Recently, images of US President Barack Obama depicted as the Joker (of Batman fame) have been popping up on the streets of LA and flooding the rightwing blogosphere & news sources.
One blogger, Tammy Bruce, used the opportunity to slam the Prez with the title “You Know B. Hussein Is In Trouble When…,” while the American Thinker used “Barack Obama, laughingstock” for the title of their post.
The first mention of this, according to NewsBusters, was in the April 25 edition of Bedlam Magazine:
A poster of Barack Obama in Heath Ledger-style Joker make-up with the legend ‘Socialism’ beneath it has been popping up recently on surfaces around L.A.
One poster supposedly popped up on a KFC in Georgia with the words: “Why so socialist?” (though judging by the comments below the post, it may have been a Photoshop job)
There are a slew of images on Flickr but no one seems to know the identity of the artist, which raises a lot of red flags for me. Perhaps this is not by a real street artist but some right-wing group attempting to demonstrate popular discontent with Obama’s policies? Anyway, it strikes me as a little too polished and politically confused so I’m not convinced this is a “grassroots” effort.
I’ve tried to follow every lead I’ve spotted online but to no avail yet. The most likely so far, which I found via a comment at the bottom of the Bedlam Mag piece, was BUREAUCRASH, who describe themselves as:
Bureaucrash is an international network of activists, called crashers, who share the goal of increasing individual freedom and decreasing the scope of government.
I’ve shot them an email and will let you know if I hear back. Anyone know who this is by? Or have an idea of a possible lead? If you do, please let me know…this is one mystery I’d like to solve.
One blogger at the Examiner.com also thinks this isn’t really street art but a coordinated right-wing effort:
Although reports at this time are unconfirmed, it is being reported that the release of the Obama Joker posters may be a coordinated endeavor across the US today by groups or organizations angry with the President, presumably, over issues relating to the proposed universal health care.
Btw, the image references Obama’s appearance on the cover of Time Magazine, the date of that first appearance is on the top left of the poster, October 23, 2006.
If this is indeed “street art” (which I doubt), then this poster may actually provide an answer for Paul Schmelzer (of Eyeteeth), who posted a very provocative piece on Art21 a few months back which asked “Where’s all the rightwing street art?“
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