Wednesday, August 12, 2009

DAMage Report - Two-Faced Standards

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.

Additional References:


billy pilgrim said...

i agree 100%, what's fair for the goose is good for the gander.

i'm not crazy about obama.

i like his policies and the reform he's trying to introduce but i find him to be a bit of a narcissist.

he should use his press secretary a little bit more.

Gadfly said...

Ditto :o)

Woozie said...

I still don't get how it's racist. Is it because the makeup looks like blackface?

Karl said...

Good Afternoon Lakota,

I'm not fond of seeing negative depictions of any president. But if one wants the job, it is part of the territory.

Anonymous said...

I take serious offence because I have painted golf courses in the past.

Anonymous said...

I too agree 100%, what's fair for the goose is good for the gander.
Loans in a low rate and we make it easy to repay it too

Riff Dog said...

Yep. I happen to like Obama, but see nothing wrong with this.

I'm with Woozie in that I don't see it as racist, by the way. But even if it was, you have to give not just artists, but anyone their freedom to voice their opinions, no matter how unPC they are.

That's the whole point of freedom of speech. People can vent with their art or words openly, so they don't get frustrated and vent with semi automatic weapons or car bombs instead.

nitebyrd said...

While my taste in art runs towards paintings of Elvis on black velvet, I'm not offended by the poster of Mr. Obama.

People need to lighten up. We have a bi-racial president and not every freakin' criticism of him can be called "racist." I'm not particularly fond of him at the moment and it's not because he's 1/2 black. Just like I wasn't pissed off at Bush because he was 1/2 idiot.

ART is in the eye of the beholder. Having an open mind instead of being a pin-head would help a whole bunch of people, in my opinion.

(Hi! 'kota, missed you, too!)