WaPo mulls it over, decides Obama Joker poster is racist

posted at 1:59 pm on August 6, 2009 by Allahpundit

I remember during the campaign when darkening Obama’s skin was racist. Now it’s racist to paint him white. You wanted Change, you got it.

So why the anonymity? Perhaps because the poster is ultimately a racially charged image. By using the “urban” makeup of the Heath Ledger Joker, instead of the urbane makeup of the Jack Nicholson character, the poster connects Obama to something many of his detractors fear but can’t openly discuss. He is black and he is identified with the inner city, a source of political instability in the 1960s and ’70s, and a lingering bogeyman in political consciousness despite falling crime rates.

The Joker’s makeup in “Dark Knight” — the latest film in a long franchise that dramatizes fear of the urban world — emphasized the wounded nature of the villain, the sense that he was both a product and source of violence. Although Ledger was white, and the Joker is white, this equation of the wounded and the wounding mirrors basic racial typology in America. Urban blacks — the thinking goes — don’t just live in dangerous neighborhoods, they carry that danger with them like a virus…

Obama, like the Joker and like the racial stereotype of the black man, carries within him an unknowable, volatile and dangerous marker of urban violence, which could erupt at any time. The charge of socialism is secondary to the basic message that Obama can’t be trusted, not because he is a politician, but because he’s black.

This reminds me of when McCain’s “Celebrity” ad debuted and the left went on a three-day bender trying to top each other with ever more inventive theories about the alleged racial subtext. It’s a parlor game for progressive nerds: Take any conservative attack on Obama, assume racism, and then connect as many dots as you need to in order to get from point A to point B. Here it’s Obama = Joker; Joker = terrorizes city; terrorizing cities = stereotype of blacks; ergo, Obama = stereotype of blacks. It’s like “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” but with political benefits. And as always with these things, the ease and almost eagerness with which the author perceives the nastiest racial stereotypes is unsettling. If you showed someone an inkblot from a Rorschach test and they told you “I see a violent Negro!”, you’d be forgiven for thinking they have issues. Yet that’s what all these pieces boil down to. Note to WaPo: The supposed violent inner-city criminal in question here wore mom jeans to the All-Star Game. I wouldn’t worry about middle America associating him with the Crips and Bloods.

What the poster really is, of course, is blasphemous, but the left fancies itself above such vulgar things as idol worship and besides, blasphemy doesn’t have the political charge that it used to. As a substitute, racism will do just fine.


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Not a racist image, just a stupid one.

Dave Rywall on August 6, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Someone refresh my memory for me, please, but I don’t recall Philip (or anyone else on the left for that matter) getting his knickers in a twist over the vile, satanic, Jill Greenberg photos of McCain in the Atlantic last fall.

These photos too included a little “colorizing” of the face, as well as a bonus Photoshop of a monkey defecating on McCain’s head.

Oh, that’s right. That was “art”. A quick check of Greenberg’s website indicates the pictures have gone down the memory hole.

pain train on August 6, 2009 at 4:38 PM

By using the “urban” makeup of the Heath Ledger Joker, instead of the urbane makeup of the Jack Nicholson character, the poster connects Obama to something many of his detractors fear but can’t openly discuss.

ROFL…hilarious. It’s getting harder and harder to tell the state-run media from The Onion.

ddrintn on August 6, 2009 at 4:40 PM

Not a racist image, just a stupid one.

Dave Rywall on August 6, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Enough “stupid images” take their toll. Ask George Bush.

ddrintn on August 6, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Um, like, you totally called me a “troll.”

The Race Card on August 6, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Um, like, you totally are.

The Race Card on August 6, 2009 at 4:42 PM

ROFL…hilarious. It’s getting harder and harder to tell the state-run media from The Onion.

ddrintn on August 6, 2009 at 4:40 PM

At least The Onion is trying to be funny.

The Race Card on August 6, 2009 at 4:43 PM

What the poster really is, of course, is blasphemous

Exactly right. How dare they make fun of the New Jesus?

ddrintn on August 6, 2009 at 4:43 PM

blah blah blah. I don’t even read that stuff anymore. I wish someone had told America that Obama could not be criticized like every other president in our history, because he is black and crticism is racist. Maybe if the powers that be had made that plain people would not have elected this joker.

Terrye on August 6, 2009 at 4:46 PM

If you showed someone an inkblot from a Rorschach test and they told you “I see a violent Negro!”, you’d be forgiven for thinking they have issues.

That’s actually kind of funny, given the Rorschach from Watchmen.

Blacksmith on August 6, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Dave:

Why is it stupid? The man is a joker, he has played the American people.

I bet you thought the nasty, mean spirited images of Cheney and Bush and Condi Rice were funny as hell.

Guys like you can always dish it our but can not take it. Wusses.

Terrye on August 6, 2009 at 4:48 PM

They are trying to demonize this and tar it with “racist” because the want it to go away. They want to shame people from putting any more of these up. They want to shame people from sending it around the internet. It seems very desperate to me. They seem to fear this picture a great deal. That means this is an effective picture. It’s great on many levels. Don’t let them shame you into silence. I’ve already ordered my pack of stickers from Cafe Press. I’ll be keeping a couple in my pocket at all times. Whenever the mood hits me I’ll be putting these things up all over. This should turn into a movement. When people see this picture they will realize we aren’t all doe eyed worshipers of the One.

Shame people into silence. It’s the lefts go to tactic right now. “You dare post or even like a picture that is against the One? Shame on you for being so racist. Be shamed and be silent!” You’re part of a group voicing your opposition to Obamacare in town halls? Shame on you for being a mob and following the orders of the villainous insurance companies you swastika brandishing rabble-rouser.”

It’s not a new tactic, but it seems to be the go to tactic right now. Don’t be shamed into silence!

Ampersand on August 6, 2009 at 4:51 PM

The Joker’s makeup in “Dark Knight” — the latest film in a long franchise that dramatizes fear of the urban world — emphasized the wounded nature of the villain, the sense that he was both a product and source of violence.

That’s even funnier, given who the villains have always been in the Batman films – creepy, mentally-deranged anarchic white guys. That’s even if we give the WaPo a pass on including the older films in the “long franchise” that’s all of two films long, properly speaking. In what narcotic fever-dream of a WaPo editor do the Christian Bale Batman and the Michael Keaton Batman belong in the same “long franchise” – to say nothing of the campy Adam West (hawk, spit) or George Clooney (hawk, hawk, spit) portrayals.

Blacksmith on August 6, 2009 at 4:53 PM

Won’t this make it harder for black actors to find work?

exhelodrvr on August 6, 2009 at 4:59 PM

I don’t think I read a single review for “Dark Knight” that made any reference to the Joker being a “racially charged” figure. Not one single mention of race at all, but now it’s suddenly the most racist symbol in the universe.

It must be nice to just define anything your opponent says however you wish so that you can then attack them for it. Intellectual dishonesty is the the very core of race baiting idiots of the left.

Scrappy on August 6, 2009 at 5:03 PM

de allecon,
“Obama as little bo peep”
That one’s easy – “baa baa black sheep”

“Obama as a fireman”
Firehouse mascots – dalmatians – black and white!

exhelodrvr on August 6, 2009 at 5:03 PM

exhelodrvr on August 6, 2009 at 5:03 PM

Take the dumb race jokes somewhere else.

Scrappy on August 6, 2009 at 5:05 PM

Scrappy on August 6, 2009 at 5:05 PM

exhelodrvr was making a valid point on how these people can use the same sort of logic to label anything racists. Well done exhelodrvr. Highlighting absurdity by being absurd.

Ampersand on August 6, 2009 at 5:09 PM

exhelodrvr was making a valid point on how these people can use the same sort of logic to label anything racists. Well done exhelodrvr. Highlighting absurdity by being absurd.

Ampersand on August 6, 2009 at 5:09 PM

exhelodrvr hit the nail right on the head. The problem with satire though is that people on the left with a huge chip on their shoulder are usually too intelectually challenged to understand the real message.

We can’t back down when the left screams racist (unless it is something overtly so). If we do, as exhelodrvr pointed out, they can contort anything into being a ‘racist comment’.

Of course, this is Karma paying Obama back for the “lipstick on a pig” comment.

bullseye on August 6, 2009 at 5:37 PM

Ampersand on August 6, 2009 at 5:09 PM

Looking at it again, I can see your point, but he wasn’t very clear in making that argument. Perhaps clarity of message might head off some of:

The problem with satire though is that people on the left with a huge chip on their shoulder are usually too intelectually challenged to understand the real message.

bullseye on August 6, 2009 at 5:37 PM

Scrappy on August 6, 2009 at 5:45 PM

Ampersand on August 6, 2009 at 5:09 PM
Looking at it again, I can see your point, but he wasn’t very clear in making that argument. Perhaps clarity of message might head off some of:

The problem with satire though is that people on the left with a huge chip on their shoulder are usually too intelectually challenged to understand the real message.

bullseye on August 6, 2009 at 5:37 PM
Scrappy on August 6, 2009 at 5:45 PM

Scrappy – the problem is that we are all running around in cirles with this obamanation. I think a lot of us are writing quickly and reading quickly.

The other problem is that most people toward the right are pretty logical. When you start getting the juvinile alsinksy stuff thrown at you by the obamaites and nonsense like Pelosi claiming “Nazi Flags” were being waved by the anti obama protestors, you start feeling like you are in some type of twighlight zone.

My point about the people with a chip on their shoulder was directed at the leftists, not middle of the roaders or conservatives who misread something

bullseye on August 6, 2009 at 5:57 PM

The mind numbing stupidity never ceases

MyImamToldMeToDoIt on August 6, 2009 at 6:22 PM

Dave:

Why is it stupid? The man is a joker, he has played the American people.

I bet you thought the nasty, mean spirited images of Cheney and Bush and Condi Rice were funny as hell.

Guys like you can always dish it our but can not take it. Wusses.

Terrye on August 6, 2009 at 4:48 PM
——-
Hey I have a great idea of where you can put your straw man.

Unlike you, I appreciate lampooning of both sides of the aisle. If someone deserves mocking, mock away. Everybody is fair game. But if you’re going to try, make it good. Not like this poorly conceived, lamely executed meaningless piece of sh*t.

But your explanation of it? Hilarious. Thanks for the laugh.

Dave Rywall on August 6, 2009 at 7:09 PM

bullseye on August 6, 2009 at 5:41 PM

Yes and he passes socialized healthcare.

Rightwingguy on August 6, 2009 at 8:18 PM

Unlike you, I appreciate lampooning of both sides of the aisle. If someone deserves mocking, mock away. Everybody is fair game. But if you’re going to try, make it good. Not like this poorly conceived, lamely executed meaningless piece of sh*t.
Dave Rywall on August 6, 2009 at 7:09 PM

I have to agree with you. It isn’t racist…just… I dunno. I’m not sure where the Joker=Obama. Kind of lame, but not racist at all. Unless Gerorge W. Bush dressed as Hitler is racist….

Rightwingguy on August 6, 2009 at 8:20 PM

Unlike you, I appreciate lampooning of both sides of the aisle. If someone deserves mocking, mock away. Everybody is fair game. But if you’re going to try, make it good. Not like this poorly conceived, lamely executed meaningless piece of sh*t.

Dave Rywall on August 6, 2009 at 7:09 PM

Must’ve hit some sort of nerve to draw commentary from WaPo. “Lamely executed”? Maybe. But wow, those caricatures of Bush as a vampire or a chimpanzee were just a scream. Got it.

ddrintn on August 6, 2009 at 8:22 PM

Unless Gerorge W. Bush dressed as Hitler is racist….

Rightwingguy on August 6, 2009 at 8:20 PM

That was sooooo funny though, don’t you see> Any sacrilegious depiction of Teh One is always going to be “lame” or “racist” or both.

ddrintn on August 6, 2009 at 8:23 PM

I love the Joker poster. It’s brilliant on so many levels. Not as racism, that’s plain silly (although as always, if you WANT to see racism it’s easy for you to do so).

The way I see this, it’s a Picture of Dorian Gray. The cracks in the “white” face (the safe, nonthreatening face that Barack always strove to present to the world, as he tells us in his autobiographies) show that he isn’t that man at all. This isn’t the safe black man, this is Jeremiah Wright’s parishioner, the man who hates America because – well, I just don’t know why.
Suffice it to say, this is a man who was handed the most prestigious prize of all on a PLATTER and he still hates this country. Now you can see it, it is no longer hidden.

The dark circles around the eyes, like dissipation, reveal the toll of surrounding yourself with people who hate and hunger for power over others. His wife, and mother of his children thinks America is “a mean country.” The nasty progressive virus has bored into his brain. Close contact with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have him talking out of both sides of his mouth. You can almost imagine worms about to crawl out of his nose.

This is a man who can never be made whole. He cannot be redeemed.

Poor guy. He will stagger out of there in 2012, furtively lighting a ciggie…

disa on August 6, 2009 at 8:28 PM

With mental and verbal gymnastics such as that I’m surprised the writer didn’t pull a muscle.

Mistahtibbs on August 6, 2009 at 8:39 PM

The Joker’s makeup in “Dark Knight” — the latest film in a long franchise that dramatizes fear of the urban world — emphasized the wounded nature of the villain, the sense that he was both a product and source of violence.

What a load of crap. The Joker represented the mindlessness of terrorism, and the entire film was in support of W’s war on terror. It had nothing to do with “wounded nature.” More feminine liberal pscyhobabble nonsense.

John the Libertarian on August 6, 2009 at 11:20 PM

Ooo yeah that makes sense. I mean why else would you use the popular version when you can paint him like the old joker, that 90% of the moronic 18 year olds that voted for Obama because of race wouldn’t know what the hell the image was.

Rbastid on August 6, 2009 at 11:37 PM

I love this poster. If this poster makes me a racist so be it.

bluegrass on August 7, 2009 at 7:59 AM

The Joker wanted to tear down society and impose his world view on Gotham. Life didn’t matter; only what he wanted at that moment. Watching society burn gave him happiness. He would not allow any opposing thought to have prominence over his narcissistic desires. His rage blinded him to the concept of real human compassion.

I think the poster is a perfect analogy.

SKYFOX on August 7, 2009 at 8:13 AM

Put a printable PDF photo online and watch it paper this country. Dare you………

bluegrass on August 7, 2009 at 11:21 AM

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