August 4, 2009

So, apparently somebody is putting up these posters around L.A.:

And it has caused quite a stir. Enough for the Daily Mail to notice.

Here is some professional busybody’s (Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson) comments about it:

“Depicting the president as demonic and a socialist goes beyond political spoofery. It is mean-spirited and dangerous. We have issued a public challenge to the person or group that put up the poster to come forth and publicly tell why they have used this offensive depiction to ridicule President Obama.”


One part of me wants to say “What is good for the goose is good for the gander”. Political figures have been mocked in editorial pictures since politics began. Vanity Fair even pulled a similar spoof July 2008:

But, not taking that any further, let’s break down that overreaction.

Demonic? Really? Did you not see the movie? The Joker was a twisted agent of chaos, not necessarily of evil. He was the berserker, the “rabid dog” (if I remember the movie quote right). He was not malevolently trying to convert the Batman to the side of Satan; he was just enjoying the sight of things burning.

A Socialist? You think that is a slur? Seems to be a rather accurate description of Obama’s policies, if not a description of Obama’s political philosophy. In the six months we have seen so far, he pseudo-nationalized the financial and auto industries. He is pushing for the same with health care and energy. Is that not a description of socialism?

Dangerous? Did the world collapse due to “Bushitler” posters? Or “Buck Fush” bumper stickers? Or SNL sketches depicting Reagan as a warmongering maniac, Clinton as a whore-mongering slob, H.W. as a  repetitious saltine-eater, and Carter as a brain dead turnip? Are you arguing that Obama is so thin-skinned that even this (relatively mild) negative depiction of him will send him into a nuclear missile launching rage?

I do admit that things occasionally go too far, but this is not it. I’m not sure where the line is (other than the “Bushilter” and “Buck Fush” stuff was on to wrong side of it), but saying that any humorous criticism of someone is taboo will eventually destroy free speech.

Why So Serious?

Tip of the Hat: Drudge


2 Responses to “Jokers”

  1. Tony G Says:

    So I have a few thoughts.
    Not that I particularly disagree that it’s totally lame for LA’s Urban Policy Roundtable to be criticizing the posters when nobody had a problem with the Bush depiction, but I disagree with your assessment.
    Was the Joker demonic? Absolutely! You are confusing Demonic with straight up Satanic. Demons aren’t the Devil. The Devil pulls the strings while the demons are the “agents of chaos.” That’s why Pullman’s pets were known as “daemons” ( And how is chaos not demonic? If order is from God, then the complete lack of order, or chaos, is demonic. Chaos is the very word I’ve used to describe Islam. It’s not organized evil, it’s just pure chaos.
    Other than that, I agree with your assessment.

  2. liberexmachina Says:

    The definition of demonic is “pertaining to demons”, more or less.

    I would argue that demons are not necessarily chaotic, at least according to the stand by definition; it takes more than a bit of organization to try to fight “The Man”, especially when we are talking about “the big one upstairs”. While minions of demons could certainly be chaotic (take Mohammadeans, for example), the demons would have to bring some semblance of order to that chaos in order for it to be of any real, lasting effect.

    But, when it comes right down to it, this is just a matter of degree. Both the straight-up rebellion (demons) and the tacit acceptance of that rebellion (man’s sin) are evil.

    Pullman was going for the old “familiar” concept (from the variant daimon) like Archimedes in “The Sword and the Stone”. Sometimes a conch shell is just a conch shell. Just because Pullman uses a whole slew of anti-Christian symbolism does not make everything a symbol.

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