Snooze. Phillip Kennicott at The Washington Post engages in detailed analysis and comparison of Joker posters picturing Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Barack Obama. The analysis is contrived in the extreme and worthy of the worst Kremlinologists, who extrapolated the Soviet power structure by watching the minute interactions among Soviet officials, such as where they stood at parades.

Kennicott’s analysis reaches a politically correct conclusion advertised in the title of the article, “Obama as The Joker: Racial Fear’s Ugly Face.” Sometimes an article title reflects the legitimate conclusion from the article’s substance; other times the analysis is used to justify the desired title. You be the judge:

Superimpose that idea [of the Joker as urban threat], through the Joker’s makeup, onto Obama’s face, and you have 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. It is another effort to establish what failed to jell in the debate about Obama’s association with Chicago radical William Ayers and the controversy over the racially charged sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

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.

Why not just come out and say any criticism of Obama, any attempt to portray him in a bad light, any effort to mock him must be racist? Why engage in pseudo-analysis based on unsustainable extrapolations?

Or better yet, like the Kremlinologists ultimately were forced to do, why not admit you aren’t reading tea leaves, you’re just making stuff up?

UPDATE: Ooooohhh, maybe Kennicott was right, it is a scary world out there for the base:

To dwellers in rural or gated communities, the city teems with all kinds of evildoers, from street thugs to slick lawyers and bankers. Obama as Heath Ledger’s philosopher-Joker represents all the things the GOP base fears about the big city — violence plus ability to tap into limitless resources plus urbane (and brainy) sophistication used in the service of evil. It’s a close relative of the old-school racialist notion that cities are cesspools from which rich rootless-cosmopolitan banker/socialist Jews sic poor, oversexed, violent blacks on God-fearing white people who have simple, basic lives and values.

Related Posts:
The Big Smear
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“Race” As Political Weapon

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