Obama-Joker Poster goes Viral/Denounced as Racist

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Cowboy, Aug 10, 2009.

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  1. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    Bush already bankrupted America if you haven't noticed.
     
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  3. Mr.Spock Back from the dead Valued Senior Member

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    compared to Obama, bush is the best president in history. at least in his time, north Korea wouldn't even think of even firing a rock, let alone an ICBM.
     
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  5. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

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    no just test nuclear weapons
     
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  7. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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  8. Mr.Spock Back from the dead Valued Senior Member

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    you fail to understand, during bush administration you had deterring factor, they knew exactly the price, now thanks to Obama, they feel that America is weaker.

    and they are right.

    but you dont understand, not until its too late.
     
  9. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

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    I suppose if I'd have to live in a country that is based on denying people their rights and trying to convince everyone they never existed I'd understand?
     
  10. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    If he couldn't deter a nuclear test, what's the point of acting like a hot-head? Under Bush, we had few military resources available to counter North Korea, thanks to our involvement in a war of choice.
     
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Briefly (ha!)

    I would note three separate issues going on there.

    (1) Racist satires — Generally speaking, people tend to regard mass-market comedy (e.g. Dave Chapelle) as different from political satire as different from avant-garde insurgent political commentary. As such, different rules apply to the different roles. Mass-market comedy is only bounded by what an artist thinks the public will buy. Chapelle might push certain buttons and boundaries, but only so much. Cartoonist Steve Benson was run out of Tacoma after he published a Veterans' Day frame depicting "George & Dan's Body Bag Sale" about the Gulf War. The man knew how to pull strings; his farewell cartoons to Ryan White and Jim Henson are legendary tear-jerkers. I have his Dr. Seuss memorial cartoon framed and stowed away somewhere. But this jab was a bridge too far; it was too controversial and allegedly "insensitive" to the outlook of a military town (Army and Air Force). Eventually, he packed up and went back to Arizona. Our loss; their gain. It isn't just racial issues for these artists, but sensitivity. I forget which British cartoonist published the frame of Obama as a nigger Superman cleaning up a bunch of elephant shit, but nobody gave him any significant flak for its deliberate commentary on racial overtones in American politics. The context of that one is important. From an artistic standpoint, the indictment of American culture was reasonably accurate; many people joked that we had hired a black man to clean up after a bunch of white people. With the Joker poster, the question is really how important the detail of whiteface is. It is an interesting commentary as even some of Obama's supporters feel he's pulling an Uncle Tom. However, only the most idiotic artist on the planet could look past the whiteface without recognizing the potential. And the rules applying to insurgent political commentary make that a very dangerous point. Insurgent commentary is expected to be polite enough to be considered respectable before it is given any real consideration.

    (2) Bush as a monkey — There is no question that the chimp in chief campaign is mean-spirited. But this is the president who appears to have had his speech recited into his ear while in Europe; this is the president who simply froze and stared into the camera during a debate; this is the president people widely suspect of having talking points in a debate funneled to him; this is the "My Pet Goat" president. On the one hand, Bush handed us that image. To another, he often acted as president like a trained chimpanzee, prancing around as if to satisfy his masters while begging for change. And to yet another, Bush's arrogance, his disdain for people and the Constitution, his constant rejections of American precedent, his warmongering, his hand-picked audiences ... so much of what he did was so thuggish and stupid that it really did bring out the worst in people. All that said, though, there is also the fact that, as Tyler pointed out, Bush is a white man, and "monkey" has often been used as a term to denigrate blacks. A porch-monkey ain't no honky. Unless you're Randal Graves.

    (3) More important issues — Yes, there are more important issues facing the country. Indeed, there are more important issues about this poster. But look at the context of the discussion. Acid Cowboy wanted to discuss the racial issue. Plenty of people seem to want to focus on it. As I said before, I think the real problem is the poster's inherent stupidity. It's rather hard to attack Obama as a socialist; the talking points are few and superficial. The whole point of this line of attack is to distract people from real, substantial issues in the American political discourse. And it's working. Some people and interests find the whiteface obvious, even primary. Others think it's symptomatic. And then there are folks like our thread starter who seem to need a remedial course in the history of American racism.​

    In the end, this whole fracas is just another demonstration of a certain problem with the conservative argument. The question of Obama's socialism hinges on how quickly GM is restored to the private sector, and whether a state health plan (which seems unlikely to begin with) will compete with or quash private health insurance. In the meantime, though, a majority of voters did elect Obama. Which would make it seem as if the "Socialist" fear appeal is wasted on a majority of the country. But, however, mixed in with the birthers, the "Hussein" crowd, the Nazi vampire attacks, rumors of secret Muslim plots, and so forth, it seems like just another attempt to depict Obama as alien. Notice that few people pause to argue about whether or not Obama is a sociopath. That's psychology, and much more complex. The xenophobic nerve in a given society is more easily disturbed than its intellectual thirst slaked. So in the meantime, we have a meagre, twenty-first century Red Scare going on, and also an attempt to agitate xenophobics by depicting Obama as something other than American.

    Those who would point out that calling Democrats Nazis is fair because there was a lot of Nazi talk about the Bush administration are overlooking one of the basic aspects of simile, metaphor, and analogy: relevance. As facts emerged, more and more of the Bush administration's actions seemed taken from historical playbooks. Which is, in itself, fine. History is an excellent teacher. But the war cry matched an observation made by Hermann Göering; and, indeed, shades of what Göering said can be found in the governmental philosophy of Leo Strauss, a University of Chicago professor whose work is fundamental to the contemporary neoconservative. Legal black holes for detainees, rendition, and torture all contributed to the image. Carefully-selected audiences to depict broad support for a beloved national leader certainly didn't help.

    For the conservatives, it seems that a Democratic president who doesn't want to do everything they want him to do is fair game. Obama's a Nazi vampire, didn't you hear? And the difference is which facts support the analogy, metaphor, or simile. I might compare you to a cow, but why? What about the comparison makes it work? Sure, you have breasts, but am I after an udder theme? Do you graze lazily through rhetorical pastures and regurgitate the meal, only to chomp it back down for yourself? Do you shit excessively? There must, if I am to call you a cow, be some bovine aspect that translates in the image. And you'll notice I haven't even begun to account for the fact that you are from India.

    But these aspects don't seem to matter to conservatives. Perhaps you called some politician a fascist. And the fact of his words or actions matter none to the conservative. What they seem to see is a term they find insulting, and thus, if you can be insulting, they can call you a cow.

    With Obama, this has been going on for a while, now. Right before the election, a blogger tried to brand him a communist on the grounds that he advocated wealth redistribution as part of racial equality. Going back to the record, we find Illinois State Senator Obama on a Chicago call-in show. A woman called to ask a Constitutional professor (e.g., Obama) his thoughts on how wealth distribution related to racial equality in society. At no time during his response did Obama advocate wealth redistribution. Rather, he gave his own historical perspective on the issue. But the fact that wealth distribution and race were raised in the conversation was suitable for conservatives, who shouted, "Communist! Communist!" in a feeble attempt at red-baiting. The actual facts of what was discussed or how have no real bearing on the characterization, and bear no fundamental relationship to the hue and cry.

    Unfortunately, this sort of analysis exists outside the American mainstream. People are experiencing a visceral reaction to this fearmongering, but few can put their fingers on it because few believe they can afford the time to understand the more intricate workings of the ruse. But they know a con when they see one, and the density of shenanigans this time around is especially wearying. Part of what you're seeing is simply frayed nerves. Many don't understand why we have to keep holding back the discussion for a certain, dedicated subset that simply will not, under any circumstances, be placated. And they're starting to lose their tempers.

    This whole anti-Obama paranoia is extraneous and stupid, but such are the paranoiacs that they're not going to let go. They would rather the whole country shudder and fail than give even a grudging inch to the foreign-born secret Muslim Communist Nazi vampire who is coming to euthanize your grandmother.
     
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    If he were not, he would never have made it through the campaign.

    But that's irrelevant. The question is whether the rest of the country is, sufficiently for avoidance of serious governmental malfunction and breakdown.
     
  13. superstring01 Moderator

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    Sometimes, not to put a too fine a point on it, a spade is just a spade. If I were to guess, I'd say the poster had some racial overtones that can't be easily overlooked. Some people hate him regardless of his race. Likewise, in criticizing, insulting and characterizing the POTUS, one shouldn't have to tippy-toe around his race in order to exercise free speech and criticize the man.

    This whole thing smacks of leftist faux offense and solipsism. When the insults and crude characterizations are of a Republican president they are all so deep, smart and timely. When they are of a Democratic president, they are racist, crude and ignorant.

    I've yet to see an insulting characterization of a sitting president be anything but crude and simple. That's the whole point. Like the monkey face of Bush, it's intended to stick in the mind regardless of race. More likely this painting has to do with what right-wingers are crying about everywhere you see: gun control, unionization, universal health care, national debt. Conservatives have been running to the hills over their perceived end to the American way and are desperate to paint Obama as some Machiavellian force, intent on destroying what is "good" about the USA. That it doesn't even bother to avoid the "black white" issue is, well, neither here nor there, because any characterization of Obama, however hard it tried to avoid his race, would be spun by Obama's supprters as racism.

    That, it would appear, is part of the game. The conservatives caterwaul about Obama being an un-Amercian Socialist who's out to get yer gun and destroy the American way. Liberals, on the other hand, get to twist every insult--apropos or not--into racism and bigotry.

    So, there's a racist plot to subvert "responsible governance" going on right now?

    Yes. Which doesn't not make it racist, but saying that it is would need a little more proof than just coincidental face color of one of, if not the, most twisted and devious villains in comic books & cinema these days. In fact, most villains in comic books use some sort of mask, which no doubt, people would somehow twist into being racism were they used instead. That The Joker was used is more a commentary on who this person wants people to see Obama as than just his face. No doubt, while sitting in front of his/her little computer, he/she was giggling to him/herself through the whole process about how people would perceive the so-called racism. That was probably the point.

    None of us, however, can truly know what the person was thinking, if they were racist and if every race-baiter in the USA has been played like a puppet over this non-issue.

    I would agree, and yet in this case a chimp was not used. A comic book character who's personality is twisted and evil was used. While I wouldn't describe Obama as anything of the sort, it's possible that some would see him that way. And as SAM has pointed out, everything about Obama, like every other president, is fair game.

    As if, people who were out to demean and insult the president were de facto racist for hating him and calling him a joker.

    "could very well be..." right. You'll have to support that a bit more. Surely the war on terror, health care, the national debt and the gulf between rich and poor outpace that issue by several orders of magnitude.

    ~String
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  14. WillNever Valued Senior Member

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    Whiteface..?? Wth?

    It's called BLACKFACE. And that's not blackface on Obama.

    Get a clue, people. That's the Joker.
     
  15. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    Obama-Joker Poster goes Viral

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    is popping up all over the country from Los Angelos to Florida.
    ABC News' Devin Dwyer reports: The mystery of Batman’s “Joker” character has met American politics in a new poster that is surfacing on the streets of Los Angeles, Calif.

    On one L.A. highway overpass support, an unknown artist has pasted four images of President Obama with white face paint, dark eye shadow and smudged red lipstick, similar to the appearance of The Dark Knight’s Joker, played by Heath Ledger. The word ‘socialism’ is spelled out in big black letters below Obama’s face.

    None of the usual street graffiti artist suspects has taken credit.

    The poster has gone viral online, crashing the website that first posted images of it and rising to the top of Google’s “Today’s Hot Trends” list. The original image is still visible here.
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2009/08/obama-joker-poster-goes-viral.html

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/08/01/obama-joker-poster-popping-los-angeles
    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/AP/story/1183347.html

    The secret service is even investigating a case of this poster being faxed to a Democratic lawmaker with the message, "death to all marxists!" http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/secret-service-looking-into-obama-joker-fax-2009-08-07.html

    Of course, Obama wasn't the first to fall victim to this comparison.

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    But the Bush version never caught on like the Obama-Joker.
     
  16. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Yes.

    What would you call the employment of race-baiting tactics to short-circuit public debate on policy matters of national urgency?

    "Republican politics as usual" would be one obvious cute answer, although that would be a distinction without a difference.
     
  17. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Same issue, silly. The whole point of the organized right-wing attacks on Obama is to sabotage any chance of reasoned dialogue and rational policy-making on all of the issues you cite, as well as many more.

    Do you really imagine that a poster portraying the President as a dangerous "socialist" is unrelated to health care, the national debt, class divisions, etc.?
     
  18. Norsefire Salam Shalom Salom Registered Senior Member

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    How is that racist? I didn't even think of that until it was brought up.
     
  19. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    I think it kinda makes him look cool. Where's the cigarette?


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    Hey, does this make Republicans the antisocialists?
     
  20. WillNever Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not sure. I didn't think of it in racial terms at all until I read some of the posts by the angry kittens in this thread. The fact that those people see it in racial terms first and foremost is very revealing in some ways.
     
  21. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    That was it's intent in the first place.
     
  22. superstring01 Moderator

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    I would call that racism, but I've yet to see this tactic used by anybody but the most fringe racists. I haven't seen the Republican party use these tactics. Less out of principles than out of self preservation. Such a maneuver would be suicidal for any public official who used it.

    I would just call it "politics as usual", since I've yet to see a politician that doesn't use every devious trick in the book to get their way.

    I'm not disagreeing with this point.

    But you say "organized right-wing" as if every right winger is somehow taking their queues from some central authority (i.e. the Republican party). This poster is from some right-wing fear-monger, that much is obvious. That it is directly linked to the Republican party would be a dubious claim at best.

    No. I think it's directly linked, I just don't think that the visage of The Joker being painted on Obama's face is necessary racist. The intent, if I were to guess it, is to do exactly that: portray Obama as some Machiavellian mastermind, intent on dismantling the "American Way" from the top of the US government. I also believe that racial overtones are unavoidable due to the obvious fact that Obama is black and the joker is pasty-white. This, in and of itself, does not equate to a racist attack. Ideological? Yes. Fruitless? Well, that's up to debate. I mean, we are discussing it, but will it have an effect? Probably not, at least no more than this discussion.

    ~String
     
  23. Jeff 152 Registered Senior Member

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    Can anybody come up with some widely recognizable from popular culture, black villain who would share the same connotations and evoke the same kind of emotional reaction as the joker? I highly doubt it, thus, the joker was the most appropriate villain to portray Obama as to get the author's message across (I am not debating whether the message is good or bad, merely whether it is racist)

    Come to think of it, even if there were some black villain that Obama could easily be caricatured as, the racist outcry would probably be even worse. I can easily see arguments like "The people who made this caricature are racist, they see a black man as their president and immediately see him as the black villain __________(insert widely recognizable and relevant black villain, which I still think is nonexistant)"

    Criticizing Obama by making him look like a white villain is racist
    Criticizing Obama by making him look like a black villain is racist
    hmmm, I think I see where this is going.....any critic of Obama will inevitably be charged as a racist
     
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