The clown prince of agitprop is revealed 

The Joke's on You

Here's the thing with The Dark Knight: It's up to Batman's cowl in stupid. And I'm a big fan. It's hands down, the best comic book flick ever. Better than X2, Spider-Man 2, and Superman. There is no competition.

But like I said, it's got a serious case of the sillies.

One, why the hell does Batman blow up everything? Cars, trucks, parking garages, and sliding glass doors — if the Batmobile still has a few rounds of ammo left and an RPG or two, then ole Brucie Poo is going to give it an extreme makeover.

Two, that whole ballistics test that helps Batman prevent the assassination of the mayor of Gotham City is a gigantic waste of time. So, you're going to spend like a day or so piecing together bullet fragments in order to find an address overlooking the street where the mayor will speak instead of going down there and making sure the surrounding area is free of bad guys? With all that time spent in the lab conducting ballistics tests, Batman could have rid an entire city block of crime — from would-be assassins down to all the old guys playing craps.

Three, Commissioner Gordon claims that Two-Face is responsible for killing five people, two of them cops. To this day, I still can't figure out who the hell Gordon is talking about — um, there was the corrupt older cop in the bar that Harvey killed, but the corrupt younger cop, well, he let her live, so who is the second cop? Many a night, I've woken up in a sweat, consumed by this very question. I am not joking.

Four, when did Batman become Batdog? Stop with the growling. Nobody talks like that. Not even Christian Bale when he's ripping into a bumbling lighting guy who's stepped into the actor's line of sight.

Five, why the hell am I writing about a movie that came out a year ago? It's a piece of pop culture's past. It's over, done.

Which is why I'm having a hard time figuring out why this Obama Joker story just won't go away.

Yes, somebody decided to get all Shepard Fairey-like and put up Obama Joker posters on overpasses, telephone polls, and the like.

Yes, the poster features a ghastly white-faced, green-haired Obama, sporting black-ringed eyes and a smeared-lipstick smile.

Yes, the word "socialism" is right there underneath the image itself.

But why all the hubbub, bub? The Obama Joker poster is the political equivalent of the Calvin praying sticker — the umpteenth iteration of an already tired meme. There is no dignity in designing such an image, and even less in discussing it.

But discuss folks did. From Drudge to CNN, the Obama Joker poster was all the rage.

Was it in poor taste, reporters asked? (Yes. See above reference to Calvin praying and Mr. Fairey's Hope poster.)

Was it unpatriotic? (No. Mocking the president is not only a right, but a freaking duty. Get to it.)

Was it racist? (No. A minstrel may be a clown, but a clown is not a minstrel. White face is not equal to black face.)

And just who was responsible for it? (Read on.)

This week we finally learned the identity of the man behind the original Obama Joker image — Firas Alkhateeb, a University of Illinois student who was toying around with Photoshop one day and decided to give a picture of the president a Heath Ledger makeover.

While Alkhateeb is not an Obama supporter — he's not a fan of the president's domestic policy or the cult of personality around him — the Illinois student is by no means a political agitator. In fact, he's completely befuddled that someone took his Photoshop doodle and turned it into a piece of political propaganda. Or as he told the L.A. Times, "To accuse [Obama] of being a socialist is really ... immature."

He added, "First of all, who said being a socialist is evil?"

Good one, Alkhateeb. Best joke I've heard in awhile.


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