Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mad Men Paging Sterling Cooper

As Barney Frank so aptly pointed out, trying to have a conversation with the extreme Right these days is like trying to argue with a dining room table. But at least dining room tables have decent branding. There's a great post over on culture monster that reveals the socialist and communist origins of the logo for Glenn Beck's 9/12 march against socialism (and other less specific evils):



But the absurdity doesn't stop there. As a lifelong comics aficionado, I was shocked and confused when the Right embraced this strange Joker poster:



What, exactly, do Obama and the clown prince of crime have in common? Is there a giant vat of green Joker Venom beneath DC that I don't know about?

Ok, yes, I know I'm stretching here. These are people whose minds operate in harmony with Sarah Palin's sentence structure. They probably never got past, "The Joker is bad and Obama is bad." If the poster was the mash-up portrait alone, I could live with that. But it doesn't stop with the portrait. Instead, the word SOCIALISM appears directly below The Joker, the most famous anarchist in pop culture history. We're talking about a deranged mass-murdering clown who worships chaos, here. If there's one thing he would be completely and totally against, it's socialism. Couldn't they have used an evil Robin Hood or something?



I'm not naive enough to think arguments actually have to make sense in order to convince people, but it does help to consider your branding. If these people expect to compete in the next election, they better get Don Draper on the line.

18 Comments:

Blogger McWho said...

Love the robin hood reference. Quite apt.

9/15/2009 1:45 PM  
Blogger Beetle Aurora Drake said...

Conservatives I read seemed to have a consensus that the socialism/joker poster didn't make sense as a political statement. It was the freaked out reaction it provoked which caused the right to "embrace" the image. ("The only thing missing is a noose.")

9/15/2009 3:50 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Beetle, I'm guessing that "conservatives you read" are not who I'm talking about. I pretty much respect (though often have disagreed with) most of what you have said about my posts in the past.

The people at the 9/12 march holding Joker posters, in contrast, are the most extreme segment of the Republican party. And, in my opinion, their shouting into Fox News' echo chamber has all but drowned out the voices of more reasonable conservatives.

9/15/2009 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the joker-faced obama image was created by a guy who preferred Kucinich (a Democrat) but who wanted to puncture what he saw as over-grandiose claims about obama.

no one seems to think that the word "socialism" fits with the joker image and no one seems to know who added the word.

the political left jumped to a conclusion of racism (see Kennicott's article) which helped catapult the image nationwide.

9/15/2009 4:06 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Fascinating. While I'm interested to learn about the poster's origin and rise to prominence, it doesn't really explain why it was so visible at the march last weekend.

Clearly at least some people have embraced it non-ironically. I find that hilarious.

9/15/2009 4:11 PM  
Blogger Seema Patel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/15/2009 8:18 PM  
Anonymous wipe that smile off your face said...

The political postings lately have taken some of the most ridiculous statements or memes of the far right and held them up as representative of the general sentiment of those dissatisfied with the Obama administration and its policies. Many people find grounds for disagreement that are far more thoughtful than what you see on some dumb poster. News outlets find it easier and more attention-grabbing to show you a small group of ranting idiots than thoughtful counterpoint. It's the same thing when we see a clip of some Code Pink demonstration instead of reasoned analysis by those on the left. Now you're doing a similar thing.

Read the WSJ opinion page, or some other source of coherent discussion, and tell me if you find a clearer message than what the Joker sign, or your dining room table, is giving you.

*Sorry to remain anonymous; current job muzzles my ability to speak freely and openly about politics.*

9/16/2009 6:15 AM  
Blogger McWho said...

Dan has never really hidden the fact that he is a opinion writer. And to be honest, I would guess that most of the posters here are left-leaning.

Should there be fewer openly partisan postings? Possibly. But do realize that Dan isn't N&B: he is a student that is creating discussion.

My view: There are great arguments to make against the current healthcare legislation (e.g., overall cost, laying the cost entirely on the upper tax bracket, for the most part ignoring pleas for bi-partisan creation of the bill, etc.) but the general public isn't hearing them.

Why aren't we hearing them? Because of the idiots protesting in Washington that were way more fascinating to watch than reasoned debate. Bush won re-election for the same reason...liberal extremists turned off moderates to the left in 2004. Plus Kerry was really easy to hate.

9/16/2009 7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for people airing their views; just please try to do it in an insightful way. Otherwise it's just more noise. Dan, I am glad you're posting, but this one sort of left me scratching my head.

BTW, does anyone remember when this blog was regularly decried as right-wing?

9/16/2009 7:56 AM  
Blogger McWho said...

Well when Tom was here, it was a bit more balanced. Armen has always had his views, however.

Besides, this post seemed like a bit more "entertainment" than real argument...there is no actual policy discussion here. Of course, that is likely your issue with it.

9/16/2009 8:19 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hey guys, thanks for the comments. I tried to make it clear in my post that I was only poking fun at the very extremely far Right in this country. I mean the posters I was deriding were both from the 9/12 march, which apparently consisted of between 30,000 and 50,000 Glenn Beck fans.

It would be completely ridiculous to equate their views with those of more mainstream conservatives. Both of my recent political posts have been responses to the extreme and irrational clamor coming from the Fox News sect lately, and I did not mean to imply that these people in any way represented all or even most conservatives. If I accidentally did so, I totally apologize.

I have a lot of very smart republican friends, many of whom post on this blog, and I respect the hell out of them, even when we disagree. I really really wish that more people like them were being heard right now, because I do believe the issues America is facing are quite serious, and there are probably many reasonable conservative arguments that need to be heard before we rush headlong into healthcare reform.

Unfortunately, most people aren't hearing them. Instead, a lot of "noise" is getting through and drowning out more reasonable voices. The goal of this post was to ridicule that noise, which I think both parties have an interest in. But perhaps the better response is to simply ignore it.

If that's the case, I wish the media would go first.

9/16/2009 12:11 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I'd also like to add that I don't usually get offended when we make fun of some of the more ridiculous hippies common to Berkeley.

These people are your tree-sitters, and it doesn't really help your position to get offended on their behalf.

9/16/2009 3:21 PM  
Blogger Beetle Aurora Drake said...

We can't really be heard if when we try to be heard, we're described as getting offended on behalf of others. With posts like these, you seem to insist that we should pay attention to the folks you say we shouldn't pay attention to. The hunt to find people to ridicule among "the enemy" is what keeps these people front and center. The Jon Stewart approach to politics is what makes the discussion behind the noise inaudible. (Considering my blogging career, I'm probably not one to talk)

9/17/2009 2:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a difference between the media focusing on this stuff as if it were news and Dan posting it on this blog because it's funny. I think Dan is doing exactly what we should all be doing- pointing out the ridiculous so we can laugh at it then move on to the real issues. That's the way Dan treated the tree sitters as well so clearly it's not a partisan thing. Dumb asses are usually hilarious, regardless of party affiliation.

9/17/2009 9:29 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"The hunt to find people to ridicule among "the enemy" is what keeps these people front and center."

Wrong. Fox News and the Drudge Report keep them front and center.

9/17/2009 10:36 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

In related news, I took "wipe that smile off your face"'s advice and started reading the WSJ Opinion page.

LOL!

9/17/2009 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like this one better.

9/17/2009 5:18 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Funny, I was just saying the same thing to a friend of mine! That one makes a lot more sense.

9/17/2009 6:13 PM  

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