Obama Joker artist revealed

Discussion in 'Politics' started by countezero, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Life, Death, and History

    That is a brilliant paragraph, Geoff, and I'm not being sarcastic.

    ... it is a Freudian theorem that each individual neurosis is not static but dynamic. It is a historical process with its own internal logic. Because of the basically unsatisfactory nature of the neurotic compromise, tension between the repressed and repressing factors persists and produces a constant series of new symptom-formations. And the series of symptom-formations is not a shapeless series of mere changes; it exhibits a regressive pattern, which Freud calls the slow return of the repressed, "It is a law of neurotic diseases that these obsessive acts serve the impulse more and more and come nearer and nearer the original and forbidden act." The doctrine of the universal neurosis of mankind, if we take it seriously, therefore compels us to entertain the hypothesis that the pattern of history exhibits a dialectic not hitherto recognized by historians, the dialectic of neurosis.

    (Brown, 11-12)

    You are correct that we cannot dismiss the inherent dangers of revolution. We must, indeed, recognize them for what we are.

    My father, then a Reagan Republican and staunch anti-communist who defined the Reds according to the Cuba episode and Kruschev's amazing speech, used to patiently reiterate two fundamental arguments about what is wrong with communism.

    Communism, he said, disincentivized labor because why would you do a better job than the worst worker on the line who is getting the same amount of money as you. Yet he believed in trickle-down. And his achilles heel on that was the very same fundamental mistake he accused communists of making. See, he couldn't look at them as people. They were communists. This took me years to figure out because my political and philosophical vocabularies weren't large enough to describe the problem. Just like the first incarnations of communism, my father overlooked the amorphous, omnipresent fact of human nature. It took his business partners rolling on him and forcing him out, and then the bloody accounting scandals on Wall Street that kicked off this century that the world wouldn't end if he admitted Marx was right about a couple things. And he didn't even frame the proposition that way. But until that final collapse of his capitalist faith, he really did believe that businessmen were of a particular, noble archetype. He didn't understand people's increasing disillusionment with growth.

    People are people. The inherent dangers of revolution apply to all revolutions. Ask Thomas Paine, who was betrayed by two revolutions he helped fuel, and whose cause he attempted to aid. Ask the Boomer capitalists who just watched their precious system go bust. And, yes, ask the communists whose foremost representatives are a repressive state-capitalist institution, a megalomaniac and a bunch of narco-guerillas in South America, and Cuba. How did it come to this?

    My father also saw a threat in communism because it tread into various parts of life that he found important. Education, health, retirement. He liked to use those examples because they involved money. And, well, money is the center of capitalism. He didn't want state influence on certain parts of his life. But capitalists have done the same thing. Employers contribute to health, education, and retirement, and according to their terms. So instead of the state influencing their decisions, it is concerns of profitability. Perhaps that's fine if my father's former belief in the earnest nobility of proper commerce was something more than a former belief in the earnest nobility of proper commerce. But that faith fell through for him.

    Human nature. So quick was he to see the inherent danger in what he loathed, he completely overlooked it in the things he sought to love.

    You're looking at the communist past and seeing it as the only possibility. Yet it is also part of human nature to learn. We don't know what the future of humanity holds. But we do see drift toward a more cohesive collective identity. On the left it's a reason to be cheerful, and we don't have many of those these days.

    I don't know how closely you pay attention to me in general, but you might in the past have come across other of my remarks about the state of communism. These include the notion that I would like to be the head of the Communist Party in the United States (CPUSA, at present, I believe), in order to dissolve it and open an American call for a new international. Or you might have encountered my suggestion that the revolution must necessarily be organic, and at one point I went so far as to say this would demand it be relatively bloodless. It can't be top-down; that's where Stalin failed and it is where Chavez will fail.

    People will adopt more communitarian models as the marketplace proscribes various alternatives. Capitalism ultimately runs for its own sake. At some point, "The Economy" becomes effectively more important than the people who comprise it. Exploitation is an inevitable effect of competition in a purely capitalist system. Minimum wage, standardized workday, employer-based health care, child labor laws; all these are responses, demanded by people who felt no other alternative, because the marketplace was driving them into ruin.

    It is easy, with communism, to demonize the notion of everybody having a place in society. Rhetorically, that kind of exposure might as well just have a sign on it that says, "Kick Me". But we avoid it in the more capitalistic systems because it is important to sell the Straussian myth; if you can frame abject wealth as a cosmic good, you can rule a people with it. The advancement of our current system depends in part on a fiscally-conservative segment of the working class, and it would break the system's political support if those people ever came to genuinely understand that their role in society—because everybody does have a place—is to be silage.

    Our way of doing things requires exploitation. It depends on an exploited poverty class around the world.

    That is how we maintain our luxury.


    As people decide to claim more and more of the world's benefits for their labor, they will have to figure out how to do that without wrecking the very system that allows those benefits.

    Communism is inevitable. The old revolutions are over. Even the ones that haven't figured it out yet.

    We're walking right into it. Marx and Freud, to say the least, are looking better and better as time goes by. Darwin himself is gaining new dimension as humanity progresses. Our living utility transcends our immediate luxury. We will make it somewhere ... someday. Or we won't.

    But right now the capitalist influence is walking straight toward a communal future. The old revolutions are over.

    It's not about blaming the right insofar as a right wing exists at all. But recognizing the inherent danger also means recognizing that a revolutionary dictatorial institution that follows a more traditional and conservative political consolidation is bound to encounter some serious problems. And, sure, the watchwords in that one are "dictatorial" and "consolidation", but when applied to a leftist uprising, that means the consolidation occurs to the political right of the revolution itself.

    Most conservatives would have you believe that liberals fail for reaching too far, for being too idealistic. But history shows, over and over, that the primary failure of liberalism is that it never pushes far enough. Wollstonecraft's argument about dolls is still carrying on today, for heaven's sake.

    Brown, Norman O. Life Against Death. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1959.
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  3. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    If it's just posturing, it would be sad in a different way.

    How about yourself?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Come on, ice: you are shocked. We're arguing very minor points here.

    Irrelevant? It isn't irrelevant. In the phrase "all the racist overtones of its image", you're assigning the image racist overtones inherently, and not as the process of our own interpretation: but there has to be our own interpretation here, or there'd be no argument. HasI] the image been tweaked? Or is this central to the program the artist downloaded? As for bedraggled: well, Obama usually appears natty, not bedraggled, and the image doesn't appear bedraggled either

    If they choose to call it that, then that's misunderstanding of the image in my opinion, although I actually have no idea what the underbelly is making of the image. I don't agree with the comment about race riots, though: if the original Joker had been black and used that makeup - which I think was based on a playing card rather than a minstrel, if that's what you're implying - then it would simply represent to a greater extent the "villany" of the original character and be a slur on Obama's character rather than his race.

    Excellent debate so far.
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  5. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Tiassa, you made some excellent points in the post above - and neither am I being sarcastic. I agree with everything you've said, including the fallacies of trickle-down (does water never pool anywhere?) and the economy becoming more important than the people that make it up. I'm merely leery about committing to the idea of revolution after the examples prior - have we come so much further as people so as to be ready for such an idea? 50% of the country doesn't even believe in evolution. People are no more ready for any kind of egalitarian society - as you allude - than they ever were. If perhaps the idea were subject to widespread acceptance, then certainly. But I could never morally countenance a revolution driven by reactionary elements of the left again. Its history within living memory is one of genocide.

    Then again, slow capitalist strangulation doesn't exactly fill me with joy either.
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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Dare to dream

    So am I and no we haven't.

    The thing is that "socialist" and "communist" are still nearly fighting words. They are certainly intended as such in the Obamanoiac chorus. What people are leary of is a distorted view of a failed system. American communists, even today, have yet to escape from the grotesqueries of the Cold War. Generational subsets are shocked to cynicism when they learn that the evils reserved for the mythical enemy are shared by the good. The left still answers to a false assertion of history. Ideological echoes travel slowly. Low frequency; unimaginable magnitude.

    We don't need to commit to the revolution. It will come about not as a full-blown political revolution, although there may well be attempts along the way. Rather, it will come about slowly, and in parts, in response to the increasing challenges of what we have long taken for granted in life. I live in western Washington. I find it ridiculous that we have such a water distribution problem as to occasionally—gasp!—cause lawn-watering restrictions. I'm surrounded by mountains, and fog, and water. The stuff falls out of the sky for four months a year. I have no idea whatsoever about what is going to happen with the world's water supply in the foreseeable future. The idea of such scarcity is completely foreign to me. How is water that difficult? There are times a'coming that I have no clue what to expect. The marketplace will respond to changing conditions, and when those conditions become untenable, the people will demand a solution. Piece by piece, as they find themselves cornered, the people will claim a new share in the benefits of civilization.

    And in that context, we might answer the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat by isolating it as phenomenal, or maybe even avoiding it altogether. Dare to dream.
  8. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Not even much of an attempt at persuasion, that.
    How would you come by the assertion that I am shocked by any of this, least of all somebody making a whiteface clown poster of Obama, and a bunch of people claiming its genesis and popularity has no racial ground? Isn't there supposed to be an element of surprise, the unusual, unexpected, different, out of the norm, maybe even a hint of betrayal of expectations, etc, about being shocked?

    And no, that's not a minor point - at least, not in this thread, where it is the major point.
  9. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Quite so. I remember my friends were most displeased by my choices when I was younger. "What about the gulag?" they would demand. "It's bad," I would respond. "Now how about societal inequality?" "For who? The lazy?" would be the response, and there it would stay. But a revolution as a slow process could be workable; it is the only way. I don't hold out hope for the recognition of the failure of capitalism by the (pardon) "proles"; they are too easily distracted. iPod, PS2, and Megan Wants a Millionaire - Ooh, But Not The Stabby-Stuff-Me-In-A-Suitcase Kind blasting over the airways. Even the wife - perennial neo-con - prefers this crap in unabashed enjoyment of the moral rot that would have had Marx shitting himself in moral terror. And it's the fault of the species, really: sugar and unlimited orgasms? Bring it on, cries the hypothalamus, and off we go down any road that won't let us worry about what comes next. I'd say we're 50-50 on Logan's Run vs Mad Max as an endtime scenario. Side order of 1984. But maybe, maybe.

    Benevolent dictatorship? I can't double down on hope, unfortunately. It isn't in me.

    Persuasion of what?

    Well, you're clearly upset about it, and it's clearly out of the norm. It's relatively unusual to find this criticism of Obama. I think it meets a lot of the expectations you lay out for "shock". And, if not you personally, certainly the media things it sufficiently shocking to enthrall the masses.

    Then again, someone did just find a sat image of "Nessie". But that would be really shocking.
  10. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    I am sorry to have misled you, but I am not upset at all, and it has been my contention throughout that this poster is not at all out of the norm - that is takes its place among dozens, hundreds, of similarly racist, bad faith, scurrilously familiar attacks on Obama, which in turn take their place among the fundamentally similar attacks on any pretenders to power among the enemies of Reagan's Heritage.
    ? Racially loaded pop culture references are rare, among the criticisms of Obama?

    The media supposedly found it shocking to discover that a lot of Palin's supporters were violent, ignorant, cautionary rednecks. The media found it shocking that Ted Haggard was gay. The media is very easily shocked, especially on slow news days.
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    The state of things, and things to come

    British commentator Mark Steel suggests Marx would be having a blast. Or, perhaps more accurately, there is nothing going on that would surprise him.

    Marx recognized some things that escaped even his vocabulary. In his more poetic moments—

    Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.


    —he is sharply perceptive of the human condition:

    The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.


    Among these is a current oft-perceived as sinister, expressed in later days by Freud and, believe it or not, Crowley:

    . . . . . . . . . .XVII.

    I am unworthy. In the House of Pain
    . . . . .There are ten thousand shrines. Each one enfolds
    . . . . .A lesser, inner, more divine, that holds
    A sin less palpable and less profane.
    . . . . .The inmost is the home of God. He moulds
    . . . . .. . . . .Infinity,
    The great within the small, one stainless unity!

    . . . . . . . . . .XVIII.

    I dare not to the greater sins aspire;
    . . . . .I might—so gross am I—take pleasure in
    . . . . .These filthy holocausts, that burn to sin
    A damned incense in the hellish fire
    . . . . .Of human lust—earth's joys no heaven may win,
    . . . . .. . . . .Pain holds the prize
    In blood-stained hands; Love laughs, with anguish in
    His eyes.

    . . . . . . . . . .XIX.

    These little common sins may lead my lust
    . . . . .To more deceitful vices, to the deeds
    . . . . .At whose sweet name the side of Jesus bleeds
    In sympathy new-nurtured by the trust
    . . . . .Of man's forgiveness that his passion breeds—
    . . . . .. . . . .These petty crimes!
    God grant they grow intense in newer, worthier times!


    We're going to put ourselves through the wringer over and over again. It's what humans do. Toward the end of his life, Marx actually said he wasn't a communist. I think any number of things contributed to this, from the heartbreak of 1848 to an awareness of his own dysfunction. But he had to be aware, at some point along the way, that it wasn't just capitalism that guaranteed corruption and exploitation.

    Capitalism is just a form. It is nature tweaked to fit a theory. Underlying the greed of capitalism that leads to corruption and exploitation is simple greed. All these years later it turns out that the problem is that the Manifesto cannot be won at the rifle's point or even at the ballot box. Rather, it will be fulfilled according to the necessities defined by the people. He had to know this, because what would have horrified him was the range of regimes established in his name, including some so desperate to establish their legitimacy that they would publish howling mad papers explaining how Beethoven's compositions conformed with the Eleventh Feuerbach Thesis of Marx. (And, actually, yes, it's true, but that's beside the point; when you get around to actually publishing it as part of your regime's propaganda, you've lost it.)

    Marx may have been a classic clusterdiddle, but he had his genuinely sharp moments. I don't think the capitalist institution would shock him as much as the dying breed of communism that rose with the Soviet catastrophe. By the time we get to post-Communist North Korea and the Maoist insurgents in Nepal, he'd be well into drink.

    Aside from being an unemployed bum who couldn't fill out a legible job application and never paid you back the money you lent—well, that and the boils—he was an alright guy. Oh, right; and having your best friend take the rap for fathering your illegitimate child right under your wife's nose.

    You know, some days Engels must have thought he'd died and gone to Hell. A good friend, that one.

    But, no. Marx would likely be laughing. The only question is how bitterly.

    Oh, heavens no. That would be making the same mistake all over again. The thing is that as the form of the revolution changes, so must its symptoms manifest differently. The dictatorship of the proletariat may well be reduced to enough people saying, "Okay, stop!" loudly enough that everyone stops. It could, theoretically, be over before we know it has arrived. The revolution will be in people's hopes, priorities, questions, and ideas.

    I don't realistically think we can avoid it altogether. But I do wonder what form it will take, and if we can shape it accordingly as it forms. We will see the potential build, but can we influence the vector and magnitude of that energy released?

    I think it is inevitable—as revolutions will fail otherwise—that the demand and expression will synchronize.

    We will arrive, kicking and screaming the whole way, at that moment in time and look around, shrug, and say, "What? That's it? This is boring! After all that buildup, and it's not that much different than yesterday!"

    And that's when the human endeavor will officially get entertaining. I mean, instead of simply being macabre.


    Marx, Karl. Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. 1844. Marxists.org. August 28, 2009. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/index.htm

    —————. "Theses on Feuerbach". 1845. Marxists.org. August 28, 2009. http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm

    Crowley, Aleister. Aceldama: A Place to Bury Strangers In. 1898. Kobek.com. August 29, 2009. http://kobek.com/aceldama.pdf
  12. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Well then you are upset: look at your language. You're invoking Reagan, even. It's all right to be upset, you know. Look, it's pointless to get off on a tangent about whether or not anyone is upset anyway. The point of the thread was the Joker poster; we've argued about that a bit. I don't see that you can call it an instance of "whiteface", since the Joker meme inherently involves white makeup.

    Well, actually I meant that any public criticisms of Obama are relatively rare; or at least they receive little positive public attention. The "this" was extraneous; apologies. Although I don't recall racially loaded references to Obama in the public discourse. There was that "monkey - public health" cartoon a few months ago but that's the only one I can think of.
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    ? The adjectives flashing red on your screen, or something?

    Just attempting precision, with varying success. I'm not accurate only when upset, I hope.
    IIRC, the argument used to be that of course it was whiteface, that's what the Joker wore. This is getting confusing.

    How about if we stick to describing the poster: it shows Obama in whiteface, agreed?
    Do you even live in the US?
  14. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Well...no, to be honest.

    The term "whiteface" as applied by you in this instance is loaded. Do you have an objective way to say that this image is meant as a reverse of blackface? What is the epistemology of the image of the Joker? If you want to say it shows Obama with white makeup on, then ok. Mind you, it's not trivial to say that the makeup is also green and red and black. This is generally associated with the Joker meme, but not "whiteface" as you're describing so far as I know.

    I do.
  15. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    Can we at least agree that this one is racist, or are we going to defend it too?

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  16. sandy Banned Banned

    I didn't read the whole thread but the "artist" is a local, Chicago democrat, Palestinian Muslim loon.
  17. hypewaders Save Changes Registered Senior Member

    "a local, Chicago democrat, Palestinian Muslim loon."

    I must say, an interesting twist (I wasn't aware of him):

    Firas Alkhateeb

    He's not Don Hakman, is he?
  18. sandy Banned Banned


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    Nah, just a loon.
  19. hypewaders Save Changes Registered Senior Member

    He doesn't talk loony.
  20. sandy Banned Banned

    You don't think his little poster is loony? He supported Kucinich, a loon. So, scientifically, he is a loon by association.
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    He didn't make the poster.

    He isn't a Democrat, either. He likes Republican domestic policy.
  22. sandy Banned Banned

    From a previous link: "Firas Alkhateeb crafted the picture of Obama with the recognizable clown makeup using Adobe's Photoshop software."
    He supported Kucinich--a democrat.
  23. hypewaders Save Changes Registered Senior Member

    Look! We're learning new things, staying on topic, nobody's getting offended, and I'M MODERATING!

    On that note- ta, everyone. I'm taking a day or two off. I'm exhausted.

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