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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10387/hope-or-socialism/

Hope .. or Socialism?

August 2, 2009 by

{ 32 comments }

Brent August 2, 2009 at 10:45 pm

“Why so serious?”

Magnus August 2, 2009 at 10:57 pm

I don’t know why exactly, but this imagery (while entertaining and catchy) has a kind of corporate-synthetic-propagandistic feel. It seems like something that was designed in a PR firm somewhere. I could be wrong, but it feels like Astroturf.

Greg Ransom August 2, 2009 at 11:08 pm

“it feels like Astroturf”

I don’t think David Axelrod had anything to do with it …

Jean August 2, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Looks like a pretty accurate portrait to me.

Dewaine August 2, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Copyright infringement of the Joker character. $800,000 fine per poster.

Greg Ransom August 2, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Here’s what I’d suggest.

Download. Print. Post.

Dewaine August 2, 2009 at 11:52 pm

I meant, $800,000 in damages to the studio per poster. No fines, and no state or federal penalties, and no politicians are motivated in any way to infringe on the free speech of those distributing said Joker posters.

Todd August 3, 2009 at 6:27 am

This is an insult to the Joker. President Obama is a lot more evil.

Joe O. August 3, 2009 at 7:07 am

I think people are putting a lot of hope in this form of socialism but as we all know, socialism typically fails. What really struck me about those photos wasn’t necessarily the face paint on Obama’s face although I can grasp the meaning behind it. What struck me was the number of photos put up on that pole. They remind me of political photos I used to see in several European countries. People in those countries would always place several duplicate posters right next to each other in just the same way.

dewind August 3, 2009 at 7:21 am

Funny, even if useless. I want to see Ron Paul done up like Batman now.

Al August 3, 2009 at 9:42 am

“Why so socialist?”

Magnus August 3, 2009 at 10:32 am

I don’t think David Axelrod had anything to do with it …

He’s not the only one who knows how to run an Astroturf campaign.

Greg Ransom August 3, 2009 at 11:58 am

Every Astroturf campaign in politics I’ve ever seen was run by leftists.

Maybe some some special interest lobbyists do this stuff as well.

Conservatives and libertarians just have no talent and little inclination for such stuff. The step from Alinsky to Astroturf is an extremely short one — hence Axelrod/Obama.

The steps from Burke or Friedman to Astroturf are enormous.

And lets look at the real world.

The idea of McCain running an “Astroturf” campaign is laughable. The guy could hardly run a traditional campaign.

Leftist have been working on such tactics for generations.

Conservatives and libertarians? Not so much.

Robert Brager August 3, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Maybe I’m flattering myself here, but I’d like to think that I’m young, hip, and with it. But I am seriously in the dark here in regards to this “astroturf” reference.

Greg Ransom August 3, 2009 at 1:38 pm

“Astroturf” = fake ‘bottom up’ and ‘spontaneous’ viral messaging produced and planted by a professional PR guy. Axelrod is famous for it.

E.g. you plant a political talking point on a series of blogs and in blog comments sections using anonymous screen names — a “meme” that then makes its way into the mainstream press, reported as the opinion of the “grass roots”, when it’s the talking point of a PR professional.

Magnus August 3, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Astroturf is the simulation of spontaneous political efforts. Synthetic public outrage, promulgated by PR firms, not real people, pretending to be “grass-roots.”

Fake grass.

I completely agree that the Left has been, far and away, the leader when it comes not only to statist propaganda in general, but Astroturfing in particular. This stuff goes back a couple of centuries.

McCain? Ha! No. No one in his organization was capable of anything remotely sophisticated.

I’m not saying I know for sure. It just strikes me that “Socialism” isn’t a word with a lot of street cred. I doubt that anyone who would have spontaneously made these posters on his home computer would use it, except maybe in an ironic way. It just doesn’t seem to match with the kind of people who populate the underground poster-plasterer subculture and use Joker imagery to make their points.

Greg Ransom August 3, 2009 at 1:52 pm

The “tea party” rallies have all sorts of posters with the word “socialism” on them.

10,000 people bought Hayek’s _The Road to Serfdom_ in just the last 6 months. Hundreds of thousands have purchased _Atlas Shrugged_.

And do a google image search for Obama and “joker”. There are all sorts of images, coming from folks who seem obviously unconnected — this doesn’t look anything like systematic Axelrod “astroturf” material.

So “socialism” + obama + “joker” isn’t any surprise. These memes are already out there.

Robert Brager August 3, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Okay. Yeah. Well, it goes without saying that the libertarian/classical liberal camp lacks the requisite “ear” of the media to pull off that kind of campaign. Besides, memes become transparent and ridiculous once they enter the popular lexicon, to speak nothing of how much more annoying they get with each repetition. I was prepared to shoot people last year if they so much as said “main” and “street” in the same sentence, much less assembled together.

But hand-billing, art installations, documentary work, and other modes of expression aren’t outside of our ability or means. I’ve long been of the opinion that we have to get gritty, rough, and expansive in our thinking regarding our approach to propaganda.

Magnus August 3, 2009 at 2:00 pm

The tea party people were nerds. I’m as anti-government as anyone can possibly be, so I was generally sympathetic to the feelings behind the cause, but the professional propagandists we call “the media” tore them apart, and it was easy for them to do so. The tea party organizers were out of their weight class.

All I am saying is that these posters feel like Astroturf to me. But I’m not making a case. I fully acknowledge that it’s just a hunch.

Russ August 3, 2009 at 2:57 pm

I’m just glad that people are actually using the word “socialist” with regard to people like Obama, Pelosi, Reed, Frank, et al. People like these have hidden under the term “liberal” for far too long. Getting people to “call a spade a spade” (no racist slur intended here) is the first step in educating people. The next step is to get people to “call a spade a bloody shovel”; i.e. to call socialists criminals. So I don’t really care if this poster campaign is “astroturf” or not. It still serves a purpose.

Chris August 3, 2009 at 3:05 pm

The poster seems to have a date in the upper left corner and a domain name in the upper right. Any word on what the domain name is, or even if there is a a higher-res image available?

Greg ransom August 3, 2009 at 3:12 pm

This is A TIME magazine cover, hence date etc.

anon August 3, 2009 at 3:36 pm

The real joker would free us from the shackles of morality and existential restriction:P

Ryan August 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm

LOL .. That’s great..

Greg ransom August 3, 2009 at 4:05 pm

The original was done by an engineering student in chicago, then posted on line.

Others then modified it. This is sort of the definition of bottom up up viral, ie NOT AstroTurf.

Dewaine August 3, 2009 at 7:57 pm

The problem with this is it is not clear which ideology is being promoted. The Joker was an appealing villain, as far as villains go; this may well be a terrorist threat to capitalists.

It looks like it would appeal more to socialists who call themselves anarchists.

Russ August 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Dewaine wrote:

“The Joker was an appealing villain, as far as villains go”

I don’t know about appealing. Ledger did a great job of making him really creepy, of course, but I certainly wouldn’t want to “have a few beers” with the Joker (or Obama, for that matter).

“It looks like it would appeal more to socialists who call themselves anarchists.”

Maybe that’s part of the point. Obama appeals to the same people who find the Joker appealing; people who “just want to watch the world burn”, in the words of Alfred the Butler.

Magnus August 4, 2009 at 11:42 am

The original was done by an engineering student in chicago, then posted on line.

Others then modified it. This is sort of the definition of bottom up up viral, ie NOT AstroTurf.

No, that’s not the definition.

This poster could easily have been recycled from someone else’s work. The person who put the posters up has not been identified. It’s the posters that went viral, not the Joker photoshop, which was apparently posted on Flickr in January.

Why in LA? Why not in Oklahoma or Atlanta or Dallas? LA has lots of media types running around.

Why hasn’t the poster-plasterer come forward? It’s the viral media coup of the season! If it were some college kid with a Fark account, he’d have come forward. He’d be a guest on Fox News Channel.

Something about this poster thing smells. Again, it’s all just a hunch, but I have some experience in this sort of thing. It’s gotten traction, but it has the fingerprints of a media pro on it.

LadyAttis August 4, 2009 at 1:20 pm
Greg Ransom August 5, 2009 at 12:19 am

Apparently, LadyAttis, you like to link to malicious web sites.

Greg Ransom August 5, 2009 at 12:22 am

LadyAttis’s link come up as a site hosting malicious attack software, according to my server.

Vanmind August 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm

What else would you expect, Greg? That site might be censored completely in places like Australia.

Ask yourself who gave the “tip” that led to the site being (mis)labeled as an “attack” site. Can you say government operative? There you go.

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