Right now the Intertubes are burning up with heated controversy about this poster appearing around Los Angeles depicting President Barack Obama in Joker-style makeup as Heath Ledger portrayed Batman's nemesis in last year's The Dark Knight.
What particularly makes me chuckle are remarks made by Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable (whatever the hell that is) president Earl Ofari Hutchinson: "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."
So let me get this straight: it's now considered a dire offense, if not an outright sin, to criticize Obama?
I don't think this is "mean-spirited" at all. Most longtime readers of this blog know that I have used my own meager Photoshop skills to mock public officials - of all partisan stripes, mind ya - whenever I've felt they deserved such. Heck, for awhile this place was practically wall-to-wall Ron Price visual jabs. And it's safe to say that I did more than my share of slamming George W. Bush (Worst President Ever(tm), thus far anyway) when he was in the White House.
But "mean-spirited"? Honestly... and I don't care if people disagree with me on this one... not at all.
I like to think that the stuff I did, and what this "Obama as the Joker" obviously is, stems from a legitimate disagreement and even frustration with the official policies of these people. Sometimes that frustration is more than mere words are enough to convey. And when that happens, the time-honored tradition of protesting via imagery comes into play. So long as it's not completely tasteless - and I don't see how this particular image is that at all - then I don't see what the problem is. Obama wanted to be President of the United States. He and his supporters should have realized fully well what they were getting into, if he desired to be such a high public official.
And besides, it's not like Bush the Lesser received any different treatment from his detractors.
Or maybe the plain truth of the matter is, whether we want to admit it or not, that this really is a country run by a pack of jokers.