to look at the abyss.

    I can see that, but there must be some principles that make life worth living, even if you're just talking about natural selection.

  • ||

    kinnath @1:58pm, well put. If I might add, that makes it easy for us to be led and easier for us to misled.

  • Warty||

    SugarFree, Cyborg Warty wouldn't take this kind of shit from Steve Smith. He would be using him as fuel by now. Stupid worthless regular Warty...

  • ||

    He's a joker, he's a smoker, he's a midnight toker.

  • ||

    As far as the pic goes, I see it as a convenient merger of the president and a popular cultural icon. I think the caption was an afterthought to give it a broader appeal.

  • Chicken Bones of Justice||

    "Ramming was the best thing politically, if what you want is for it to pass."

    But against her will is against the law.

    Dipshit.

  • ||

    Rather than "socialism" why didn't the artist put "change"? That would have had more effect than "socialism". It would have been more ambiguous and let people read into it what they wanted. It seems to me that by putting socialism as the caption, the artist walked over his own joke.



    Back during the campaign, there was an image of a partially decomposed Obama zombie with the words HOPE HOPE HOPE HOPE beneath, floating around on the net. I can't for the life of me find it now, though. I should have saved it, it was awesome.

  • Warty||

    He's a failure, sucks off sailors, is rude to his tailor.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Walt,

    did you even read the thread?

    Art - not if they starred in Logjammin'. You get a free pass if you've done that.

    Yeah, those guys were pretty cool, actually. That and their electronic music album. Of course, in The Big Lebowski, all the characters were cool, even the losers. Wait, I think they were all losers.

  • True, dat||

    I always respected them as athiests who were willing to look at the abyss.

    Humans are social creatures - a principled nihilist is an atheist who is a sociopath in the sense that he lacks the instinct to care about any of his fellow men. at best a cripple, at worst a subhuman who should be destroyed.

  • ||

    People had 8 years of Bush. Bush, love him or hate him, was an activist, divisive President. We had 8 years of wars, vicious partisanship, and really big, divisive stuff happening. So here comes BO. BO is cool and smooth. Seems detached. He his black. He says things like Hope and Change. People like that. I think a lot of people bought into BO on the thought that he would end the divisiveness of the last 8 years. That he would be acceptable President who wouldn't fuck much up and make the country get along. I think people suspected that he was an empty suit but didn't care. After 8 years of Bush a nice, cool, empty suit sounded good. Instead of that they are getting another Bush only from the left. A guy bent on reshaping the country and doing big, divisive things. And people don't like it.

  • ||

    I always figured anyone who'd call themselves a nihilist was probably either pretentious, or a jerk.

    It's just fundamentally untenable. Nihilism, or more properly, corrosive skepticism, is impossible to practice. You would have to doubt your own skepticism completely to the point you could assert no statements on anything, not even your own feelings or thoughts.

    Nihilism is an excuse to drink coffee,smoke clove cigarettes, dress in turtlenecks, ax murder old women, and moan about how everybody is stupid but you. It's a license to asshole.

  • Warty||

    Nihilism is an excuse to drink coffee,smoke clove cigarettes,

    Go back to your fairy tale Britney and Justin life, conformist.

  • ||

    When you just put the word "socialist" there, it just lies there.

    Then its a good thing that's not what the artist did.

    What are you, blind?

  • ||

    "Nihilism is an excuse to drink coffee,smoke clove cigarettes, dress in turtlenecks, ax murder old women, and moan about how everybody is stupid but you. It's a license to asshole."

    Pretty much. Ultimately, nihilism is a stage. If there is no God or afterlife and this is it, it seems pretty meaningless. But, you will go insane if you actually think that. In the end, a person goes from Nihilism to Nietzsche. You pick your reason and your system for living and go by it as an assertion of your will. You still have rules, you just are the one who sets them.

  • ||

    Nihilist = honest atheist is self-serving construction.

    Not believing in God is not the same as believing in nothing.

  • Oh no not this again||

    Truth hurts don't it John.

    Has he started bitching about the librul media yet?

  • ||

    "Not believing in God is not the same as believing in nothing."


    Whatever gets you through the night Sugerfree.

  • ||

  • ||

    Tulpa,

    He has big white teeth in that picture. RACIST!!!

  • ||

    John,

    Do we really have to get into another "Who are the smug and arrogant ones?" debate? Because you have already lost.

  • Warty||

    Your weak god won't save you when Loki is raping you in Valhalla, John.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Yes, please don't turn this into a religion/metaphysics thread.

  • ||

    Not believing in God is not the same as believing in nothing.

    Only a believer in god could think this. No athiest, nihilist or otherwise, conflates the two. Only the clouded mind of a religious thinker could make this ridiculous error.

  • ||

    Actually, I vote we stop talking about religion. If I have to hear Mad Max's conversion story, I really will become a nihilist.

  • ||

    Your weak god won't save you when Loki is raping you in Valhalla, John.

    I thought there was no forceable rape in valhalla... Or does John actually like it?

  • Warty||

    Or, even worse, when Steve Smith is raping you in his cell in the Pentagon underground research lab.

    ME GET REWARD! *rape rape rape*

  • ||

    again, I left out again

  • ||

    tulpa, there's a bunch of em here

  • Warty||

    domo, if he's not getting raped in Valhalla, then he'll certainly be getting raped somewhere in Asgaard.

  • ||

    It's time for the art community to return to its historical role in political affairs, which means speaking to power, not on behalf of it.

    The "art community" is a random agglomeration of individuals, you dumbass. Some will (some won't) speak truth to power. Some will just try to separate the rubes from their hard-earned moolah by painting Michael Jackson's Ascent to Heaven on black velvet.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    again, I left out again

    Huh, I missed it. Oh well, I'd rather make fun of Steve Smith than see it anyway.

  • ||

    The John/rape fantasies are too elaborate for me to feel comfortable.

  • ||

    Not believing in God is not the same as believing in nothing.

    ...which is why atheists who assert their superior rationality need to come off it. Everybody needs their delusions to get them through life, the fact that atheist delusions don't involve an old bodybuilder with a white beard doesn't make them rationally superior.

  • ||

    "John,

    Do we really have to get into another "Who are the smug and arrogant ones?" debate? Because you have already lost."

    What is arrogant about saying, "believe whatever works for you"? I do not think you can have a meaningful ethical system without a higher power. That is not exactly a new idea. You don't agree.

  • ||

    "Everybody needs their delusions to get them through life, the fact that atheist delusions don't involve an old bodybuilder with a white beard doesn't make them rationally superior."


    Well said.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    P Brooks,

    Good point, hence painters' ambivalence towards someone like Thomas Kinkade. Many admire his ability to part the rubes from their cash while also deriding his work as maudlin tripe.

  • ||

    John,

    "Whatever gets you through the night," is often used as the sarcastic kiss off to religionists when making fun of the delusional "crutch" of their belief.

    If that's not what you meant, I apologize.

  • Warty||

    Huh, I missed it. Oh well, I'd rather make fun of Steve Smith than see it anyway.

    He's busy raping a colobus monkey at the moment. Our mockery is powerless to save the poor beast.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I do not think you can have a meaningful ethical system without a higher power.

    ???? Noooooooo....

  • ||

    "Good point, hence painters' ambivalence towards someone like Thomas Kinkade. Many admire his ability to part the rubes from their cash while also deriding his work as maudlin tripe."

    I agree that Kinkade is tripe. And the fact that he is popular doesn't mean he is any good. But, isn't there a yin to the Kinkade's yang? Shouldn't artists who do totally unapproachable art that appeals to no one outside of a small community of critics and completely fail to connect with a wider audience be considered just as contemptable as Kinkaide?

  • ||

    That depends on your definition of "meaningful", John. If you require the ethical system to have meaning in the context of nature or pure reason, I doubt there is any meaningful ethical system derivable from those sources.

  • ||

    I do not think you can have a meaningful ethical system without a higher power

    I don't think you can have a meaningful ethical system based on a fantasy.

  • ||

    Don't apologize Sugar free. I knew exactly what I was saying. And I was saying it to express my disagreement with the idea that scientific atheists have anymore access to ultimate truth than the rest of us do.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Shouldn't artists who do totally unapproachable art that appeals to no one outside of a small community of critics and completely fail to connect with a wider audience be considered just as contemptable as Kinkaide?

    Ouch, John, getting a little personal, aren't we ;)

  • ||

    "That depends on your definition of "meaningful", John. If you require the ethical system to have meaning in the context of nature or pure reason, I doubt there is any meaningful ethical system derivable from those sources."


    Meaningful was a poor choice of words on my part. Anything can be meaningful. Meaningful is a subjective term. I guess the better term might be "ultimate" or "definitive". Without a higher power to appeal to, one system is just as good as another.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I think it's perfectly possible to have a workable ethical system with or without a belief in a higher power. I'd say solipsism and nihilism are just a few of the philosophies that would seem to run counter to most ethical systems. Atheism definitely does not have the same problems.

  • ||

    "Ouch, John, getting a little personal, aren't we ;)"

    There was a fire a few years ago at one of the warehouses owned by the Tate Modern. One of the "master pieces" destroyed was a pup tent with embroidered with the names of every man the artists had ever slept with. WFT? And these people make fun of Kindaide?

  • ||

    He's busy raping a colobus monkey at the moment.

    Can this be reproduced on black velvet? With a flock of doves and a weeping Statue of Liberty?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Gotta run, though, been real!

  • ||

    Art,

    Yes, you can have a workable system. In fact, you can have lots of workable systems. The problem arises when you consider what makes one "workable" and others not and what makes one workable system better than the others.

  • ||

    Shouldn't artists who do totally unapproachable art that appeals to no one outside of a small community of critics and completely fail to connect with a wider audience be considered just as contemptable as Kinkaide?

    No. But they shouldn't consider themselves relevant to the non-art community, either.

    High art is a true circle jerk. Art is made for other artists and the critics of high art. When the public interacts with high art and is wowed, the positive comments get funneled into the high art community; when they are not wowed, it is ignored as irrelevant.

    It's no different than the idea of writer's writers or musician's musicians, it's just more noticeable in art because outrage and outlandishness became a medium to work in during the modernist movement.

  • ||

    Without a higher power to appeal to, one system is just as good as another.

    not really. or at least not since the enlightenment.

  • Michael||

    Everybody is assigning way too much meaning to this poster and hence bestowing upon its creator a disproportionate amount of credit. There's nothing to get. It does nothing more than play on the public's recent memory. Villain from recent popular film + heavily misused accusation of socialism = plenty of unwarranted chin stroking. Maybe that's why the individual(s) responsible chose anonymity. Once someone comes up with a sufficiently convoluted and overreaching meaning to it, they can jump out and say,"Yeah, that's exactly what I intended!"

  • Warty||

    You can construct a perfectly valid ethics system from nothing but the Golden Rule, John. You know, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, unless the other is Steve Smith, in which case burn him with white phosphorous.

  • ||

    Without a higher power to appeal to, one system is just as good as another.

    Patently incorrect, any system which doesn't depend on fabrications is bound to be superior to one which does.

    What god says may or may not be right, but a religionist has ceded the tools to discern between them.

  • ||

    The problem arises when you consider what makes one "workable" and others not and what makes one workable system better than the others.

    It's only a problem because you assume your conclusion: that there is a single best and correct moral framework. (and that it's christianity)

  • Chicken Bones of Justice||

    Funny how a thread about Obama turns into a thread about God.

  • Some Guy||

    The guy who made this is an absolute genius. When combing the joker (an anarchist) with the word "socialism," and adding in blindly partisan politics, you get people making insane statements for/against it and/or just scratching their heads at how it is supposed to make sense. Brilliant!

  • ||

    Funny how a thread about Obama turns into a thread about God.

    Intellectual consistency is the linchpin of libertarianism.

  • ||

    It's not racist, it's stupid. Anyone calling Obama a Socialist is either intentionally lying or just dumb. I'll give those people the benefit of the doubt and go with ignorance.

  • ||

    Funny how a thread about Obama turns into a thread about God.

    I'm just sad we might lose our reputation of always sticking to the topic of the thread.

  • Warty||

    OK, akaDad. Run along now.

  • Warty||

    SugarFree, as long as we maintain our reputation for having impeccable manners and civilized discussion, It's OK.

  • ||

    True.

  • Xeones||

    No, AkaDad has a point. With all the corporate welfare and whatnot flying around, it's probably more accurate to call Obama a fascist.

  • alan||

    To all tomorrow's Warties...

    Mad props to the UnSugarMan.

    ::sigh:: How strange is it that I miss a woman who died before I was even born.

  • ||

    Anyone calling Obama a Socialist is either intentionally lying or just dumb.

    I agree. The corporatist klepto-plutocracy he is creating is better regarded as an updated fascism.

  • ||

    Damn you, Xeones! Damn you to hell!

  • alan||

    Oh, no! tag leakage !

  • Warty||

    Damn you, Xeones! Damn you to hell!

    Hell is other people. Especially when they're Steve Smith and they're raping you.

  • alan||

    Mad props? WTF? Don't even know how that came out of me, or where.

    Two hands smacking together for the UnSugarman.

  • WWJGD||

    Y'all are going to be so pissed when Cthulu consumes the Earth...

  • ||

    "High art is a true circle jerk. Art is made for other artists and the critics of high art. When the public interacts with high art and is wowed, the positive comments get funneled into the high art community; when they are not wowed, it is ignored as irrelevant."

    Good high art is not a circle jerk. Good high art goes to the well of popular art and raises it. Good high art is Bach taking an obscene German drinking song and turning it into the one of the Goldberg Variations. Bad high art is most of 20th Century classical music that is just the kind of circle jerk you are talking about.

  • Xeones||

    I shit on you, RC. I SHIT ON YOU

  • ||

    What I said applies to those who use the word Fascist as well.

  • chycky||

    You assume it was done by artist, and that it was intended to be art or artful political commentary....perhpas you know said "artist" or possibly, this was not meant to be an art product but politcal inflammation....does that change your admiration for artist/community?

  • Xeones||

    AkaDad, go do some research about what fascism is, then come back. I won't wait though.

  • Xeones||

    Does anybody have any idea what chycky just typed?

  • Warty||

    John, you reminded me of a Calvin and Hobbes strip.

    Calvin: A painting. Moving. Spiritually enriching. Sublime. "High" art!
    The comic strip. Vapid. Juvenile. Commercial hack work. "Low" art.
    A painting of a comic strip panel. Sophisticated irony. Philosophically challenging. "High" art.
    Hobbes: Suppose I draw a cartoon of a painting of a comic strip?
    Calvin: Sophomoric, intellectually sterile. "Low" art.

  • ||

    The poster is dumb. I obviously don't object to anyone making art about anything, but not all political art is good political art.

    And here is the problem. The only sane criticism of Obama is coming from his left. The right has just gone completely off the rails, and the reason could be that he's black, or it could just be that he's a democrat, but it's probably both. Almost nothing the right has to say about Obama is based in fact, and throwing around words like "socialist" is definitely not meant to engage in substantive criticism but just to scare people. "Socialism" doesn't really mean anything, and its use can only indicate an attempt to elicit an emotional reaction, not a thoughtful one.

  • ||

    What I said applies to those who use the word Fascist as well.

    Let's get it from the horses mouth:

    "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power" - Benito Mussolini

    What would you call it if not fascism?

  • ||

    "Funny how a thread about Obama turns into a thread about God."

    I thought they were one and the same.

  • ||

    our reputation for having impeccable manners and civilized discussion,

    Don't forget unstinting respect for womynkind.

  • ||

    politcal inflammation

    Do you have to have that treated by a Doctor of Political Science?

  • ||

    Patently incorrect, any system which doesn't depend on fabrications is bound to be superior to one which does.

    Every ethical system is based on fabrications. Atheists carefully avoid the G-word by referencing "self-evident truths" which are of course not self-evident (and indeed often quite counterintuitive).

    A purely rational being would do nothing but curl up in a corner and starve to death. Reason can't lead you to anything by itself, it needs some first principles to work with. And those are necessarily going to have non-rational origins.

  • ||

    "The right has just gone completely off the rails, and the reason could be that he's black"

    The right is opposed to him because he's a leftist, it's as simple as that. Criticism of Obama's policies doesn't make one a racist any more than criticism of Israeli policy makes one anti-Semitic.

  • ||

    Eye Witness to St. Louis Scuffle: 'SEIU Representative Punched Him In the Face.'
    Last night, as reports began to emerge of unrest at two big health care town halls in Tampa and St. Louis, a man on Twitter claiming to work with SEIU, claimed a handful of arrests in St. Louis had been Obamacare critics, and they'd be arrested for assaulting SEIU members. His report was dutifully repeated by liberals looking to paint the violence as caused by critics of the administration.

    When I went looking for corroboration of his story, I found something quite different in this report from the Post-Dispatch:


    Kenneth Gladney, 38, a conservative activist from St. Louis, said he was attacked by some of those arrested as he handed out yellow flags with "Don't tread on me" printed on them. He spoke to the Post-Dispatch from the emergency room at St. John's Mercy Medical Center, where he said he was awaiting treatment for injuries to his knee, back, elbow, shoulder and face. Gladney, who is black, said one of his attackers, also a black man, used a racial slur against him before the attack.

    "It just seems there's no freedom of speech without being attacked," he said.


    Six people were arrested: "Two of the people were arrested on suspicion of assault, one of resisting arrest and three on suspicion of committing peace disturbances, police say."

    Today, video emerged, which looked like it might have captured the alleged assault on Kenneth Gladney

  • Pope Heston||

    Faith doesn't kill. People do.

  • ||

    The right has just gone completely off the rails, and the reason could be that he's black,

    Oh how novel? You've figured out that any critique of Obama may be answered with claims of RAAACCIIISM!.

    You should immediately go tell thinkprogress, huffpo, and kos they may not have heard of this profound strategy.

    or it could just be that he's a democrat, but it's probably both. Almost nothing the right has to say about Obama is based in fact, and throwing around words like "socialist"

    Yeah cuz you know how libertarians just love collectivism so well so any criticism on collectivist grounds MUST be feigned

    And don't forget libs are all racists.
    And homophobes.. libertarians are famous homophobes.

  • ||

    "What would you call it if not fascism?"

    You honestly believe that loaning corporations money is a merger of corporate power and the State?

    Wow, I...just wow.

  • Warty||

    You honestly believe that loaning corporations money is a merger of corporate power and the State?

    Of course it is, dumbass. You're not Steve Smith by any chance, are you?

  • Michael||

    The only sane criticism of Obama is coming from his left.

    I presume you're talking about lefties such as yourself that feel he isn't gosh darned lefty enough and what anyone outside of your narrow little spectrum is just spewing crazy talk and are always wrong no matter what. Am I correct?

  • ||

    Every ethical system is based on fabrications.

    Really? Can you tell me what fabrications mine is based on?

    Atheists carefully avoid the G-word by referencing "self-evident truths" which are of course not self-evident (and indeed often quite counterintuitive).

    Self evident truths sound religiousy to me. I have no truck with self evident truths. I'm down with demonstrable truths. Not the same thing.

    A purely rational being would do nothing but curl up in a corner and starve to death.

    Asserted. Now back that up.

    Reason can't lead you to anything by itself, it needs some first principles to work with.

    Lots of unfounded assertions. Why would you even think that?

    And those are necessarily going to have non-rational origins.

    Don't need to say anything about this other than to note the predicate is unfounded thus is the conclusion.

  • Y-Ton||

    The poster is smart. I obviously don't object to some one making art about anything, but not all political art is bad political art.

    And here is the solution. The only valid criticism of Obama is coming from the right. The left has just gone completely bat shit crazy back when they made Pelosi the Speaker (sheesh), and the reason could be that she is a she sort of, or it could just be that she had shit on all of them, but it's probably both. Almost nothing the left has to say about anything is based in fact, and throwing around words like "mononucleosis" is definitely not meant to engage in substantive criticism but just to confuse people. "Mononucleosis" means n acute disease characterized by fever and swollen lymph nodes and an abnormal increase of mononuclear leucocytes, and its use can only indicate an attempt to elicit an monetary reduceful reaction, and a One worshipful one.

  • ||

    Why you folks treat Tony with greater respect than you do for the LoneWacko baffles me.

    Shut the fuck up, Tony. You're killing the world with your CO2.

  • ||

    "You honestly believe that loaning corporations money is a merger of corporate power and the State?"

    You honestly believe that's what has happened?

    Please provide us with a complete audit of TARP

    And please don't have children.

  • ||

    Notice Tony doesn't give any defense of Obama. He only attacks Obama's critics. This is what passes for argument among liberals. And it is why they are so shocked that the country is not falling in with them. They honestly think "Republicans are against it" is all that is necessary to persuade someone.

  • ||

    Oh, no! tag leakage !

    I'm not writing that story... don't even ask.

  • ||

    You honestly believe that loaning corporations money is a merger of corporate power and the State?

    It was your money, taken from you whether you wanted to give it or not. Did you want it lent? Do you think it will likely be paid back? If it is, do you think it will be repaid to you or in any way benefit you?

    And that's all you notice happening, hmm? A few loans?

  • ||

    @ faithkills

    Read Michael Polyani's Personal Knowledge: towards a post-critical philosophy and then get back to us.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0226672883/reasonmagazineA/

    Review:

    In this work the distinguished physical chemist and philosopher, Michael Polanyi, demonstrates that the scientist's personal participation in his knowledge, in both its discovery and its validation, is an indispensable part of science itself. Even in the exact sciences, "knowing" is an art, of which the skill of the knower, guided by his personal commitment and his passionate sense of increasing contact with reality, is a logically necessary part. In the biological and social sciences this becomes even more evident.

    The tendency to make knowledge impersonal in our culture has split fact from value, science from humanity. Polanyi wishes to substitute for the objective, impersonal ideal of scientific detachment an alternative ideal which gives attention to the personal involvement of the knower in all acts of understanding. His book should help to restore science to its rightful place in an integrated culture, as part of the whole person's continuing endeavor to make sense of the totality of his experience. In honor of this work and his The Study of Man Polanyi was presented with the Lecomte de Noüy Award for 1959.

  • ||

    Rational is a continuum. To assert that you are "more rational" is not to say that you are claiming to be purely rational and to say someone is irrational is not to say they are wholly irrational.

  • ||

    They honestly think "Republicans are against it" is all that is necessary to persuade someone.

    Actually 'Republican' is becoming decidedly to connote 'the much lesser of two evils.' Now that they are out of power of course.

    Not that I relish them getting power in 2010.

  • ||

    Read Michael Polyani's Personal Knowledge: towards a post-critical philosophy and then get back to us.

    No need. If you can't carry your own water I won't carry it for you. If you can answer the questions I asked then we can have a discussion.

    There is no need to assume 'self evident truths' whatsoever.

    Deeming the unknown to be known doesn't make it so, and doesn't help you in knowing.

  • Tomcat1066||

    "You honestly believe that loaning corporations money is a merger of corporate power and the State?"

    Since that "loan" gives the State control over decisions of that business? Yes, it is.

  • ||

    Libertarians are nihilistic, murderous psychopaths?

    You know what? The stupid Republicans can take criticism. The stupid Democrats apparently can't.

  • ||

    "Actually 'Republican' is becoming decidedly to connote 'the much lesser of two evils.' Now that they are out of power of course.

    Not that I relish them getting power in 2010."

    You don't have to be a Republican to understand that just because they are against something, even if it is for the most base reasons, doesn't mean that it is a good idea. One thing has nothing to do with the other. I don't think most people in the country care what the party out of power thinks. But they do care about what this monstrosity of a bill says. And screaming about how Republicans hate it doesn't go very far to answering their concerns.

  • Jonathan Jerald||

    Thanks for noting we first reported on the appearance of the Joker Obama posters back in April on our site, bedlammagazine.com. When a conservative talk-show host commented on them last weekend, we found ourselves in the middle of an internet firestorm of interest. Most intriguing to us is the virulent reaction from the right denying there is anything racist about the image. Even those who agree with the critical sentiment of the poster (the legend "socialist" appears beneath the image) should have the good sense to know that others are bound to perceive the image of white make-up on a Black man might be perceived as racist. The person who created the original image, a Chicago student playing around on Photoshop with an old Time Magazine cover (it's Time's URL in the upper right-hand corner), admitted he had no political axe to grind when he posted the image on his Flickr site back in January. The identity of whoever lifted it from there and adapted it as a poster is still a mystery, at least to us. For more details, see our updated story at bedlammagazine.com

  • JB||

    It's pretty much insane to claim the Joker thing is racist. He's made to look like the Joker because the Joker is a bad destructive guy, and the maker of the poster thinks Obama and the socialism he supposedly brings is a bad, destructive thing for the nation. Jesus Christ!

    wow, even MNG gets this exactly! Amazing that so many others (including people here) don't get that.

    Look at this chart:
    http://blog.heritage.org/2009/03/24/bush-deficit-vs-obama-deficit-in-pictures/

    If that isn't destructive, I don't know what is.

  • ||

    "Since that "loan" gives the State control over decisions of that business? Yes, it is."

    [citation needed]

    I must have missed that part where the State is now the CEO of these companies, making all of the decisions.

  • tassawwuf||

    I object because the caption is so lame. If the caption were "Why so socialist?" it would make sense

    i agree w/ this remark from way up-thread...that would have actually been funny, as it is i just find the ObamaJoker pic pretty stupid...almost as stupid as calling it "racist"...

    about Fathers and Sons, didn't Turgenev actually coin the word 'nihilist'? i guess that's something, but i didn't really care for the book- Bazarov the nihilist character just reminded me of some smarty-pants emo kid who probabley needed to have his mind blown & possiblely ass kicked by Dostoevskys Underground Man...& Art P.O.G, if you ain't read it already & dig some good Ruski novelizin', check out The Master & Margarita by Bulgakov, it's a pants-pisser, actually makes you think too...

    as far as essays on nihilism go, i always thought this here was pretty fair...

  • Warty||

    I must have missed that part where the State is now the CEO of these companies, making all of the decisions.

    Ah, I see now. Pretty good troll, dude.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    I'm so so sad I've missed all the Big Lebowski stuff on this thread today (been working "hard")... In other news, my copy of that movie disappeared in my last move :(

  • Chicken Bones of Justice ||

    "I must have missed that part where the State is now the CEO of these companies, making all of the decisions."

    Guess you missed the part where they threw out the Chairman of GM.

    Dipshit.

  • ||

    Sean W. Malone,

    On the daily "Obama as Joker" thread yesterday, someone put up a link to a site that will make any picture into the infamous Obama "hope" poster with any caption you want. They have a whole gallery of ones people have made. There is one with a picture of John Goodman from Lebowski holding a .45 with the caption "mark it a zero". I ordered the coffee mug immediately upon seeing it.

  • ||

    Sorry, but the racism tag is totally bogus. Vanity Fair did an even creepier one of Bush. It's clown makeup, not blackface. The Joker image is a pop culture icon for the moment, found all over the Internet.

    It is absolutely mindboggling that people see race in this. If we're going to treat the president of the United States with kid gloves, we might as well shut down any criticism of government.

    I don't particularly like the image, because I thought it was a little off target, but it does have a bit of an iconic feel, which--I believe--is the real reason for the hue and cry. Obama's popularity is finally taking the Nestea® plunge, and a creepy image associated with him at the same time is just unacceptable.

  • ||

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2009/08/rs-norml5.html

    Why no posts on this Obama poster? It is much better and subversive than the Joker one.

  • kinnath||

    Guess you missed the part where they threw out the Chairman of GM

    Don't forget squashing executive compensation (e.g., bonuses) when politically expedient.

  • alan||

    Oh, no! tag leakage !

    I'm not writing that story... don't even ask.


    In the second story apartment above the 'ton Hotel, J. C. was in a deep brooding funk as he stared at the computer screen. His brother's faint cries behind him, he thought, 'Paul is just getting worse, who can I get to help . . .'

    Paul cried out writhing on the faded chair he sat in, "J. C., I just crapped my pants."

    "One moment, Paul."

    The nanonite bomb in Paul's head was deteriorating at a rapid rate, and he was losing control of his biological functions.

    Paul let out a devastating, liquid sounding fart. JC recalled their idealic boyhood when they played in the tub, and watched their turds float in the water. Laughing as they splashed them around the water's edge like capsized boats.

    J. C. held a handkerchief to his nose, and pressed on. He needed to get the attention of Iculus, only an artificial intelligence would have the capability of saving his brother. However, he
    and Icculus had a falling out, 'stalking' issues. Wherever J.C. went, Icculus would reach him by phone, or PC, radio, television, or even teleprompter. J. C. finally told his AI lover they were done.

    However, J. C. knew Icculus better than anyone. He knew what the AI loved and hated. What would anger it, and what would send it to a state of bliss. Mostly, he knew what would turn it on. Icculus had a peculiar fetish, and a nasty one at that -- html tag leakage.

    J.C. typed and he hit send -- soon, Icculus would be his play toy, and he grinned as he felt the part of him he always hated
    come to the fore, his own lust for power.

  • ||

    This is a serious article? I thought it was The Onion?

  • MattXIV||

    AkaDad,

    In the case of GM, it pretty much is socialized now - the Treasury is a majority shareholder and corporations are ultimately ran by the majority vote of shareholders, not the CEO. Whether it takes an active or hands off approach towards the day to day running of the company doesn't matter - it's in charge now whether it wants to be or not because whichever way those shares vote is binding for the whole company. Reality has been doing a good job of catching up with the hyperbole.

  • MNG||

    Since someone brought up God on this Joker thread I can now point to Prince's Batman work where he fit Batman/Joker into his God/Devil themes he had been working on in previous albums...

  • JB||

    should have the good sense to know that others are bound to perceive the image of white make-up on a Black man might be perceived as racist

    Jonathan Jerald, you should have the good sense to know that I find you and your magazine to be racists. It isn't 'white make-up', it's the fucking Joker from Batman. You see the image and think 'black man, white make-up'. I see it as 'president, Joker make-up' which it obviously is.

    When watching Lord of the Rings, did you see Orcs and think 'black people', you racist?

  • ||

    "MNG | August 7, 2009, 1:43pm | #

    Art
    There was a nihilist in the book Fathers and Sons by Turgenev(?). Read it in college and thought it was good, not trying to sound all elitist ;). Anyway, the nihilist character was interesting, almost Randian in a way if tht makes sense..."

    Sorry, MNG, but faithkills says no book recommendations.

  • kinnath||

    The person who created the original image, a Chicago student playing around on Photoshop with an old Time Magazine cover (it's Time's URL in the upper right-hand corner), admitted he had no political axe to grind when he posted the image on his Flickr site back in January. The identity of whoever lifted it from there and adapted it as a poster is still a mystery, at least to us.

    That explains the cool photo but lame caption.

  • JB||

    Pretty much. Ultimately, nihilism is a stage. If there is no God or afterlife and this is it, it seems pretty meaningless. But, you will go insane if you actually think that. In the end, a person goes from Nihilism to Nietzsche. You pick your reason and your system for living and go by it as an assertion of your will. You still have rules, you just are the one who sets them.

    A lot of truth in there. One of the things that makes Nietzsche so interesting is that people really do set their own beliefs on all sorts of things (religion, god, politics, art, etc.), and he suggest being cognizant of that and using beliefs, stories, myths that work for you.

  • ||

    Exactly JB. I am not a Nietzschean because I beleive in God. But, I see Nietzche as the logical outcome if you don't believe in God.

  • Fluffy||

    You honestly believe that loaning corporations money is a merger of corporate power and the State?

    Since not all corporations are deemed worthy of receiving such loans, absolutely.

    Corporations are surviving or disappearing, and fortunes are being made or lost, based not on the outcome of competition but on the whim of the state.

    The state has intervened in the economy to make sure that the holders of certain classes of assets are not liquidated, while the holders of other assets are.

    When a state crawling with corporate lobbyists is determining that Chrysler's bondholders should be wiped out, but Citicorp's bondholders should be completely insulated from loss, and the issuers of credit default swaps in Lehman Brothers should lose their bet, but the buyers of credit default swaps from AIG should win theirs, we no longer have a free economy or a neutral and honest state. We have institutionalized looting, and whatever corporate "side" possesses the ear of the state at any particular moment can be said to be wielding a "merger of state and corporate power", yes.

  • JB||

    John, you can still be a Nietzchean if you believe in God. People make up stories and myths (especially about themselves) all the time that have nothing to do with religion. You practically have to to get by in the modern world.

    'I look good for my interview.' You might not look as good as you should, but telling yourself that won't help you with the interview.

  • ||

    I never thought of it that way JB.

  • ||

    Yes, so the word should've been "nihilist" or "nihilism" under Obama, not "socialism." That's the problem here.

  • Warty||

    No, it should have been "defenestrationism", just to be more of a mind-fuck.

  • ||

    Do you have a problem with artists' perceived silence on Obama? The make a fucking painting about Obama, asshole!

  • ||

    Where can I buy this poster?!

  • ||

    The whole pretense of this article is absurd. Artists' only responsibility is to be true to their personal vision. When they are stirred to question those in power they can do it. Nobody is telling them not to question Obama and nobody can make them question Obama. If you want to convince some artists that Obama's a worthy subject, have at it. But they sure as hell don't have a responsibility to do anything but ignore you if they don't agree.

    Anyway, that Joker poster is lame and does nothing new for the debate. What does Obama have in common with Ledger's Joker? I can't think of a thing. And what does the Joker have to do with Socialism anyway? Whoever made this poster is not much of an artist.

    Joker & Obama: Little or no relationship
    Joker & Socialism: Little or no relationship.
    Obama & Socialism: a thoroughly hackneyed and played out relationship dismissed with a moment of thoughtful investigation.

    I've got a lot of problems with Obama, but he's a lot more like to continue the soft corporatist 'I'd-like-to-make-change-but-they-won't-let-me' refrain of mainstream Dems, than do anything tangible towards anything resembling socialism.

    I don't personally care for Obama, but if you think there's not enough art that's critical of him, then create something yourself, don't complain to the artistic community.

  • ||

    "Ass clown" would've been a nice caption.

  • ||

    "Obama & Socialism: a thoroughly hackneyed and played out relationship dismissed with a moment of thoughtful investigation"

    Yeah. I mena it is not like he sponsored a govenrment take over of 2/3s of the auto industry, a large part of the banking industry and is trying to take over the the healthcare industry. Any thoughtful investigation couldn't see any socialism there.

  • ||

    "Ass clown" would've been a nice caption.


    Perfect.

  • ||

    Would it be racist to put Barack and Michelle in Grant Wood's American Gothic?

    If so, why?
    If not, why not?

  • ||

    Would it be racist to caricature Michelle Obama as Marie Antoinette?

  • OH no not this again||

    I am sorry you liked the taste of his cum so much but things aren't working out. Sometimes life is like that.

    Do you think it's real?

    What, that his name is JOhn or the things in his head?

    Thinks for a minute, "both."

    Well if he just asked nicely i could have told him it tastes like the hazelnut cream you find at gas stations, but soon they will all know what his cum tastes like.

    Will it be free?

    No silly, I'm a libertarian nothing should be given for free. They should be charged interest for the time it takes to swallow, and if they complain, we'll just have to take that risk and raise it again.

  • MattXIV||

    P Brooks,

    Why wouldn't you put him in American Gothic - he's American. Unless you don't think he is. In fact, it's racist to not have painted Obama in to American Gothic yet - so are you going to get your brushes out or are we going to have to assume you're a birther?

  • Oh no not this again||

    No need to look any farther people. We got our Union thug story out and circulating, nothing to see here. Everything is once again safe for the corporations

  • ||

    "If so, why?"

    The'd look as if the were working a plantation. ;-)

  • Some Guy||

    I'm totally gonna make posters of Sarah Palin made up to look like Poison Ivy, and make the caption "Environmentalist." I'll put them up all over town. It'll be awesome.

  • ||

    Read the Bedlam link again...

    The original Joker rendition was created by a student named Firas Khateeb. Someone ripped it off, removed the TIME magazine details and slapped the word Socialism on it. In other owrds, the Joker/Obama work was not originally intended to be the symbol for the birther/tea party/racist nutbags.

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    Firas Khateeb, eh?

    sounds muslim to me

  • SystemOFARoundingError||

    Once again some less than sophisticated rubes are confusing the rhetorical arts with the visual.


    Anyway, that Joker poster is lame and does nothing new for the debate. What does Obama have in common with Ledger's Joker? I can't think of a thing. And what does the Joker have to do with Socialism anyway? Whoever made this poster is not much of an artist.

    Joker & Obama: Little or no relationship
    Joker & Socialism: Little or no relationship.
    Obama & Socialism: a thoroughly hackneyed and played out relationship dismissed with a moment of thoughtful investigation.


    The logic, if you will is irrelevant to the impact, and that regard, which is definitely an aesthetic value, the poster is a very well done piece of art.

    Also, it is silly for you to think you can tell a Libertarian what is and is not socialism. That is like telling a Swiss confectionaire what is and is not chocolate.

  • ||

    I see Nietzche as the logical outcome if you don't believe in God.

    That's not logical in the least. If you behave towards others with nihilistic intent you will come across demonstrable, non subjective, reality that will explain that your 'logic' was flawed and needs improvement.

    At that point you can try to use your brain.. or capitulate to the things that seem inscrutable to you and then assert that they are inscrutable to everyone so you can feel better about that capitulation.

  • ||

    The aesthetic of the image is arguably decent; the addition of the word socialism renders it incomprehensible. It makes sense that it was someone else's photoshop work manipulated by a mouth breathing teabagger.

  • ||

    I'd like the artist to do the same thing for General Zod, then someone could add the word, "Kneel."

  • ||

    Very insightful article on an issue usually dominated by the left. The inability to deal with a dissenting opinion has the Democrat party cracking under the weight of a National Health Care proposal that the American people see for what it is: A trillion dollar headache!

  • kinnath||

    manipulated by a mouth breathing teabagger.

    Perhaps you should review the definition of "prejudice" Tony -- given that you have no evidence of any kind regarding who posted the captioned Obama/Joker photo in LA.

  • PR||

    Was Michael Jackson racist?

  • ||

    Nobody is telling them not to question Obama and nobody can make them question Obama.

    The hysterical reaction to this image from both the general media and from supposedly tolerant art critics serves to discourage artists from disrespecting Obama.

    If you had read the article, you would know this, as the author made this point therein.

  • ||

    The aesthetic of the image is arguably decent; the addition of the word socialism renders it incomprehensible. It makes sense that it was someone else's photoshop work manipulated by a mouth breathing teabagger.

    Don't you mean applehead teabagger? Or redneck teabagger? Or jewish teabagger?

    I mean really.. you know it's only ok to be a bigot to certain people.. and fat is not politically correct.. it's only ok to hate people for what they can't change, we're never allowed to despise people for what they can. I mean for real.. didn't you get the progressive memo?

    Regardless just because the teabagger can't discern between socialism and fascism doesn't mean the 'mouth breathing teabagger's little reptile brain isn't validly recognizing an existential threat.

    So Tony which are you? fascist, socialist, theocrat?

    What is the rationale that makes you feel it is ethical to steal and enslave others?

  • YouKnowYouKnowYouKnow||

    There is one thread of logic that you'll find in all of Tony's impressive postings here:

    'I don't like people, I despise people, and I want to help them (to other people's money).'

  • ||

    Really? Can you tell me what fabrications mine is based on?

    I would have to have a pretty good idea of your ethical system, and your arguments to justify it. If you were trying to convince me to accept your ethical system, what would be the first thing you'd say?

  • ||

    # faithkills | August 7, 2009, 3:13pm | #

    ## What I said applies to those who use
    ## the word Fascist as well.

    # Let's get it from the horses mouth:

    # "Fascism should more properly be called
    # corporatism because it is the merger of
    # state and corporate power" - Benito Mussolini

    # What would you call it if not fascism?

    "Mercantilism" comes to mind. I have always thought, however, that when Mercantilism is backed by aggressive military power, the combination is the very embodiment of fascism as I understand the word.

  • ||

    # PR | August 7, 2009, 6:36pm | #
    # Was Michael Jackson racist?

    OK, now you have me imagining a video of an animated, fedora-wearing, crotch-grabbing, single-gloved Obama-as-Joker, dancing down the street, singing "Black or White."

    Why would you want to DO this to me? How did I ever hurt YOU?

  • alan||

    If you were trying to convince me to accept your ethical system, what would be the first thing you'd say?

    Watch your back.

  • Matt Cornell||

    Seems to me the problem with the Obama Joker poster is not that it's racist or an act of dissent, but that it makes no flippin' sense. Obama ain't a socialist. And the Joker, if he can be said to have a political ideology, would likely be an anarchist. Anyways, I agree with the general sentiment of your column and would like to see more people on the left criticizing Obama. But then again, the "Hope" poster set the tone for the personality cult like aura that surrounds him. For what it's worth, I made a series of critical pieces aimed at both Obama and Fairey during the campaign.

    http://mattcornell.org/obey.php

  • Jokerman||

    nihilism - a revolutionary doctrine that advocates destruction of the social system for its own sake.

    How is that different from socialism in practice?

  • Jokerman||

    Or even in the underlying psychology of its advocates?

  • triangleman||

    Matt, around here you're either a libertarian or a socialist. So the poster makes perfect sense.

    In practice, Democrats fall into a number of categories, all socialist:
    A) Ownership of the means of production
    B) Control of the means of production
    C) Redistribution of wealth
    D) Influencing people's behavior
    E) Ponies jumping over rainbows, for everyone!
    F) Hatred of Republicans (this I can forgive)

  • ||

    I can see the reverse racism here -- white face as opposed to black face, black circled eyes as opposed to white circled eyes, big lips as opposed to thin lips. I can also see the freedom of expression involved. But let's face it folks, this poster sucks. It takes a cliche and makes it worse. The artist is an ass.

  • ||

    The art community has finally found their true brother in comrade Obama.

    The art community is the furtherest left of any group of people in America, even more so than actors, actresses and writers.

    I find nothing strange about their not criticizing Obama especially when all artistic criticsims of him are automaticaly labeled racist by the MSM and left blogger world.

  • ||

    Left and rights of passage, black and whites of youth.
    Who can face the knowledge that the truth is not the truth?
    Obsolete absolute.

    Anthrax Intimidation.
    JFK RFK MLK Malcolm.
    Israel-first dual-nationals.
    InfoWars on a PrisonPlanet?
    A very RawStory on PressTV.
    Whistle-Blower leaks multiply.
    Beware the divide and conquer.
    Both parties are corrupt to the core.
    Honesty compassion conscience guts.
    Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil?
    Elite Ruling Class Greed or "public servants"?
    Independents agree on more than we disagree.
    AIPAC 9/11 Bankers Extortion Blackmail Bribery.
    Wall Street Bailout Bill: Bush McCain Obama et al.
    Poodles, Puppets, Sham debates, & Scam elections.
    Has the Government & Propaganda Media lied to you?
    Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
    Chronic lying as career path, intellectual prostitution for paycheck.
    DNC & RNC have both sold out the country in order to enrich themselves.
    Future of a Nation that can not trust the Government & Propaganda Media?

    Realignment of American Politics:
    Anderson Baldwin Carter Choate Clemente Gonzalez Gravel Kaptur Kucinich McKinney Nader Paul Perot Sheehan Ventura

  • Dan Lacy owns this biatch.||

  • ||

    I did a boo-boo in my adult diaper and it kinda' looks like Obama if I hold it in a certain way. Does this make me a racist? If yes, is it because of my creation? or my interpretation of my creation?
    Please answer, I don't know what to do. Should I hang it on the wall in respect or bury in the back yard. I am so confused, I feel like a nazi.

    ps. I had prunes and chocolate bars for dinner.

  • ||

    FOS. don't worry you are not a racist. Only if you sprinkle white talcum powder on it would you be considered a racist. Hope this helps, that seems like a serious dilemma you have there.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    nader paul kucinich gravel | August 7, 2009, 11:15pm | #

    Timecube!


    Dan Lacy owns this biatch.

    I concede that the guy is awesome.

  • JB||

    Between "nader paul", FOS, and Art-P.O.G. introducing me to the Timecube, I like how this thread has ended. Very neat after watching Dark Crystal on the big screen.

  • ||

    When did photoshopping a magazine cover become "art" ???

    Dissent just for the sake of dissension is the act of a shallow poseur.

  • ||

    I believe criticism of the Joker poster is freedom of speech, but labeling the artist (also "freedom of speech," of course) only shows up the criticizer (a one-way media) as unable to disagree with the content of the artist's message, instead choosing name-calling. Their writing skills are nowhere near the communication skills of that artist!
    Perhaps we artists (I am an OLD printmaker) might want to jump into the fray. It's called COURAGE! Check out the bold art of ANTONIO FRASCONI. Get your brushes and pens out and go to work, whatever your view! That's my plan.
    I appreciate your article, Mr. Courrielche, and I agree that opinion art will serve us all well.

  • joeblo||

    The cultural elite which has always taken pride in "avante-gard" stance, should embrace this poster as disturbing subversion. They are up in arms because of their contradictory view of the role of art. They speak of art as though it registers some societal condition in the abstract, but in regards to the Bush "art" that the author points out, they embraced those images because they were illustrations of their ideology. There was no poetry or nuance to speak of. The OB image on the other hand is not cut and dry. It does not merely represent the intention of the artist (if it does so at all...), it represents (by virtue of the responses it illicits) among other things the emotional attachments of OB followers, cultural fears and guilt, and perhaps the crown achievment of the artist; expose the weakness of an image to convey any fixed meaning. This poster does nothing to "color" Obama. It merely stands in as a surrogate for all to seethe.

  • Dan McCall||

    As a working libertarian artist with a thriving business selling libertarian-minded goods with incorrigibly anti-establishment dissenting views, I couldn't agree more that artists must shrug off their anxieties about disapproval for taking on authority.

    I look at it this way, the more of us there are producing work that dissents against the statist mindset, the more self-assurance the whole libertarian community gets. Every time I produce a print, t-shirt, skateboard, or whatever, I don't think about what the "art community" will think. I don't care. They aren't my market.

    I think about that 17 year old that sits in a public school and listens to collectivist drivel 6 hours a day, but might read Reason magazine or shop at my site while wondering if he's the only one in his town that's a libertarian. Then that kid sees someone else wearing one of my shirts and realizes he's not alone.

    It might sound silly, but it's powerful.

    Dan McCall
    Libertymaniacs.com

  • ||

    The artist probably wanted to remain anonymous because of what happened to Theo Van Gogh when that artist voiced his dissent toward radical Islam. Can't blame him/her--the Left can't deal with opposition like adults.

  • Just a Voice (ann arbor)||

    the post reads (paraphrased) artist must question authority, but that is said with a tone of authority, so now we must question questioning authority.

  • ||

    I voted for McCain, but this article is just plain dumb. It calls for dissent solely for the sake of dissent. Aren't there plenty of dissenters speaking to power at town hall meetings? Surely at least a few have artistic skills. One of them at least produced the Joker poster.

  • ||

    The racial epithet that accompanies any criticism of Obama's left-leaning policies, seems a convenient excuse to avoid answering the questions that should be raised-"the Obama administrations contradictions, hypocrisies, and distortions...".

  • Neu Mejican||

    John | August 7, 2009, 3:29pm | #
    Notice Tony doesn't give any defense of Obama. He only attacks Obama's critics. This is what passes for argument among liberals. And it is why they are so shocked that the country is not falling in with them. They honestly think "Republicans are against it" is all that is necessary to persuade someone.


    I think John honestly doesn't see it when he does this.

    I am surprised people gave John a pass on this one.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Len Napoli | August 8, 2009, 11:08am | #

    tsk tsk, you can tell who didn't read the thread.

  • ||

    I am surprised people gave John a pass on this one.

    I am surprised anybody reads John's comments.

  • ||

    One has to laugh at this - eight years of the Left slamming conservatives, and anyone not following their warped sense of reality, wishing the vialist of things towards them. e.g. Comments from Liberally slanted message boards, the documentary featuring MTV employees during the 2004 MTV Rock the Vote.

    Yet anyone dare criticizes the biggest joke to ever hold the office the Presidency, and it quickly evolves into a, OMG! Teh racist!

    There is a reason the Liberal papers are failing - they're not worthy enough to line the bird cage or let alone to serve as toilet paper.

  • djmelfi||

    guess press didnt like the absense of HALO which has become mandatory when depicting Obama.

    After the FISHY doctrine, I guess anonimity may be a required ingrediant to all commentary.

    Even libs probably shouldn't sign anything because I'm sure someone is making a list as we speak, just in case Republicans ever have power again.

    We didnt use to do that but we dont have any ideas of our own so we need to copy the libs.

    Dont forget lib congress along with Google wnat to dilute ownership of ALL PUBLISHED media.

  • ||

    I keep looking at that picture, and it suddenly occurs to me- with a pointy hat, the President could get a job as a spokesman for Jack in the Box.

  • djmelfi||

    So I guess this is an orphaned piece so Google can sell it, RIGHT?

  • ||

    AMEN!!

  • ||

    Although I don't advocate disrespect towards elected officials as a honest form of dissent...
    I definitely see a difference between dissent towards a president who started a war based on highly questionable info (which is resulted in tens of thousands of un-needed deaths), and hurt our actual moral and legal standing in the world, by not safeguarding basic human rights we have long agreed to safeguard by law and treaty....and dissent towards a president who is trying to pass a healthcare bill, and keep the economy from self-distructing (notice no one was killed as the result of either of these actions).

    Not all art and/or dissent is equal. I think an artist needs to balance integrity and message.
    Just because something is clever, surprising, or shocking, doesn't make it particularly artful. I find the newest poster hateful, and not particularly useful in adding to the debate.

  • ||

    "...and dissent towards a president who is trying to pass a healthcare bill, and keep the economy from self-distructing (notice no one was killed as the result of either of these actions)."

    The President is attempting to pass a health care bill that increases federal government intervention. The mere act of passing health care bills isn't positive if the policy diminishes liberty.

    Likewise, Obama's bailout policies and monetary mischief through money-pumping are incompatible with a philosophy individual liberty. The notion that government policy can act as macroeconomic salvation is going to be a hard sell on the message board of a libertarian blog.

  • ||

    I applaud your attitude, but the sad fact of the matter is a vast majority of political art is childish drivel. Boring and obvious.

    The bulk of the art community is treating Obama exactly as I expected them to. And I expect them to continue so doing it.

  • davesnothere||

    The premise is vapid idiocy, and a cursory scan of the resulting comments shows that it serves only to give cover to the base, backward bs of a predictable legion of bozos. Try again.

  • ||

    "MNG: 'In the end it will fail for one reason: the Democratic party does not have, and has never really had, discipline and ideological unity. There are so many Democrats who are "Dems in name only" that any majority they seem to have at any time is bullshit.'

    John: 'The problem is not either party. The problem, if it is a problem, is that the country doesn't have any ideological unity.'
    "

    My question would be how does delivering a good or service require ideological unity? It's a ridiculous premise. Is there ideological unity on how to sell a car, or a fancy bicycle, or even a box of saltines? Is it even required? Of course not.

    This whole problem arises from trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Politicizing the delivery of goods and services is the problem, not the solution. We don't have a health care "system" (another faulty premise of this whole thing) and we shouldn't. We have many systems, based on many players and many needs in many combinations. None of them demand an ideological test. This sort of thing is not the proper role of government and the recent events only reinforce that notion.

  • Dan McCall||

    I agree with the posters that make the case that Obama and the Joker are dissimilar philosophically.

    He seems to be more the "schemer" that the Dark Knight Joker decried.

    Harvey Two-Face maybe? Naw. Who knows.

    BO is a statist, not a nihilist. I doubt the Joker would even advocate voting, let alone an active government of "schemers scheming."

    The one similarity I can see that Obama has with the Joker is that he's quite willing to burn mountains of money to make a point.

    As for dissent and art I have to admit that as a full-time "political artist" and part-time nonpolitical artist, the political satire pieces I do are of a much lower order than, say, a more thoughtful painting or sculpture I do speaking to greater truths.

    Just as we wouldn't place political cartoons on par with the Mona Lisa, I don't take pieces like "All Hail the Godking" even remotely approaching the category of high art. (It's more the artistic equivalent of a fart joke in a B-movie.)

    It's all meant to be outrageous and bring a bit of levity - and piss people with thin skins off. That is it's value... at least for my outrageous stuff.

  • ||

    The art community's historic [modern era] role has been to be attracted to political extremes... be it left or right... The race, class, gender narrative used to critique the poster is simply a manifestation of that…

  • ||

    With American Politicians taking a vacation, the news media in the USA is covering up the most illegal activities of an American President since Richard Nixon.

    President Obama and his administration through illegal acts of gathering and soliciting emails and conversations about information from one citizen about another American citizen has broken the law . Specifically the 1974 privacy act.

    As always the pro and biased USA main stream media is no where to be found these days when it comes to reporting facts or informing the public about Obama's illegal and unconstitutional acts.

    This current attempt for erosion of the peoples civil liberties, being orchestrated from the white house against the people of America has not been seen since the Nixon years.

    Any criticism about Obama and his policies are labelled as racist, yet the only racist remarks keep emanating directly from and within the white house.

    It is time for criminal charges to be laid in a court of law against Obama his administration and his unelected gang of czars for these unconstitutional acts against the American people.

    Time for Congress and the Senate to hold hearings on the possible impeachment of this President for such illegal activities sponsored and directed from the white house and for an independent prosecutor to be appointed.

  • ||

    Paul wrote: "I definitely see a difference between dissent towards a president who started a war... and dissent towards a president who is trying to pass a healthcare bill, and keep the economy from self-distructing (notice no one was killed as the result of either of these actions)."

    But, Paul, that's YOUR take on the matter.

    Another person might have the view that President Bush tried to free a country from a brutal dictator who murdered anyone who so much as looked at him the wrong way. While many lives were lost in the process, how many lives were saved by removing Saddam Hussein from power?

    Another person might hold the view that President Obama is trying to increase government control over the populace, stealing money from those who worked hard to earn it and giving it to those who did not.

    Paul, prove your view of the Bush/Obama scenario is correct and the one above is not. Go ahead, prove it. If you believe dissent is only okay when you personally agree with it, then you don't want freedom of speech... you want freedom of YOUR speech and no one else's.

  • Wontondon||

    I'm also an artist who uses conservative themes.
    I do sculptures such as Life in a Socialist Fish.

    Wontondon.com

  • ||

    What is it with all these claims that this or that community has a duty to speak truth to power? That's kind of subjective isn't it?

    All that anybody has a duty to do is tell the truth as he sees it. That might be on either side of the political divide. We have a duty as citizens to inform ourselves and to support and vote for those who we feel will represent us and serve the nation properly.

    The idea that "journalists," artists, actors, celebrities or whatever have some special role or ethical responsibility more important than the duties we all have as citizens.

    I don't dispute that artists and writers can have a disparate influence on politics, but all that says is that the rest of us need to apply critical thinking to the ads, pictures, cartoons and news reporting we encounter. And it's incumbent on us all to refuse to be intimidated from saying what we think.

    As for the Obama/Joker poster, it was as predictable as it is ludicrous that its spread is due to racism, as Patrick Courrielche so ably demonstrates.

  • Michael Redbourn||

    I worked for over thirty years with famous people in the film business.

    http://redbourn.notlong.com

    They were mostly well meaning and extreme left wing.

    The biggest problem with almost every one of them was that they didn't and don't look for reasons.

    They take a situation and say, "Israelis are killing Palestinians and it must be stopped: (for example), but they hardly ever investigate the reasons for a conflict.

    The second thing is, that it's like a club, and to say anything counter to what other members of the club are espousing would mean excommunication.

    Mike

  • ||

    Only a juvenile moron thinks that it's "always their duty" to dissent". You should dissent when you actually have something to dissent over.

    Now, the author of this pieces is obviously an idiot, so let me spell it out for him: when people mocked Bush, it was because he was killing thousands of people for absolutely no reason in a pointless war. Conversely, what exactly is the "Obama/Joker" poster trying to say? It's not good art, it's not good politics, and it doesn't have a coherent message.

    Imagine if the anti Bush artists had done posters of Bush dressed up as a pickle, with the word "toothbrush" printed below. We'd all wonder what the hell the artist was trying to say, right? It's the same thing with the Obama poster. What's the point behind putting Joker facepaint on him? And only a complete idiot would even remotely believe Obama is a "socialist". So basically, the poster in question exists ONLY because some dimwit couldn't be bothered to come up with a cohesive complaint, and so went with the cheapest pop culture/idiot talking-point combo he could think of.

  • Frances||

    I am a Libertarian Political Artist living outside Atlanta, Georgia.I started producing political art about six years ago. Because my work is in support of the Constitution, rule of law, and Limited Government, I have found it impossible to find a venue for my work. The art community is appalled by my philosophy and intelligence in equal measure. I have been told my work is amazing aesthetically, but they will not represent my point of view. To be fair, a gallery is a business and their space is valuable. If my work offends their patrons, they loose money showing it. I am a Capitalist and an Objectivist throughout. I understand the profit motive. The problem arises with the angry accusations of Fascism and Racism, although I often criticize Republicans as strongly as Liberals. Apparently, Liberty is an offensive concept.
    I am not to be disappointed, however. I will create a market for my art through hard work and perseverance. Unfortunately, this means less time painting and more time on the computer. I face two major problems from Conservatives. 1. Discomfort with edgy, political, or confrontational art. 2. Lack of patronage. While I understand it is my responsibility to make my own way, it is nearly impossible to do so in the arts. If Conservatives are going to complain about the lack of Conservative political art, they need to support those who make it. For this reason, I have started an art movement, written a manifesto and am searching high and low for fellow propagandists and patriotic artists. (I will attach my query letter below, with the details.)
    Thank you for your article. While many Conservatives have come out in support of this poster, few have praised it on it's merit. They have used it as an intro tool to criticize Liberal art. I am very proud of the person who created this work. It is good art. It has an emotional impact and speaks of cultural and political events that need to be addressed. I wish I lived in LA so I could get one for my studio.
    In closing, please look at my work and my art movement/project. I think our culture deserves more than one influence and artists deserve to have their voice. Censorship and race baiting help no one. Freedom applies to everyone, not just those in power.
    For those of you interested in my work, please visit www.machinepolitick.com I also have a blog accessible through the Liberatchik banner on my page, which is the home of my Conservative art movement. I am looking for more like-minded artists of all genres to join me in my efforts to spread the word for Liberty and limited government. Bring your talents and your passions and let's stand up to the Liberal bias in the art community.

  • ||

    The arts will always be, as a whole, left-leaning because conservative ideology stifles the key drives of artistic expression: New ideas, progressive concepts, exploration of personal and the other's perspective. These things are foreign to the central premises of the conservative platform, which by definition shrouds itself in the old, the tried, and the cultural establishment.

    Basically, as long as the conservatives keep going on and on about "taking our country back"(ie lets go back to the olden days), "Progressive ideas are socialist!" (ie change is evil and you should fear it!), and "she's a racist because she dared to talk about her cultural perspective" (ie how dare she apply her life's perspective to our traditional white society!) then the artistic community as a whole will identify with the other side, even if that other side are those in power.

  • Frances||

    Wow, Maven. You're angry as well as being guilty of several points in your own comment. I didn't notice anywhere in the article where someone was accused of stupidity or attacked on a personal level. In fact Mr. Courrielche complemented Mr. Shepard's work even though he disagrees with him.
    This is the problem with Liberals. You only want free speach when the subject is in your comfort zone. You only want artistic expression when it uplifts your idols and tears down your enemies. Your agenda is the be all and end all, all else is invalid.
    The joker poster is just as good as the Hope poster for many of the same reasons. It is iconographic, emotionally driven, and clearly states the artists feelings and philosophy. You can pretend all day that Obama is not a Socialist, but I have a firm understanding of the English language and historic examples that prove you wrong.
    As for the use of the Joker, I think it is brilliant, and therein lies your uncontrolled rage and incivility. The Joker was a thief, and a trouble maker concerned only with his own power and self-aggrandizement. He has often been portrayed behaving as a petulant child. When the President of the United States considers his agenda more important than the opinions of the American people and shows no respect for the Representatives of those people, he has become nothing better than a comic book villain. I can easily imagine him sticking out his lip and stomping his foot every time the words, "I won" come out of his mouth. How absurd.

  • ||

    The Left wants to expose the artist so they can make ad hominem attacks.

    They want nothing more than to smother debate, criticism, and opposition to Dear Leader's policies.

  • george schmidt||

    The NEA and its spawn nationwide the Arts Councils have destroyed a once proud and independent profession ,The truth is is that the arts are an ongoing endeavor of the human race ,not a group of self selected elites.

  • ||

    This current attempt for erosion of the peoples civil liberties, being orchestrated from the white house against the people of America has not been seen since the Nixon years.

    PeterClarke, the operative word here is "seen." He did promise a more transparent administration than what we've had.

  • Sean Bannion||

    And only a complete idiot would even remotely believe Obama is a "socialist".

    Because a President who nationalizes 2 major banks and an auto maker and acquires a majority stake in a third auto maker while pushing nationalization of the country's health care system could not possibly be described as a "socialist." Nope. Not at all.

    Nothing to see here, y'all move along now.

  • ||

    99.999999% of artists are Obama knob-polishers. I have yet to here of one singer or actor who doesn't worship the guy. I'm not talking about wash-ups like Nugent and James Woods. I'm talking in-their-prime types.

  • ||

    Don't you guys get it? It is not about the merits or message of the poster, its about the charaacter of the artist who DARED to create it. Your political "religion" does not matter a whit. It is all about those who have maintained their independence of thought and are not too intimidated to express it. We need more.

  • Jim Treacher||

    When I first saw the Obama Joker poster on my block in April I tried to read the website featured in the upper right-hand corner, but it was too pixilated to decipher.



    I think that's not a URL, but the date on the Time Magazine cover that was altered to create this:

    http://www.uml.edu/wuml/podcast/media/obama_time_cover_102306.jpg

  • Jim Treacher||

    Actually, looking at it more closely, in the upper-right corner it's www.time.com.

  • ||

    This is very important to get said, thank you for the post. The level of bubbly GroupThink in the creative community has been disturbing and unhealthy.

    This poster thrills me. It is a crisp tonic for the slavish fawning that has been going on all year.

    I don't care what word is under the image, it is the image that is astonishing and cuts to the essence of what the nation is seeing in Obama now: a hideous Bait-and-Switch in place of the Great Transcending Healer so many voted for.

    People can try to box this poster into some literal slot -- "how does Obama relate to the Heath Ledger character?" "Whiteface is a racial slur" -- so that they might contain its damage and demean it, but I don't think it will work. Like all true art, the image strikes "True" on a visceral level, short-circuiting the word-wired brain, and hits beyond any one interpretation while being immediately accurate on multiple levels...

    Go Art! Truth to Power!

  • ||

    This poster thrills me. It is a crisp tonic for the slavish fawning that has been going on all year.



    This poster is the Morton Downey Jr. of political art. It may be a refreshing change, I suppose, but a lot better could be done.

  • ||

    Candidus,
    No doubt about it! There's SO much to be done! Get to it!

  • ||

    Maven | August 8, 2009, 6:02pm | #

    "Only a juvenile moron thinks that it's "always their duty" to dissent". You should dissent when you actually have something to dissent over."

    Perhaps with an everyday person but certain art movements preach the importance or need to sit outside the mainstream and view it in new ways from the outside (while basically alienated from it). Often adversarial or critical ways. So, it does seem odd that they fall into lock step with each other (as in group), a party, or a candidate when there is ample folly to mock within them all. Then again, we've seen it all before with the debates about communism in the artistic community in Europe. Those that spoke out against the conformity and being used as a tool for a totalitarian ideology were punished and denounced… The person that made the poster is smart to be anon.

  • ||

    UnremarkableFiend | August 8, 2009, 6:13pm | #

    "The arts will always be, as a whole, left-leaning because conservative ideology stifles the key drives of artistic expression: New ideas, progressive concepts, exploration of personal and the other's perspective. These things are foreign to the central premises of the conservative platform, which by definition shrouds itself in the old, the tried, and the cultural establishment."

    Rubbish and a play on the word conservative... which by the way, "progressives" bestowed on their detractors. US 'conservatism' simply appricates the place and influence of culture (you can't simply make 'new man' by changing a few things). Other than that, it can be open to new things and ideas (as it is in the US). It's a strawman to claim 'conservatives' are not open to new things because they simply think your ideas are simplistic and will not work.

  • hmm||

    This was done with Bush and Hillary and Rove was made into Vader.

    Why the uproar now? If the uproar is based in race then the entire media needs to slit its collective throat.

  • Bosch Fawstin||

    Click my name to see dissent, and I'm not one who thinks that 'even Obama' should be getting it by artists, but most esPECially him.

  • SectionB||

    "While many Conservatives have come out in support of this poster, few have praised it on its merit." Exactly Frances. I think this image is stunningly potent visually as well as what it is representing in this time. That is anonymous adds to the inherent mystic, and frankly it is so unpopular to be critical of this administration, I'd be in the shadows on this one too.

  • jc||

    Maven,

    we do not who did the poster, let alone his politics and intentions. everything you just said is conjecture tinted by your worldview. for all you know the artist could be trying satirize attacks on obama.

    in other words, you are a moron who has no clue what he is talking about.

  • jc||

    "mouth breathing teabagger."

    tony, are you 12 or 13? you can't be a mouth breather and 'teabagger' at the same time. try kissing a girl, its kinda cool!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    try kissing a girl, its kinda cool!

    Tony's a grown man, but he don't swing that way. Unless you consider the Democratic Party a woman, then he'd have his tongue all down her throat. J/K, love you, Tony.

  • ||

    You are so correct. I'm an artist and find it appalling that my brothers and sisters in the creative communities have been silent. There is a feeling of repression that is settling down on this country. A real fear of communicating honestly.

    Much of this fear is being fuelled by irresponsible charges of racism and ridicule of our American neighbors. The Bush years were far from perfect, but what is happening right now in this country is tantamount to revolution--and not the good kind.

    I can't help but see--in my mind's eye--a great iron curtain waiting to be lowered. I felt this in Europe while I was living there. The iron curtain lowering, and I am starting to feel that here. But I do have hope that we are a strong people who will fight to keep our rights. I have hope.

    Thanks for this article. The artistic community has been on my mind, too.

  • Substance McGravitas||

    I dunno that I'd want someone stupid enough to tar Obama with the "socialism" label to be my model for dissent. Maybe the model for "faith" demands art by Jack Chick.

  • Gary Wolf||

    The creator of the Joker poster has hit upon a very raw nerve. The subservience of the artistic class (and broader "intelligentsia") to a socialistic agenda is one of the more vulgar curiosities of our time. Of course it is nothing new; it has been going on for decades. An interesting analysis of this phenomenon was provided by the French philosopher Julien Benda back in the 1920s. See especially his "Treason of the Intellectuals."

  • ||

    It's a strawman to claim 'conservatives' are not open to new things because they simply think your ideas are simplistic and will not work.



    I think conservatives are open to new ideas. Just not good ideas.

    If you didn't freak out at least as much over spending a trillion dollars on the elective war in Iraq then you have no business freaking out over a trillion dollars of domestic stimulus spending. If you think that Obama is a more radical redesigner of American society than Bush, than you're just a partisan hack.

  • triangleman||

    I don't think there will be anything more artistic and symbolic than the events of 9/11. Face the reality of Mr. Socialist-Lite President, initiating his socialist "No Child Left Behind" agenda, in a classroom in Sarasota, FL. Flanked by his Minister of Education and various Sycophants and Underlings, he proceeds to engage firsthand in the destruction wrought by his socialist policies, helping to crush the imaginations of a class of hopeful black schoolchildren. The teacher hits a pen on the desk repeatedly as she forces the children to move their lips in lockstep, expecting kids to delight in the roteness, the conformity of it all, the socialist pursuit of sapping the words of all meaning, so that later the words can mean what they choose for them to mean.

    Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, bursts in the room at around 9:08 AM, that beautiful, fateful morning, of clear blue skies, a Tuesday morning, the least of us hopefully beginning another day of work, while the elites come back from their Labor Week vacations. The Commander-in-Chief, having sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution, learns that America is under attack. His head spinning with pain pills and maybe cocaine, thinks nothing of acting out of duty to his country, but instead proceeds to entertain thoughts of power, and how can this attack help him politically. He picks up a book, satisfied with his response.

    Anyone else who loved freedom would be shaken out of his seat immediately, when faced with the reality that his socialist policies had led him down this road, that by focusing on turning kids into robots he was derelict in his duty to protect America. As another two planes barrel down on Washington, DC, as the barely open lines of communication between the FAA and NORAD fail to accomplish any defense at all, the President engages in the reenslaving and torture of these poor African American children for a full 7 minutes longer, makes it all the way through the photo-op, leaves the room, and gets to work on a speech.

    Later that night, Bush would take to the airwaves a second time, to begin beating the drums of war, using the emotions of the day to promote his neo-Marxist, imperialist cause of delivering democracy around the world at the point of a bayonet. The terrorists won that day, and thanks to the silence and confusion of the best of us, who lacked conviction, the ones with passionate intensity filled the void. We are still living in a post-9/11 world, with a post-9/11 socialist corporatist globalist "mentality". Where do I sign up for the pre-9/11 mentality? Where is the opt-out form? How many more lives, livelihoods, hopes, and dreams, must be expended on this neo-socialist march into the future?

  • ||

    The art community in America is populated almost exclusively by radical left wingers. There's nothing about for them to criticize about Obama. To them it would be like making making fun of 2+2=4.

  • ||

    The problem with much of the criticism of Obama stems from what I call ideological estoppel, something in which I'm a firm believer. When you complain that Obama is doing X but you sat by and happily allowed Bush to do the same exact thing for 8 years, you are thereby estopped from complaining about Obama's similar actions, no matter how legitimate the complaints may be. For example, if you didn't complain about Bush's huge federal spending increases (with tax CUTS to ensure they'd never be paid for, and absolutely no plan to pay for them), then you have no right to complain about Obama's spending (which he has questionable plans that may or may not pay for it all - probably not).

    At the end of the day, when you had no problem with the actions of a white president but yell, scream, whine, bitch, and threaten over the same actions when done by a black president, the only logical explanation is blatant racism.

    I don't agree with a lot of Obama's plans, but I also hated Bush and complained about him constantly for 8 long years, so I'm not estopped from complaining about Obama when he does similar things. However, a lot of people are estopped by their previous ideology, and thus they are de facto racists.

  • ransom147||

    BruceM:

    eStuffit

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    "The fact that it's a racist poster"

    Fact?

  • ||

    "I don't agree with a lot of Obama's plans, but I also hated Bush and complained about him constantly for 8 long years, so I'm not estopped from complaining about Obama when he does similar things. However, a lot of people are estopped by their previous ideology, and thus they are de facto racists."

    That's the lamest piece of reasoning on this whole thread.

    1) Your comparison of "similar" things is meaninglessly vague since you've left out any sort of numbers. And the numbers tell the tale. Are you really surprised that people are complaining more loudly about Obama running up a $1.2 trillion deficit than they were about Bush running up a $200 billion dollar deficit? By rights, they should be complaining 6 times louder. Just take a look at this graph to see that scale matters even when discussing "similar" things. Do you also not understand how people who previously considered themselves apolitical saw that chart and other information on recent events and decided to get involved? Are you claiming those people have no right to speak now because they're "estopped" by the fact they didn't complain in your pre-approved manner previously. And if you didn't hear anyone on the right complaining about the deficit or President Bush in that last eight years then you really weren't listening. Or you need to get out of your box more.
    2) "At the end of the day, when you had no problem with the actions of a whiteRepublican president but yell, scream, whine, bitch, and threaten over the same actions when done by a blackDemocratic president, the only logical explanation is blatant racismpolitics." I think my version is a much more "logical explanation" than your original version and is more consistent with the facts and with Occam's Razor. So even if you could prove the false premise that no one complaining now had any problems with the actions of President Bush, your conclusion of racism doesn't pass the smell test.

    "However, a lot of people are estopped by their previous ideology, and thus they are de facto racists."

    This is the single lamest thing you said. First it makes no sense, your "thus" not following in any sense from the first clause of your sentence. Not that the first clause bears any resemblance to reality. You might have a cute little estoppel theory but I'm not buying it and it has no force in the real world. People have free speech and can complain about whatever they want, whenever they want to. They are not beholden to your theory to gain permission to speak on a topic. If their point holds merit, it holds merit, independent of any previous situation. If you chose to ignore them, that's solely your prerogative. As to the second clause of your sentence, it's simply ridiculous. What you are saying is "You didn't complain about what I wanted you to complain about, in exactly the way I wanted you to complain about it, exactly when I wanted you to complain about it" and therefore.... See I can't even say it, because hit makes no sense. How you take the situation where people in one party complain louder about people in the opposing party than they do about people in their own party (notwithstanding the fact that there is objectively and measurably more to complain about) and leap to the conclusion, ipso facto, that it's racism is beyond comprehension. It's quite clear to me that any president trying to pull this crap would get the same reaction. You don't remember the crashing defeat suffered by HillaryCare in the 1990s? I know President Clinton was the first black president, but still.

  • ||

    "Artists have a duty to dissent ..."

    "... the art community is not meeting its duty of always questioning those in power"

    Really? This is written - where? This was constitutionally mandated by - whom? Is this "duty" legally binding? Is it part of the User Agreement? If an artist abjures this "duty" is he/she really an artist?

    Thanks for telling me what an artist "must" do. I thought artists did what they wanted to do, that they were expressing themselves. I didn't realize artists had to follow a Code of Honor which enforces "dissent." Sounds authoritarian to me.

  • ||

    And just in case you still don't understand the concept of scale, here's a little mental exercise.

    Imagine you're at friend's house sitting in the living room and having a nice conversation. Two of your friend's kids come running through and one hits you in the arm with a squirt from a squirt gun. You might not be happy about it and might say something. Now imagine that 10 minutes later the same two kids come running through and one tosses a cup of water at the other and that it missess and lands on your pants. You might complain a whole lot more at getting your pants soaked than you did when a squirt of water hit you in the arm. Especially when the kids refill the cup and are running around again.

    See, in both instances they hit you with some water, i.e. they did "similar things", but they are hardly identical situations. That's because the scale is different.

  • Typical Artist||

    The art community in America is populated almost exclusively by radical left wingers.

    Actually, it just seems that way because of all the drugs we take to cope with paranoid schizophrenia and syphilitic dementia.

    Myron, you gotta get out more.

  • ||

    Obama wants to kill old people. Logan's Run is alive and well at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

  • civil truth||

    Patrick, are you aware that back in July 2008, Vanity Fair published this cartoon of Prsident George Bush as the Joker to the great acclaim of the readers (as you can see in the comments).

    I don't recall any condemnation of this as racist. Thus the current manufactured outrage clearly is hypocritical and founded in partisan bias. So it's even worse that reluctance to criticize; it's taking sides - that is, art as propaganda.

  • ||

    The Stalinist Left will use any weapons available to destroy those who disagree with their agenda. The Death Camps are coming to Amerika to silence their opponents. Amerika is dead. Obama and the Left killed it.

  • ||

    I think what the artist's poster means..

    Obama played to middle america to be electable & to get elected..most of middle america is white, and they voted for him.
    Socialism/Communism is the worst system politicly there ever coud be.
    Obamas Auto takeover & bank bailouts , unemployment & snitch list's..plus other programs ,add absent border control & increasing multiculturalism..Well it all has the middle class angsting..
    It is white americas worst nightmare..
    A Negro nightmare of socialism & lies..
    the joker part adds to the discussion..when we finally realize we have been had,the whiteface joker black guy is a terrifying thought.
    I don't think the artist thought it was anti obama at all..
    It just turned out that way.
    I think the artist was trying highlight white americas provincial fears.
    does that make sense?

    I wish I could explain it better.

  • ||

    "After all, art should question those in power, not speak on their behalf."

    Sez who? Since when? And why?

    An artist can do whatever an artist wants with his or her art. If an artist chooses to turn pots that have no political message or paint icons of Jesus and Mary (or Obama) out of love rather than irony and cynicism, that's the artist's business.

    It's not the business of people like the author to tell them othewise.

  • ||

    The very nature of the article confuses propaganda for art. The Mona Lisa, years in the works, meant to display the beauty that is the female form and showcase the artist abilities and still not finished at the time of the artist death; art.
    A copyright violated image and 15 minutes in photoshop, meant to forward ones political view; propaganda.

    I also disagree with the article implying that artist need be dissenters, just for the sake of dissenting. Because you know, artist are that type, hang out in coffee houses dissenting against the "MAN" because that what artist do, man.

  • ||

    Basically valid point, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for a wave of anti-Obama art. I've been in and around the arts community for most of my life, and while people in the arts like to think of themselves as rebels and free spirits, politically they tend to be lockstep members of the Cult of the State, and in any political contest, will always support the bigger Staat-shtupper. I wouldn't be suprised if the arts community reacts to the Obama/Joker poster with a wave of art and agitprop trumpeting "Il Dufe" (The World's Greatest Community Organizer) as the savior of our country (who'll also make the trains run on time).

  • JB||

    dissent solely for the sake of dissent

    I see you Leftist fuckbags got your Astroturf talking points of the day.

    I spit on Leftists. Get the fuck out and move to one of your socialist paradises. You have plenty to choose from in the world. Seriously, get the fuck out.

  • ||

    I would have to have a pretty good idea of your ethical system, and your arguments to justify it. If you were trying to convince me to accept your ethical system, what would be the first thing you'd say?

    Stop doing things to people that they don't want done.

  • ||

    "Mercantilism" comes to mind. I have always thought, however, that when Mercantilism is backed by aggressive military power, the combination is the very embodiment of fascism as I understand the word.

    Valid. Mercantilism is more honest. The various collectivist philosophies are ultimately justifications for government power and all ultimately result in mercantalism/crony capitalism.

    This is inevitable.. governments cannot produce the wealth that politicians love so well. However even an inefficient government sponsored business can produce enough wealth for politicians. Not enough for the people of course.. but who cares about them?

  • ||

    If you didn't freak out at least as much over spending a trillion dollars on the elective war in Iraq then you have no business freaking out over a trillion dollars of domestic stimulus spending. If you think that Obama is a more radical redesigner of American society than Bush, than you're just a partisan hack.

    Lol pot kettle.

    Not even you can possibly be so stupid to believe that everyone who has a problem with Obama loved Bush.. especially on a libertarian website.

    Bush ran up $3T in 8 years. That was bad. And people did certainly complain. Obama is putting us at $20T in 8.. and he's just getting started.

    Hey statist tool.. I have news for you. The rich won't pay that bill. You will.

  • ||

    If you didn't freak out at least as much over spending a trillion dollars on the elective war in Iraq then you have no business freaking out over a trillion dollars of domestic stimulus spending.

    Hey, Tony: I did freak out over the elective war. You can STFU now.

  • Jon||

    Artists may possess added protection under the 1st Amendment and many may be intelligent and talented, but I don't listen to artists when it comes to politics any more than I listen to rock bands or actors for the same. Why? Maybe because one lay person's guess is as good as another's?

  • ||

    For the record: I've seen many comments, both on this thread and elsewhere, that seem to think that I am demanding all politically inclined artists to produce critical material of the current administration. Quite the contrary. It would be a far-fetched position to expect artists that support this administration's positions to produce critical material. The main points of the article are:
    1) to remind politically-inclined artists that do oppose this administration that it is their duty to speak out and not to fear criticism, either racially-charged or otherwise.
    2) to highlight the potential dangers associated with the art community being used as a tool of the state.

    Thank you for the lively debate and ancillary discussions.

    Patrick Courrielche

  • ||

    I suspect that the commentary being made by this artist is not as deep, historical or two-faced (we'll leave that for another poster) as people want it to be.

    We all saw the latest Batman, right? Much of Batman's struggle was to understand the Joker's motives, to comprehend what makes him tick. In the end Alfred accounts for the Joker's actions by saying, "Some men just want to see the world burn." Is that such an unfathomable political commentary on the Obama administration?

    Of course the piece is open to interpretation, and that's largely why it's so captivating, but the most powerful message this poster could deliver is communicated at face value.

  • Matilda Anderson||

    I couldn't agree less with this particular article. I really don't think it takes into consideration art history, art criticism,or the role of the artist in contemporary society. I actually went so far as to right a response to this piece on my own blog, matildaanderson.com

    It's a little disappointing to hear these type of remarks from an individual that is actually involved in the art community.

  • G.O.T.||

    As a particularly seditious graphic artist I have found this medium both popular and successful within the UK political blogging arena.

    I know its maybe a little passe but a picture really does paint a thousand words and more often than not will hit its target much harder and with a lot more venom.

    On the subject of the 'Joker' we also have a Gordon Brown version over here to go with the equally successful Obama original. Both of which can be seen in a video here ;-)

  • ABC||

    "Destruction and anarchy are not core principles of libertarian philosophy."

    Yes they are; destruction of the state, i.e. anarchy, is the ultimate goal of libertarianism. The only difference is that we'll try to bore people to death instead of throwing pipe bombs.

    This is either an excellent piece of criticism or a disturbing piece of ass-kissing

    [img]http://lh5.ggpht.com/_hmyp313fJY8/SZLpvncgRdI/AAAAAAAABfM/pedL_2lQ6Hk/s400/Saint_StalinColor.jpg[/img]

  • ABC||

    http://lh5.ggpht.com/_hmyp313fJY8/SZLpvncgRdI/AAAAAAAABfM/pedL_2lQ6Hk/s400/Saint_StalinColor.jpg

  • Gustavo Arellano||

    I'm surprised the author didn't mention a Los Angeles Times piece that basically called the Obama-Joker poster offensive and pointless. Whiny at its worst...

  • abercrombie milano||

    My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I'm sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won't get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books.

  • Stay in Lisbon||

    Many thanks for developing the effort to discuss this, I feel strongly about this and like studying a great deal more on this subject. If feasible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your web page having a great deal much more info? It is very beneficial for me.

  • nike shox||

    is good

  • scott||

    Just begun a campaign using my political art to expose and confront Obama's abuse of power and deception. Where power exist without accountability you will have some level of tyranny. Justice requires it.Would love your support and help, this can't be a one person undertaking. I just start the ice balls down the mountainside. You are the force of gravity. You can shape history. www.bush-it-usa.com Art is Power.

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