There is this something that has been knocking around in my head these last few weeks. It’s a question, really, of dissent. Or, better said, it is a series of questions regarding dissent. What is dissent? And, are we lacking in it? How much is enough? Is there such a thing at too much?
Is it the belief that Barack Obama is the Great Satan? That his coming is the end of us all, of all we know and all we’ve ever stood for? Is that dissent?
No, that would be crazy talk. See image to the left for some of that action.
If not Satan, well, how about Socialist? If the shoe, fits, right? The Devil or the Joker. Or, both. Go for it. Is labeling Obama as the Joker dissent because the Joker is, after all, a comic book villain? Is President Obama a comic book president?
How about Obama with a crown of thorns, drinking champagne with a unicorn, and a couple of angles flying around overhead? Where some see a hallmark card in the making, I see a full back piece that promises to be more regrettable than any tramp stamp on the planet.
I find the concept of evil in both Satan and the Joker to be equal. And, the presentation of their character in the great play of life as equally fictitious. Good v. Evil. Up as compared to down. Left as the opposite of Right. Darkness as the absence of Light. Batman’s arch nemesis.
There is, after all, no Joker. He exist only in the printed pages comic books and, what would have once been mere celluloid film stock, but is now a series zeros and ones in our digital age. The Satan and The Joker. They are, truly, an embodiment of that requisite opposite to the Great Hero. For you cannot have the Good Story without the Bad Guy. What else would mankind triumph against, if not for evil incarnate? For our cause to be right and just, it follows that Obama’s must be something else entirely. His must be unjust. His must be wrong.
And, yes, Satan acts in opposition to God’s great design. I can say that as an Atheist because, although I may not believe in the existence of a Supreme Being (or his or her requisite personality), I can see the need for both yin and yang for the story to work in balance. He is the fallen angel who forever angles to prove his point – man is fallible. And, he is right in that regard. Man is, most certainly, fallible.
Back to art; does it imitate life? Or does life imitate art? What if life is art? Does it follow that art is therefore life? Oh, the wonders of a Sunday morning free of the encumbrances of case briefing.
And just whom do I think I’m kidding – I’ve got miles to go before I sleep. My casebook weighs a ton. The river keeps flowing. Well, you get the idea.
I read an article a while back, and it is basically where this trainwreck of a thought process got started out the station. It is The Artist Formerly Known as Dissident, and it was in the link dump at some point. I remember first coming across it back when the Barak as the Joker concept was making a splash.
Personally, I think it’s great. Baroker. Jarack. Social-cali-fragilistic-expi-alido-cious and then some. We need more of the same. Stir the pot. Knock ’em around. Vote. Participate. Talk about it. Yell about it. Yell it from the roof tops.
Even if your “yelling” is really nothing more than the gentle hiss of an aerosol can. just do something. Apathy is death.
Dissent is a requirement in our system if representational democracy. I shall refrain from missattributing a quote to Thomas Jefferson here, I think it was actually Howard Zinn. No matter, point is well made regardless of whom it originated from; “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”
From the article:
[I]it feels to me, as it did during the campaign, that the art community is not meeting its duty of always questioning those in power. And I say duty because the art community, as a counterpart of the press, has been given special rights written into the Bill of Rights, known broadly as freedom of the press, for the explicit purpose of keeping power in check. Id.
What is an “artist”? Are we artists? We, in this instance, being the sorted lot that posts our drivel here on Drunkcyclist. We do create something, do we not? What do we owe in the way of dissent?
I’ve been challenged as “taking it easy” on old Barry O. Bama. Well, that may be true to a point. I must say, aside from the whole “Satan” thing, he ain’t nothing like Bush/Cheney on any measure of evil. I don’t care what metric you apply. But, neither is he perfect. No, no, I won’t be calling him the Black Jesus on these pages. (Well, maybe in jest. It’s just too funny. Born in a Kenyan manger? He can walk on water? I’m dying over here! I digress… again)
I’ll leave such admiration to others, however misguided it may be. Back to the article:
It’s time for the art community to return to its historical role in political affairs, which means speaking to power, not on behalf of it. Which leads me to the second case where art enters politics on a mass scale. The power of art, in combination with the suppression of free speech or a free press, has been used as a tool by authoritarian governments to control their citizens. From Hitler, Stalin, and Mao to Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il, art has been used to deify leaders while preserving the position of the ruling class. Most artists would not want to be referred to as tools of the state, but in the case of Obama’s administration, that’s exactly what they’ve been so far. Id.
I’m not sure we are anywhere near the “art community.” It may be, well, completely presumptuous for me to even go there. And go there I have done. Yes, Snake Hawk does paint and have gallery shows. Yes, Gnome does have that degree in graphic design, and his designs have been paid for, printed and sold many times over. Yes, I write a lot. And, I have had my crap published. We’re about as close to it now as we’re ever going to get it seems.
Whatever we are, we have a voice. And, we intend to use it. We have always intended to use it.by