Lots of conservative blogs talking about this poster which has shown up in LA.
Jonah Goldberg at The Corner at National Review:
I think the image is striking, though not stomach turning. I posted it because, I really do think it has legs (I’ve received email about it from every ideological direction). I’m not sure I understand its intended meaning myself, but I think the “racist white-face” interpretation — which we’ll hear a lot of, I’m sure — isn’t all that persuasive. That seems more like an attempt to find a conventional interpretation of a very unconventional and confusing image. But maybe I’m wrong.
A new poster depicting President Obama as a version of Heath Ledger’s Joker character in The Dark Knight has appeared in Los Angeles, according to rightwing sources. Blog posters to such online sites as American Thinker and Tammy Bruce are predictably in the throes of political orgasm.
The poster, which bears a very superficial resemblance to Shepard Fairey’s famous Obama Hope illustration, has been pasted on freeway supports and other public surfaces. It has a bit of everything to appeal to the drunk tank of California conservatism: Obama is in white face, his mouth (like Ledger’s Joker’s) has been grotesquely slit wide open and the word “Socialism” appears below his face. The only thing missing is a noose.
The posters are so transparently and plainly evocative of the Joker that no reasonable person can deny it. But the LA Weekly can’t imagine it’s not some KKK-style stunt and that the appeal for conservatives must be racist. Whatever happened to transcending race in the Obama years?
What are the origins of the Obama-Joker-Socialism poster? Drudge links to a Newsbusters headline noting the posters have been “popping up in Los Angeles,” and Newsbusters in turn traces the image to an online article from April 25 of this year. A Google Image search reveals a very similar image dated January 18, 2009, from the Flickr photostream of “a 20 year old college student in Chicago studying engineering.” It’s the fourth image down at this link, accompanied by the caption: “Not necessary indicative of my political views. But I do think hes not all he said he is. You can already sense he’s backing off his claims of change.” The student’s image appears to be a photo-shopped parody of a Time cover. You can tell that the poster image linked to by Drudge and Newsbusters was adapted from the student’s image by the identical red border and the date at the top left.
Jonah Goldberg brings the art
There’s a case to be made that this kind of thing is kind of disrespectful to anyone in the Oval Office. But it is the very definition of free expression, and it rings more than a little hollow for a liberal such as Hutchinson to complain about this now.
And while we’re talking about double standards, I notice that L.A. Weekly blog which looked at the the Obama Joker poster and declared it so obviously racist that “the only thing missing is a noose” didn’t seem to have a problem with an actual, as opposeed to feverishly imagined, depiction of lynching Sarah Palin.
I think it’s stupid and was surprised to find that a bunch of other righties on Twitter agree. What’s the point, exactly? I didn’t see “Dark Knight;” was the Joker into socialism? Murder, mayhem, and deficit spending? Wasn’t his salient characteristic the fact that he was … a homicidal maniac? I realize we’re supposed to put nothing past The One but that seems a bridge too far. If people are hot for posters, why not just photoshop that “HOPE” image to make it say “BROKE”?
Caleb at Redstate with more art:
Erick Erickson at Redstate
It’s graphically striking, but politically obtuse. The Joker is a wild man; Obama is no-drama; the Joker is an anarchist; Obama is a community organizer. Obama’s careful politicking, his almost painful resistance to emotionalism, are worth lampooning, because they at least show an understanding of him, which is essential to successful mockery. But portraying him as an anarchist white terrorist recently made famous by Heath Ledger? To prove what exactly? Or is even asking for a reason at this point a silly thing to do?
Just as Bush managed to roll with the non-stop punches throughout his presidency, I think Obama is cool enough to roll with this little picture.
This Obama/Joker portrait is actually heartening to me. I may not have liked the press’ incessant attacks on Bush, and some of the uglier media put out about him, but I never found any of that as worrying as I have found the unquestioning incuriosity of the Obama-press, or the inclination by some to treat him as something more than a mortal politician voted into office by the people. The self-censoring we have seen in media has been sad and a little chilling. More chilling than any of the pics used here.
Besides, Obama has his face plastered all over America. One of the newsweeklies has had him on the cover 12 times in 12 months. One little poster shouldn’t get his supporters so hot and bothered. In the end, they might prefer it to this.
As Hillary Clinton famously yelled, “I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic, and we should stand up and say, ‘WE ARE AMERICANS AND WE HAVE A RIGHT TO DEBATE AND DISAGREE WITH ANY ADMINISTRATION!’”
Free speech. It might be the very best thing about America, even when it irks.
Nothing like a little mockery of the Kenyan born president to get a rise out of the troops. Oh field, stop it! What about when you people were making fun of George Bush day and night? What about the late night jokes and all the blogs devoted to ridiculing him? On this very blog you called him the frat boy. What about it field? Care to answer that one? Yes, that’s true. After Katrina, and after he led us into an illegal war, people got pretty upset at the frat boy. But I don’t remember 100 days into his presidency people plastering posters of him all over a major A-merry-can city and it becoming some kind of rallying point for democrats against him. No, in fact, if I recall correctly, the frat boy had a lot of good will right after 911 in this country. Obama inherited a depression like economy and gets no such good will from the wingnuts while he tries to work things out. It has been one loof (That’s a backwards fool for those of you who were wondering about my spelling.) after another from day one. The birthers; the tea party people; the deathers; the he is going to take our guns crowd; the he is a Socialist crowd (we could only wish); the he is a secret black Nationalist crowd. ….get the idea? With George it was ridicule, but it was just that: Ridiculing his incompetence and his policies. Not drumming up silly conspiracies worthy of an Olivr Stone movie.
UPDATE: David Boaz at CAto
UPDATE #2: Pictor Publius at New Majority