You remember these stickers?
Yeah, they used to go up in your tragically hip pockets of suburban anomie across the country. Whereever disaffected stoners and skaters would gather, they’d slap up those odd little Andre the Giant stickers. The guy who did them simplified them after a while and pared it down to just ol’ Andre’s face and the word OBEY underneath it. Because capitalism makes you a zombie, or something.
What you may not realize is that the guy behind that…er…neighborhood beautification project…is doing the artwork for the Obama campaign.
Shepard Fairey is his name, and Gerard Vanderleun has his number. It was an extremely odd choice to bring Fairey on board, but I can see why the Obamanites might reach out to him. This guy is tragically trendy, and he is a master of subversive propaganda. What Roy Liechtenstein did for comic books, Shep Fairey has done for advertising and political propaganda. He uses the conventions of the form and tweaks them, adds in a super-sized order of postmodern irony, giving you what at first looks like an advertisement or a poster, but really might mean nothing at all…or something else entirely. It’s clever, and hipsters love it because it messes with the squares but also subverts the capitalist paradigm and (what’s actually cool ) laughs at totalitarian, fascist-style Big Brotheresque propaganda. Plus he’s a moonbat.
But here’s the weird part: they didn’t bring Shep Fairey on to be ironic or to make little jokes at Obama’s expense. They brought him on to play it straight. They want him to churn out the propaganda without the wink, without the gag, without the absurdity. They want the pure splash of iconic dear-leader worship, which is why you get bold, strong-man posters for Obama that look like this:
That looks kind of cool, but in light of the weird Messianic hope-and-change cult of personality campaign that Obama’s been running, it’s frightening. We just don’t do the “ten foot tall picture of the leader” thing in America. We quite rightly associate that with some very un-American politics.
But don’t be alarmed; this story has a happy ending. Gerard busted out the photoshop and brought the irony back into Fairey’s neo-fascist Obama posters. Go back up to the first link and click. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, at least scroll through the pictures to the last one and you’ll get his joke.
I hope he’s gonna make some T-Shirts off of that. I’d wear one.
On a related note: everyone’s seen this, right? I think it’s some secret Hillarite getting in his anonymous, deniable digs:
Delicious. The Shep Fairey signs quite naturally make an appearance in there somewhere.
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