Thursday, August 20, 2009

Please don't miss the many levels of irony

This poster is now all over America...and the Web. But who's responsible for it? The absolute definition of irony coming up below...

Was it a "GOP Jew"? An angry, gun-toting, radical right winger?

No and no. Haaretz provides the answer (which in itself is also ironic...)
A Palestinian-American has been revealed as the creator of the "socialist joker" image, a doctored poster of President Barack Obama found on highways and in cities across the United States this summer.

Many initially took the portrait - featuring the president with the carved-in smile of Heath Ledgers's character in the Dark Knight - to be the work of a conservative opposed to Obama's liberal ways.

But it turns out that Firas Alkhateeb, 20, is actually a liberal himself from Obama's hometown of Chicago, who would have preferred to see Dennis Kucinich elected.

Alkhateeb told the Los Angeles Times - which unmasked his identity - that the poster had been meant more as a joke than as a political statement. The original draft of the image was meant to satirize, or in this case "jokerize," Obama's picture on the October cover of Time Magazine.

Regardless of his intentions, the iconic image has turned into a political statement. An Obama critic downloaded Alkhateeb's image off of the photo Web site Flickr, printed it out as a poster, and tacked on the word "socialism" before pasting it up across Los Angeles.

The image has sparked debate among Americans of whether its message is racist, if it is related to the ongoing conversation of reforming health care, and of just how liberal the new U.S. president may be.

But for Alkhateeb, none of this seems to matter. "After Obama was elected, you had all of these people who basically saw him as the second coming of Christ," he told the Los Angeles Times. "From my perspective, there wasn't much substance to him.
Reminder: "The Joker [poster] has been called 'mean-spirited and dangerous' by the U.S. President's supporters." (source)

Dangerous...dangerous...oh, it was made by a liberal Palestinian American? I guess it can't be that bad...

[Hattip: JoeSettler]

Additional Update for the google-challenged:

For the benefit of those criticizing your chosen source regarding the reaction of the American left to the Obama/Joker poster, here are some more links (the "well read" commenter is looking dumber by he minute)

· Washington Post:
Obama as The Joker: Racial Fear's Ugly Face: 'Political' Poster Turns On Violent Symbolism
"[The poster is] subtly coded, highly effective racial and political argument. Forget socialism, this poster is another attempt to accomplish an association between Obama and the unpredictable, seeming danger of urban life.... Obama, like the Joker and like the racial stereotype of the black man, carries within him an unknowable, volatile and dangerous marker of urban violence, which could erupt at any time. The charge of socialism is secondary to the basic message that Obama can't be trusted, not because he is a politician, but because he's black."

· Daily Kos:
This Pic Will Make You Sick
"There are two ways to view this image. (1) a reference to the 'Joker' in the Batman movie, and (2) as Obama in whiteface as a minstrel show clown. This is dogwhistle racism.... These are Scary Sick People who must not be allowed to 'win'.

· Huffington Post:
Obama as Joker? Dead Heath Ledger? Vampire? ...Or Just Wingnut's Enigma?
"As part of the hate offensive, wingnut blogs… are trying to build buzz around this Obama poster.... [In] this chilling Obama as Joker... 'the only thing missing is a noose'.... Besides the allusion to the President as a psychopath and more insidiously, a man behind a mask, does the chalk exploit race by suggesting the man is playing at being white?"

hat-tip: Lurker.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Anonymous said...

you just ruined a perfectly good a liberal blood libel. there must be a vast right wing conspiracy

Anonymous said...

I know this is a silly question, and I realize that the U.S. is Israel's greatest ally and a large trading partner, but why are you so obsessed with Barak Obama and the U.S.? Don't you have anything else to write about? How many enties can you waste on this topic?
I realize that this "joker" pic seems big to you, but to be honest, here in the U.S. it's just one more satire, one actually seen by very few people. I read a lot of the "liberal press" and some conservative stuff too, and I live in New York, and this is the first time I'm seeing it.
Just for the record, it's not exactly a new idea. New York Magazine had a cover picture of Bernie Madoff with the joker makeup months ago.
And if Haaretz is your guide for newsworthiness, they ran a piece this week about this crackpot Taitz woman and the "birther" movement, where Israelis are taking her seriously. Ha!
Move on, my friend. Write about something you know about. We get it, you hate our President. Now write about a topic on which you have some sort of unique or interesting perspective. It's boring and a tad annoying at this point.
Now, let the bile begin....

Anonymous said...

I love your source for the fact that Obama supporters are outraged. THE WORLD NEWS!!!!!!
You are killing me, here.
If you are an angry Israeli from the settlements, then fine, present yourself as such. But if you have some desire to be regarded as some semblance of a journalist, then don't quote the journalistic equivalent of The National Enquirer as your news source.
OOOh, I hear Barak Obama didn't invite the head of the WZO to a meeting of Jewish leaders. It's true, I read it in People Magazine.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Dear Anonymous,

Haaretz quoted the LA Times which found the story. I guess you consider that a lunatic fringe paper as well -- but a simple google search for this story revealed over 1.5 million pages, so I guess maybe you should get out more often.

Sky News reported it, as well as the Wall Street Journal blogs...and dozens others.

Since these news sources are obviously way out of your league and you think this post is attacking Obama I suggest you chill out.

Its more about liberal intolerance that you seem to have a fine time showing.

Anonymous said...

I 'm fine with conservative points of view. Heck, I even have 1 or 2 friends that are conservatives (oh, he's not? oh, then maybe I don't). I read lots of con blogs and rarely have a comment to make. The problem is not that you don't like our President; it's how you don't.
1. Yes, there's a lot of internet chatter about this poster. But you stated, "the poster is all over America." Actually, no. It's all over the internet, but actually, if you read the articles that you quoted, it was all over Los Angeles and a bit in Atlanta. It is not all over America. I have yet to see it anywhere in my area, and I travel for business and have again not seen it once (and I actually LIVE in the country where Obama is President).
2. I can't help but notice that 4 of your last 7 posts are about B.O. Give it a rest. Report on Israel a little. it'll make you feel better.
3. The paper you quoted about Obama's supporters being upset? Its 2 lead stories are:
A. Penelope Cruz pregnancy rumors
B. Lily shows off her see through vest and new man at Ashes. Yes, I also read Playboy for the articles, but go with your buddies at the Wall Street Journal if you must.
I'm just sayin'. Let it go, Dude. He's President. Go live in Israel and be well. Being an expat is just that. It's time to let go.
Maybe I can keep an Obama watch on your blog and see how often you site him.
Go in peace.

JoeSettler said...

But the Big O makes for such entertaining content. The flip-flops, the waffles, His obsession with settlements, His obsession with Jewish Jerusalem, His love affair with 3rd world petty tyrants and dictators, His friendship with terrorists. Counting His verbal "hiccups" and retractions makes a great drinking game. Waiting for His teleprompter to break during a speak can keep you at the edge of your seats.

And it gets the liberals so upset that their icon is such a joke.

I'd be happy to ignore Obama - if only Obama would ignore us.

Alpha3958 said...

I think that Israelis have the right to be concerned about Barack Obama, given that Obama's policies will have a direct impact on their lives. I would be more interested to know why Barack Obama is so obsessed with Israel.

avi said...

I'd be happy to ignore Obama - if only Obama would ignore us.

Well said.

Anonymous said...

The irony is great. However, the truth is that the POSTER wasn't created by an American Paletstinian. Only the initial image was.

The whole poster with the term socialism on it, is what gets people in an uproar.

Neshama said...

Go, Jameel, Go Get Em!!!
Have you seen this one:
O's response to the backlash he's receiving. You gotta see the pic on
His eyes look glossy and all weeded up!
US President Barack Obama launched a mocking counter-attack Thursday at pundits who believe the euphoric early promise of his presidency is evaporating amid bitter political warfare.

Anonymous said...

Get a day job, folks. Obama is not obsessed with Israel. Israel is obsessed with Obama. The number of times he has given speeches about Israel is relatively small. But the Israeli press' (and bloggers') coverage of this president is overwhelming.
True, there was an article in Haaretz about Israel's connection to Michael Jackson's death, so perhaps it is an Israeli obsession with all things American.
I know, though, that if I want to know how my President is doing politically, both on economic and national issues (as well as any protest posters that come up), I can always tune in to this blog.

JoeSettler said...

The Obama-Israel Checklist for last week.

Aug. 21 Ramadan Kareeem speech. Obama mentions Israel.

Aug. 20 White House Press Briefing. Gibbs said that Obama just spoke about Israel with Jordan.

Aug. 19 White House Blog. Obama's blog talks about Israel and Obama's talking about Israel.

Aug. 18 Obama spoke with Mubarak about... Israel.

Aug. 17 No mention of Israel!
No Check


In 4 out of 5 workdays last week, Obama spoke about Israel.

Only Healthcare was mentioned (a lot) more.

That's not obsessed?

Search the Muqata


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