08 August 2009

Obama, The Joker, Hope, and Socialism...

Is this picture racist? Or, is it acceptable under the definition of freedom of speech and freedom of expression provisions? Or, is it acceptable political parody?

The image has been finding itself posted in and around Los Angeles and has caused quite a stir. The racial overtones relate to the fact that it is Obama and the image is supposedly intended to be a take on the black and white minstrel theme in reverse. Or, it could simply be a comment on the current debates surrounding the development of a health care bill.

For those who are fans of Batman, then they will recognize that the picture picks up on the image made famous by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

Interestingly, no one has claimed responsibility or ownership of the image.


Brett said...

Really? People think this is racist? How come? It's a political statement. Not sure what it is, though. Joker, B+W minstrel, Elizabeth Taylor after one drink too many...?

the penguin said...

I realise we cant generalise on race - it is racist. But we seem to think its ok to specialise attacks on certain individuals and groups in the name of healhy public debate??

Rob Baiton said...


Yes, they do. The link in the post takes you to a UK Telegraph article on the controversy.


Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Comments are always appreciated.

If it is racist, then the question I would pose would be: "Have we taken political correctness and the need not to offend to an extreme where all political comment / satire / parody is off limits?"

There is no doubting that Obama is black. Some even think that the man was born in Kenya (misguided as that is). Yet, the image is clearly a take on The Joker image from the marketing posters for the film The Dark Knight. There is nothing to suggest that this is a black and white minstrel image.

Is Obama being targeted? Yes, but to me the image suggests that the man, and perhaps his health plan is too socialist for some and hence the allusion to evil with The Joker image.

I would not agree with your statement that "we seem to think its ok to specialise attacks on certain individuals and groups in the name of healthy public debate??" It is clearly not OK, at least, not in my mind.

It is also fair to say in response to the above that it is equally easy for those individuals and groups who feel that they are being targeted to stifle legitimate public debate by playing the race card.

I guess this in and of itself is a debate.

the penquin said...

I was mainly referring to Brett's flippant remarks about say Liz Taylor. If I said he looked like Scott the Antartic explorer after a few dog's livers would he be justifiably offended? I can see racist content in the picture and Id say he would not see grounds for defamation in my statement. Or would he?

lawdry said...

Obama socialist? Advertisement?
I have this advert on the side of my screen that has a portrait of the God King Obama and underneath it says
"Obama, a Socialist?"
"Vote here!"
Is this on everyone's computer or is there a program running that tries to bait me into clicking on said advertisement by matching keywords that I type with a list of preset ads?

* 1 month ago

Did you see this one Rob??

Rob Baiton said...


Maybe Brett can answer the question that you pose.

I can see racist content in the picture in so far as people making the argument for that content do. However, I do not feel that the point of the poster was racist.

If a different word to socialism was pasted under the picture that alluded more directly to race, then I might be more easily convinced of the racist intent of the poster.

However, socialism tends to suggest to me that the comment is more to do about Obama's political beliefs. And, the Joker imagery is to suggest that those political beliefs are evil and that an Obama presidency is destined to take the USA down a path to socialism.

Then again, this is the beauty of any image, even dark images, is that two people can look at the same image and see two completely different interpretations of the meaning.


Nope. I do not recall seeing that pop up anywhere. That is not to say that it didn't. I just don't remember if it did...getting old :D

Hamster said...

Socialism is creeping into American society. Conservatives need to recognize it...and stop it.

One of the most insidious forms of socialism is "insurance".

Insurance? .....Socialism?? How can that be?

The insurance industry claims that insurance is just a way to spread the risk.
But what it really is ...is socialism.

Take me. I've been paying fire insurance for over 30 years.
I've never had a house burn down...never filed a claim.

So I called my insurance agent and ask to know "Where's all those premiums I've been sending you year after year ?"
You know what he told me? He said his company had already given it to some guy I didn't even know!!!
"Who did you give it to?"
"This guy whose house burned down.",my agent informed me. "He went on vacation and left the stove on. The whole place burned to the ground"

"So I should have to pay for someone else's stupid mistake?".

" I don't think so. I want my money back." I demanded.

"Sorry. But That's the way insurance works." My agent said. "We take money from those whose houses didn't burn down and give it to those who have had a fire.

We take money from the young and healthy and use it to pay the old and sick.

We take money from good drivers and give it to some guy who totaled his car while driving too fast.

We are spreading the risk. We take money from those who don't need it and give it to those who do. "

That's socialism in a nutshell. Take from those that have and give to those who don't???

That's right. Those hidden forms of socialism have slowly seeped into our society and now threaten to infect every area of our lives.

Time to put an end to insurance. Time to end socialism

Rob Baiton said...


Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Comments are always appreciated.

Interesting take on insurance. I pay insurance but had never considered it to be an insidious form of slowly but surely creeping socialism.

I do understand the concept of spreading the risk whereby some unfortunate soul reaps the benefit of my premiums. However, similar to the lottery in a sense, I would hope that if my number came up and I needed to make a claim then I would hope that it would be paid.

Is there an alternative to insurance or are ou simply proposing that the world return to a state where it was every man, woman, child, and animal for themselves?

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