The Obama Joker Poster

Jim Garaghty has a critique, with which I agree:

I actually don’t like the Obama-Joker poster, for several reasons. For starters, this image is too “hot” — i.e., the Joker was a sadist and a psychopath, and Obama is neither. Obama’s the opposite of Heath Ledger’s portrayal; the Joker was a nihilist and Obama is a utopian idealist.

There’s something particularly wrongheaded about using a character who says his purpose is to “show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are” to symbolize a politician in love with centralized planning.

As we watch the President’s poll numbers drop, I feel like a lot of damaging memes are starting to stick to Obama — used car salesman, not stupid but doesn’t know issues in depth (tonsil profiteering!), bad first instincts, a wimp on foreign affairs, melting before our eyes without Bush or McCain to run against… The “Joker” image doesn’t fit any of those, and I think is too easily used as fodder for distractions.

I think that the metaphor of Bush as Dark Knight and Islamism as the nihilist joker is interesting, but this poster is probably counterproductive, because while it may make some feel good, it isn’t grounded in a valid analogy. On the other hand:

William Ayers seemed, at one point in his life, intrigued at the thought of “watching the world burn.”

But he was “just a guy in Obama’s neighborhood” (with whom he helped propagandize schoolchildren with the Annenberg funds), so that’s all right.

[Update on Thursday morning]

Frank J. has his own take:

First off, it’s worth looking at whether the poster is racist. Liberals seem pretty certain it is. An LA Weekly blogger commented that “the only thing missing is a noose.” Now, you might be scratching your head and saying that the only people who would call this racist are brain-dead liberals who shriek “racism!” at every criticism about Obama as an alternative to thinking and only cause more problems by confusing the issue of racism and should thus be chased out of society and forced to live in the sewers, only emerging at night to feed on garbage and bugs.

And while that’s quite fair and probably true, we should still give the possibility of racism a fair hearing. Don’t you remember the long, racist history of black people being compared to the Joker? Of course not, because I just made that up — but it could be true in some alternate universe. Also, the image involves white makeup on a black person. White on black — that has to be racist somehow. I’ll bet makeup places won’t even sell white pancake makeup to black people. They’d be like “No! Get out of here, black person! We won’t sell that to you! That’s racist!”

Beyond the racism in the image that’s quite obvious to crazy people, the other question is whether there are any real substantive comparisons between Obama and the Joker. On the surface, they don’t seem at all alike. The Joker is psychotic, and I’ve heard Obama called a lot of things — arrogant, incompetent, deceitful, a Communist — but not psychotic. Obama doesn’t seem like he’s out to kill anyone — not even terrorists — and only leaves the option of killing people on the table to help make ends meet in his health care plan.

Especially terrorists.

Though he doesn’t seem averse to persuading Granny that it’s time to go.

And then there’s comment number two:

The similarities also include the circumstances that brought each to power. As Alfred said “and in their desperation, they turned to a man they fully didn’t understand.”

And the election of Obama is a joke, a bad one on us.

It’s sure not seeming all that funny to me.

Back To California

I’m heading back to LA tonight, for the next week and a half. Not sure how much blogging will be happening.

[Evening update, about 9:40 CDT]

Well, I’m stuck at DFW, with my LA flight delayed until 11 PM local, which gets me into LA about midnight, and probably to my room over an hour later. Should have taken the non-stop from Miami.

[Bleary Wednesday morning update from the left coast]

OK, I was wrong. It wasn’t delayed until 11 pm — it didn’t rise the wheels until 12:30 AM (1:30 AM my body time on a day after I’d gotten up at 5 AM). We got into LAX about 2 AM Pacific (24 hours after I had first arisen). National had only two cars, both vans. The first one (a Kia Sedona) started beeping at me, and lighted an indicator saying that both front doors were ajar (no, it’s not a jar, it’s a door…) and the interior light came on and wouldn’t go off. This behavior continued, so I returned the car, to little rejoicing, and got the other one, a Dodge of some variety. I didn’t get to bed until after 3 AM. It’s now almost 10 AM, and I’m at work.

Hopefully, I’ll get caught up a little tonight.

Sorry, Mark

But no matter how you want to idiotically mischaracterize it, “Flexible Path” is not “Look But Don’t Touch.” It is a plan to allow us to go affordably and sustainably wherever we (and our inheritors) wish in the (or at least the inner) solar system, including planetary surfaces, if we can raise the money and motivation for the additional hardware necessary to do so. And we’ll certainly be able to touch Phobos, Deimos, and near-earth objects, whether to move or mine them.

[Wednesday morning update]

If you follow the above link, you’ll see that Mark continues to fantasize that I have a “chain,” and that I “leap the length” of it. He should really broaden the range of his clichés, not to mention finding some that have some basis in objective reality. It’s of a part with his imaginary friends in the “Internet Rocketeer Club.”

Sarah Palin

…as James Tiberious Kirk:

For all his talk of being different, representing “hope,” and bringing “change” Obama has turned out to be quite the bore. He is the consummate insider, a recycler of old ideas and failed policies. People wanted to beam up to the starship and explore strange new worlds. We wanted to boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before. Obama is in the wrong franchise. He and crazy Doc Brown, I mean Joe Biden, gassed up the DeLorean and took us back in time. To 1976.

Palin passed the Kobayashi Maru. She is qualified to command the ship. She has all the qualities we want in a captain; valor, principals, vision and most of all, the ability to change the rules.

We’ll see if she’s changed them to her advantage.

The Great Moon Debate

It’s started over at The Economist. It seems pretty clear that neither debater had an opportunity to see their protagonist’s input. Gold’s criticism is not of opposition to going to the moon per se, but against NASA’s ability to do it effectively, particularly with its chosen architecture. Gregg’s position (and pretty much standard boilerplate from his old Space Studies Institute days) is that the moon is important as a destination, but he is basically silent on how to get there, or even whether or not NASA should do it, or someone else.

At least for this round, they are basically talking past each other. Tomorrow should be more interesting, since they will both be able to respond to what the other said today. As I predicted previously, I suspect that they will be more in agreement than the people who set up the “debate” expect.

Why Most Journalists Are Democrats

A view from the Soviet socialist trenches.

[Update a few minutes later]

This seems related: Obama’s quest into the magic world of anti-American mythology:

There is a reason why snobby elites on the Upper East Side of Manhattan generously donate to leftist causes and support leftist politicians. Snobs and radicals often act in accord because they are not opposites, as some believe, but rather spiritual cousins — equally despising “the bourgeois,” sharing a low view of humanity as herd animals, and sorting people not on their individual merits but by color, income, occupation, ethnicity, gender, and any other characteristic except the content of their minds. Such beliefs have often served as a veiled excuse for tyranny.

This thinking is the direct opposite of the ideal of individual liberty, on which the United States was founded and which defines this country’s exceptionalism. As such, elitist and leftist beliefs are downright un-American — a term that today has become a fighting word, used broadly by both right and left, sometimes with a completely opposite meaning. Not to be outdone, snobs and radicals have also evolved a natural loathing for American “bourgeois” principles.

But the view of America as the command center of the international capitalist conspiracy is definitely not a product of natural evolution, but rather a foreign implant going back to the days of the Cold War.

…Where’s the “imperialist propaganda” when you need it? The leftist propaganda encountered so little resistance in the land of the alleged “capitalist conspiracy” that an airbrushed version of history has almost universally replaced the truth in the media, education, and entertainment. The intended result is the widespread notion of America’s guilt. One doesn’t even need to be a leftist anymore to believe in this country’s image as a violent empire controlled by greedy capitalist oligarchies that dictate its policies.

Press, academia and the education establishment are mediocre when it comes to imparting reality and promoting critical thinking, but superlative when it comes to collectivist propagandizing.

Feeling Old

The morning anchor (a twenty-something, by the looks and behavior) on Fox 29 in Palm Beach was reporting on a Star Wars story, and pronounced C3PO “See Three Poh.” She was ribbed by her co-anchor, and defended herself by saying, “I’ve never seen the movie.”

I was too old to be influenced by Star Wars (in my early twenties when it came out) — 2001, a real SF movie, was my cultural touchstone, but this is the first time I’ve run into an adult that is too young.

It’s Been Forty Years

Time to finally abandon the Apollo paradigm. It was a success in terms of winning the brief “space race,” but when it came to opening up space, it was an utter failure, and I agree with Paul — Mars is a planet too far right now, and such a mission would result in another false start, even if successful. We need to focus on developing the infrastructure needed to affordably go beyond earth orbit, regardless of ultimate destination. Of the options being considered by the Augustine panel, “Flexible path” offers the most promise in that regard.

A Good Point On Reading The Bill

One of Mark Steyn’s readers points out that:

Congress passed the onerous Sarbanes-Oxley* on the premise there needed to be a new law requiring CEOs to read their financial statements and personally face legal penalties in case there are errors. Maybe Congress would be a bit more cautious if they faced jail time when their 10-year budgets didn’t pan out.

Of course, Congress is notorious for passing bills that hold others to higher standards than themselves, and that don’t apply to themselves (as the “health-care” atrocity surely won’t — they’ll continue to get their own gold-plated plan). In a sane world, SOX would be repealed (that would have a bigger stimulus effect than anything that the people in Washington have done to date), but the larger point is that this practice of holding themselves above the laws that they pass themselves was one of the things that drove the 1994 Republican revolution. In fact, fixing that was one of the ten points of the Contract With America. Time to start drafting up a new one, I think.

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