If you’ve been on familiar terms with the internet at all over these past few weeks, you’ve undoubtedly seen that “Obama as The Joker” poster popping up here and there, complete with “socialism” written underneath. They’ve been appearing nearly everywhere, apparently, in both lefty and righty parts of the country (first spotted, if memory serves, in Los Angeles). We still struggle to understand what exactly it means and, judging from the type selection in particular, had assumed it was a lazy piece that roughly translated as “If The Joker is bad, then Obama as The Joker must also be bad. Also, socialism is bad and The Joker would like that.” In short: it’s pretty weak. But the real mystery was who was behind the movement and who designed them. Now it’s come out more widely, due to an arrest in Florida, that the mastermind is blogger and radio show host Alex Jones, who had launched a contest with a $1000 prize for whoever can put the most of these posters up in their part of the world (because, we guess, there’s nothing better than getting a whole lot of something up, no matter if it makes any sense or not). Along with the contest, there is a piece on Jones’ site explaining the poster, which, between the incoherent, out-of-touch-from-reality babble, boils down to “Anyone who doesn’t get it has clearly already been brainwashed” which begs the question of what the purpose is then in displaying lots of them, if its very design is only meant to speak to the already-aware and no one else. So what can we draw from this? Well, for one now we know all know who not to hire as a designer for any message we want clearly or intelligently communicated.
Update: We had one name wrong in the post above. Alex Jones, it turns out, was the figure who brought the poster into wider circulation and most likely designed the layout. The original creator of the image itself was Firas Alkhateeb, a student in Illinois who, while not a supporter of Obama’s, created the image more as a joke. He has also said, “It really doesn’t make any sense to me at all,” he said about the addition of the “socialism” text underneath: “To accuse him of being a socialist is really…immature. First of all, who said being a socialist is evil?”