First published in PJ Media
PJ has now changed its look resulting in missing pictures, so read it here.
The above is our spoof of a new anti-gun sign below by Shepard Fairey, who is also known as the artist behind the famous Obama "Hope" poster.
Shepard Fairey, the creator of the famous Obama "Hope" poster, made news recently with another piece of bizarre visual propaganda, this time denouncing America's habit of clinging to guns and religion.
He produced the poster last month in support of the failing anti-gun legislation, and most recently had it printed on hundreds of protest signs in anticipation of a massive anti-gun rally in Washington. From sympathetic Buzzfeed.com: "Artist Shepard Fairey will paper downtown D.C. Thursday with copies of a new work aimed at reigniting the push for gun control." Reality check: the advertised Occupy The NRA rally attracted only about 60 participants.
That the anti-NRA poster looks Orwellian is not a coincidence. Fairey probably believes he has a spiritual channel directly to George Orwell: after all, he had designed book covers for Penguin's Animal Farm and 1984, in addition to a series of nightmarish posters collectively titled Nineteeneightyfouria. His Orwellian connection, however, is very unflattering. Lacking the depth and, apparently, the slightest understanding of Orwell's actual message, Fairey rather channels some mind-numb Party functionary out of George Orwell's novel as he manufactures establishment propaganda that facilitates the takeover of the individual by the all-powerful state.
The gallery page gives this blurb about Nineteeneightyfouria, likely written from the artist's own words:
Shepard's artwork both scrutinizes and distorts the narrative of the modern American Dream. Commenting on underpinnings of what Shepard terms the 'capitalist machine', it aims to critique those who support blind nationalism and war. Fairey addresses monolithic institutional authority, the role of counter culture, and independent individuals who question the cultural paradigm.
Contrary to this description, however, Fairey's art not only imitates Soviet state-sponsored propaganda posters, but directly promotes a "monolithic institutional authority," supports "blind nationalism and war" currently waged against the Western world, and advocates the creation of a system that crushes "independent individuals who question the cultural paradigm." Fairey makes his ideology so obvious that Orwell's books with his designs on the covers begin to look like instruction manuals.
The cognitive dissonance between Shepard Fairey's ears must be deafening, but if one listens to it closely -- and maybe plays it backwards -- one may discern certain phrases like "America: the land where God saves and Satan invests in assault weapons and high-capacity magazines." That must be the artistic method which prompted Fairey to conjure up his latest anti-NRA poster.
For a self-styled dissenter, Fairey is awfully zealous in toeing the Party line. Anyone with at least a modicum of self-awareness would find this embarrassing -- but Fairey seems to be one of those "rebels" on the collectivist left who can say, with a straight face, "I'm a non-conformist because everyone else is."
Following the latest state-approved line of thinking, Fairey declares on his web page that he is
perplexed by the claim of much of the nation to have "Christian values." If God tells us to love our neighbor and not to take another human life, where do the assault weapons and piles of ammo fit into these "Christian values"? I personally think assault weapons fall more in the "Satan's values" category.
Whoever Fairey thinks he is channeling, it is not George Orwell, because Orwell advocated gun ownership and even left us this powerful quote:
That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.
Pacifism is a frequent theme in Fairey's posters. Misrepresenting America's war against Islamic terrorism, he likes to depict Muslims as victims of U.S. military aggression. But Orwell has another message for Shepard Fairey:
Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other.
And even more to the point:
Since pacifists have more freedom of action in countries where traces of democracy survive, pacifism can act more effectively against democracy than for it. Objectively the pacifist is pro-Nazi.
It is doubtful that Orwell's writings have had any influence on Fairey beyond the fashionable game of pretense, so popular with today's pseudo-intellectual bohemians. Instead, as a matter of fact, his major source of inspiration comes straight out of John Carpenter's B-grade sci-fi flick They Live, from which, by the artist's own admission, he borrowed his logo and the "OBEY" slogan that became a trademark of his entire artistic career.
"They Live was … the basis for my use of the word 'obey,'" Fairey says.
The movie has a very strong message about the power of commercialism and the way that people are manipulated by advertising. One of my main concepts … was that obedience is the most valuable currency. People rarely consider how much power they sacrifice by blindly following a self-serving corporation's marketing agenda, and how their spending habits reflect the direction in which they choose to transfer power. I designed a graphic … which we used for the invitations and a billboard I rented on the corner of Sunset and Hollywood to promote the show.
Well, if the activist artist believed there was any other possible way besides advertising to make the people aware of available products and services, why did he create a poster and rent a billboard to advertise his own project?
The plot of Carpenter's conspiratorial movie is centered around a drifter who discovers special Ray-Bans which reveal hidden messages behind billboards, television, magazines, and posters, such as "Obey, consume, reproduce, watch TV, this is your God," and so on. He then joins the underground and helps to eradicate the lizard-like aliens who had hypnotized humanity into obedience.
When this anti-capitalist film came out in 1988, the Soviet Union was still around. The Soviet government's stealth methods and media messaging weren't any better than those of the lizard-like aliens, and they did it all without any commercial advertising. There was no place for advertising or any other capitalist commercialism in a command economy with no market, no competition, and no private industries. All means of production and distribution belonged to the state, along with the press, radio, television, and all the square mileage of billboard space. The Soviet consumers either bought what was in the stores or cursed the shortages and went home empty-handed. Then they either watched one of the two available state channels on TV or they drank vodka.
In all fairness, the alien lizards were running a more humane and efficient system than the Soviet communists. At least they provided people with more liberties and a much higher living standard.
If you think commercialism is bad, think of the alternative. Today's reality offers two choices: it's either the free markets or a state-run economy. In terms of media content, it means that we either have to put up with occasional messages from the show sponsors peddling their products, or we watch non-stop commercial-free government propaganda. Whoever pays also orders the music.
So the next time you get annoyed by TV or radio commercials, please change the channel -- but don't try to change the system. Not only will you wind up watching government-filtered news, sanitized films, and lying, uninspired TV shows filled with overt and covert indoctrination -- you will also be sponsoring it with your own tax dollars. To paraphrase Yakov Smirnoff's formula, "In Soviet Russia, the media brainwashes the sponsor."
The Soviet streets, too, had plenty of billboards, but not of a commercial nature. They displayed what the Soviet government and the Communist Party officially labeled as "visual agitation and propaganda," or "agitprop" -- something Shepard Fairey is only too eager to emulate.
They glorified the country's leaders, promoted government policies, called the citizens to work harder for the common good, and otherwise reinforced the establishment narrative by visual means. Towards the end of the Soviet Union's existence, no one believed in such messages anymore. And yet no one objected to having those billboards because quite often they were the only spots of bright color dotting the otherwise drab and colorless city blocks.
I know it because I spent three years of my life in the USSR painting them. Visual propaganda was the only game in town for a young, non-union graphic artist and the only creative outlet allowed by the system. I would have preferred doing commercial advertising instead, but the government-run economy didn't offer me that choice. Shepard Fairey, on the other hand, has plenty of choices. Why he, an American-born artist, came to despise commercial advertising and to love second-hand government agitprop is the key question.
Was it because he saw a bad Hollywood movie at an impressionable young age and the state-run public education didn't provide him with enough cognitive tools to recover from its simplistic message? Probably. But that doesn't explain the existence of millions of like-minded low-information voters, whose brains have been programmed to accept every anti-capitalist propagandistic cliché, subliminal or not, that today's American culture and news media throw at them. Neither does it explain the resulting massive demoralization, which the movie about the lizard-engineered conspiracy doesn't even begin to describe.
Has it ever occurred to Shepard Fairey that certain subliminal messages may also be lurking behind his own posters, and that those messages aren't really original, but rather a second-generation copy of what his mind had subliminally absorbed in his formative years?
Let's don a pair of our own special Ray-Bans and take a look at his latest creation. The real message behind the poster reads:
ONLY GOVERNMENT CAN USE DEADLY FORCE
OBEDIENT CITIZENS DON'T NEED GUNS
WEAKNESS IS STRENGTH
SELF-DEFENSE IS UNPATRIOTIC
VICTORY THROUGH DEFEAT
PEACE THROUGH SURRENDER
Who, exactly, is Fairey's art asking us to obey?
Downoad these high-resolution PDF posters here:
Note that while I also use elements of old Soviet posters, I don't capitalize on the ignorance of modern consumers by pretending that digital manipulation of other people's work is serious art - unlike Shepard Fairey, who, according to AP, has made millions from his Obama "Hope" poster alone.
In contrast, I see these posters not as high art, but rather morbid curiosities. As such, they come in handy while exposing and satirizing the monstrous ideology that produced them and that many Americans today find so attractive.
Being the product of a public school education, I may not know a lot about grammar, but I assume Comrade Fairey means that God saves said weapons (for His bitterly clinging followers from gun-grabbing policies?) while Satan invests in them. And since "invests" is prog-speak for "squanders other people's money", that seems to me a likely description of Operation Fast & Furious...which was started by Bush but under another name.
Or something like that.
That's not Latin, that's Greek, silly wabbit. That's what the 300 Spartans told the Persians.
What am I thinking? It's all Greek to the mainstream media.
Not to nitpick, but isn't the correct transliteration here MOLON LAVE (not LABE). In Greek, as in Russian, the letter B is pronounced as V.
I remember listening to Jed Babbin on KSFO discuss the issue of pacifism. He stated perfectly that pacifism is immoral. If you have the ability to intervene to stop aggression and do not because you are a pacifist, then you are immoral.
As an example: if a schoolyard bully is picking on a smaller student, what do you do? What if there are no adults around? If you walk away because you are a pacifist, you have doomed that victim to a life of being bullied. But if you work with the victim and tell him that you will help him stand up to the bully, and then follow through on your promise, you have done what is moral. You both have gained a friend and you will stand up for each other. When bullies are confronted, they generally fold their bluff hand. Not always, and you have to be prepared for that, but they are generally not prepared for resistance.
Now, extrapolate that to the larger world. One country invades another and asks for help. If you are the leader of the U.S. and are a pacifist, you have just doomed the invaded country to a life of near slavery under the aggressor. But if you get a coalition of allies and support the invaded country, even strike back at the invader, you have done the moral thing and have stood up for human rights.
Pacifism = Submission = Slavery = Immorality
Quote:Clearly, Fairey hasn't read Orwell. Instead, by the artist's own admission, his inspiration comes straight out of John Carpenter's B-grade sci-fi flick They Live, from which he borrowed his logo and the "OBEY" slogan that became a trademark of his entire artistic career.
Interesting you should mention this movie - They Live . I was researching the story's writer a few months ago. The original plot comes from a short story entitled Eight O'Clock in the Morning by Ray Nelson. Sorry I didn't keep the links, but there's lots of searchable info on this guy. He's a true comrade in the best tradition.
Palm Beach, Florida Sheriff:
“We Want People To Call Us If The Guy Down The Street Says He Hates The Government”
Shepard Fairey is aiming at the bird of peace, which in the last resort is the ability to defend yourself with 'the equalizer.' Visually, the poster is a Freudian slip.
Dig4UtopiaI hear voices.
The attachment 61654291DafUJVt.gif is no longer available
It's not voices Dig4Utopia...It's Pacman chewing...
Are you saying Queen Mooch sounds like Pacman - Comrade?
Who knows what the Tea Party terrorists will come up with next??
I saw this and knew you would be all over it!
As usual, you climb all over this stuff.
This makes me a proud and loyal "Cubist!" (an art form)
At this moment, I really don't now what to say, except, "Go!"
Red SquareI love Soopermexican! Here's his recent remake of They Live (under 3 minutes)
From my gallery of Horrors ... The text at the top I only added the 2nd line, it was surreal enough already.