Remember that Obama in joker makeup poster story that I blogged about? It now seems that the Washington Post has decided that it is racist.
Between Jack Nicholson’s 1989 portrayal of the Joker in “Batman” and Heath Ledger’s 2008 characterization in “The Dark Knight,” something sinister happened to the villain’s iconic makeup. What had been a mask, with the clearly delineated lines of a carnival character, became simply war paint, and not very well applied.
The visual change signaled a change in the Joker’s inner mechanism. Nicholson’s dandified virtuoso of violence was replaced by a darker, more unpredictable and psychotic figure. What had been a caricature became more real and threatening. An urbane mocker of civilized values became simply a deformed product of urban violence.
The new Obama poster has two basic thrusts. Obama is a socialist, or a crypto-socialist. And Obama is somehow like the Joker, unpredictable and dangerous. But joining these two messages together yields more questions and contradictions than good poster art can sustain. The Joker is violent and dangerous, but a socialist? And didn’t we see George W. Bush depicted as the Joker not so long ago?
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. Scientific studies, which demonstrate the social consequences of living in neighborhoods with high rates of crime, get processed and misinterpreted in the popular unconscious, underscoring the idea. Violence breeds violence.
Superimpose that idea, through the Joker’s makeup, onto Obama’s face, and you have subtly coded, highly effective racial and political argument. Forget socialism, this poster is another attempt to accomplish an association between Obama and the unpredictable, seeming danger of urban life. It is another effort to establish what failed to jell in the debate about Obama’s association with Chicago radical William Ayers and the controversy over the racially charged sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
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.
Cue the Music!
This is nothing more than classic race hustling or race baiting. To say that the poster depicting Obama as the joker invokes images of racism; is a bit of stretch. It simple implies that we real, true, America-loving citizens do not approve of Obama’s socialistic agenda. Nothing more, nothing less. If anyone gets anything other than this out of it. They are projecting something onto it, that is not there.
Again, this is more of your Post-Racism Racialism that exists within the Democratic Party. It is simply more of that stirring of the pot, that brings more votes to that party. It also most likely is a some sort of interference run; see that Obama’s numbers are lower than Bush’s were during his first few months in office. I mean, point blank; the man has been a damn failure in office and the American people are feeling a bad case of voters remorse and it is showing. Of course some are pointing to some over sampling in the polls and fear a nefarious motive. This could very well be, but I like to think that people are just waking up; and that, my friends, is a good thing.
So, again, this article is nothing more than a lame social Liberal attempt to avert attention away from the important facts about this Administration and to stir up old wounds of a Pre-Post-Racial America. Nice try guys; but real clear thinking Americans are just not buying it.