I was not a fan of President Bush. His economic policy was a sordid mix of wasteful spending and corrupt intervention, and I am very glad that I can say that he never received my vote. But even if Bush was Reagan, I would not have lost any sleep if opponents had lampooned him using art. So it is with some detachment that I comment on the current controversy about the “Joker” poster of President Obama that is appearing in Los Angeles.
According to some overly-sensitive souls, this satirical poster is racist. Indeed, a blogger in L.A. said “The only thing missing is a noose.” Yet if the poster is racist, then what is the ruling on this similar image of Bush? Is it also a racist caricature?
Looking at an image of the “real” Joker, played by Heath Ledger, it seems overwhelming obvious that both the anti-Obama and anti-Bush satirists want to lampoon their targets by giving them a bad-guy look. To then specifically impute racist motives to the anti-Obama satirist is a huge leap. This does not mean that this mystery person (still unidentified) is not a racist, to be sure, but it is absurd to make that accusation with zero supporting evidence.