Programmed Cell Death

Paul Ryan - Programmed Cell Death

who wept at the romance of the streets with their
pushcarts full of onions and bad music,
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the
bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in their lofts,
who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned
with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded
by orange crates of theology,
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty
incantations which in the yellow morning were
stanzas of gibberish

Baron Samedi

obama-jokerSomebody seriously fucked this one up.

They made an image purportedly making President Obama look like the Joker. Ooooh!

And then, deciding that “psychopath” just wasn’t going quite far enough, the artist added the word “socialism.” (In Arial – nice touch).

Just going with the internal logic here, how exactly does the Joker represent things like Medicare or the Post Office? Just going with the premise for a second, how the hell does an irrational love of toll roads relate to a disavowal of comic book mass murder?

Whatever. Who the fuck even knows what they’re talking about anymore.

So the poster spreads. Debate ensues! “omg is racist??”

Seriously? Is the abject republican racism even slightly in question?


Scary cartoon villain – check. Racialized fear mongering picked up by corporate media – indeed. Health care associated with psychopaths and witch doctors. Alrighty then.

But here’s where they fucked up. They didn’t make Obama look like the Joker – not to put too fine a point on it, but Heath Ledger is a dead white guy. They made Obama look like Baron Samedi.


Yes indeed, another nice racial stereotype there. But Baron Samedi is not only master of the dead, he is also the giver of life who can cure any any disease. He can keep anyone alive simply by refusing to dig their graves.

Maybe its a clever ploy to associate Obama with voodoo curses and black magic — it would be interesting if Republican propagandists actually were that clever. More likely they’ve just stumbled into an interesting semiotic mess, accidentally drawing a Veve.

After just a few months, the effort of keeping their racist stereotypes straight is already tripping over itself. And seven more years is a long time to be on the wrong side of the Baron…