A piece of art depicting Obama in Joker-face has people foaming at the mouth, some in outraged opposition to it and others in heated defense. Accusations of racism, double standards, hypocrisy and plain old fashioned bad taste are flying all over the place. Christian Moore says in his article in the Examiner, "Many media and cultural elites have suggested the image is rooted in “hate.” I find this interesting given that a similar image of President Bush as The Joker ran in Vanity Fair. ...There is an unwritten understanding that artists are free to comment, critique and sometimes be harsh in their assessments, but the public expects artists to be fair in their targeting of this criticism."
The First Amendment is critical to artists. Without the ability to " creatively voice" their views, ideas, thoughts - they are left without a vehicle for that creativity. Of course there are lines that shouldn't be crossed. But slamming down the race card everytime someone looks cross-eyed at the president is idiotic. If Hillary had made it to the Presidency, no doubt there would have been a piece created with her face under the Joker makeup. I would have drawn worse myself. And that is my RIGHT.
An article in the LA Times states "At one extreme, the poster suggests that Obama is a psychopath who is completely out of control and running afoul of the law -- which he clearly is not. For a cartoon or parody to work, it must have at least one toe placed firmly in the realm of reality -- a credible starting point from which to launch into the free-for-all ether of comedy. ...The image of President Obama in Heath Ledger Joker-face is especially disturbing because it is completely devoid of context -- literary, political or otherwise."
I hate to state the obvious, but not every likes Obama. Oh, stop your gasping. It's true.
I'm pretty sure there is an entire political party that visualizes him as the bad guy on a daily basis. They may even draw devil horns and a villain moustache on his picture and throw darts at it. On top of that, a number of former Obama advocates have found themselves more than a little disappointed in several of his actions since he took office. No doubt some of those unhappy people are artists. Some might even be political satirists - you know - those artists that LOOK for political controversy so they can poke fun at it. Can political satire and art cross the line and tread on PC toes - of course and on a regular basis. Does that make it bad or intolerable? Of course not.
Art can be offensive. Different people will find different things offensive. Personally, I find paintings of golf courses extremely offensive, tacky, and unendurable... but that's just me.