Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Manufacturing Dissent...

As an adjunct to this marvelous-as-always post by Gerard Vanderleun, I thought I'd spend a few minutes around the artist's website.

The first thing I noticed was the logo...
"Manufacturing Quality Dissent since 1989: Propaganda Engineering"
One wonders: Is this "dissent" true-to-principle, or simply a product? Is it just a fashion for the hip? Does the fact that I ask these questions enhance the hipness of this "manufactured dissent"?

Of course, Gerard wonderfully makes the point that the artist's style comes far before his substance (and even better, he connects this point to Obama). But on looking through the print archives, this image struck me as disturbing on a number of levels...

It is titled: "fearbush1", which seems to reflect the reactive irrationality of the left. The depiction of Bush as Hitler is intentionally offensive and provocative. The image and the wording "War: Everybody wants it" and it's subtitle "Except Smart People and the U.N.!" brings up a couple of points...

  • I imagine the image of (presumably, our) cities in flames and storm troopers in gas masks is supposed to reflect the loss of our civil liberties. Nevermind that it was Bush's government which has prevented our cities from being attacked again.
  • It presumes that it was Bush who sent us to war, rather than even remotely acknowledging that our enemy has declared war on us. (Of course, acknowledging this would detract from the hipness.)
  • It also reflects the arrogance of the left...that the "smart people" are the ones opposing the war. Those supporting the war are "dumb".
  • As a sub-point, one wonders if the artist and the uber-hip realize they have made a distinction between "smart people" and "the U.N.".
Nosing around further on the website, I found the "Warnings" page which instructs the "dissidents" to not be too obnoxious with their street art. Apparently there is a limit to how much "street art" that even the citizens of lefty communities such as Berkeley and Ann Arbor can stand. Engineer the Propaganda, but only so well.

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