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April 18, 2009

Tea Party Protest Signs: Bad, Worse, & Ugly

I was reading through some of the coverage of Wednesday's tea party protests and I came across a post on BlogHer that made some statements that I found...questionable.

Since when did political dissent become unpatriotic?
Raise your hand if you just yelled some version of "during the Bush administration, of course!" at your computer screen. Guess it's okay when the people being labeled unpatriotic are people like, say, liberal anti-war protesters.

These protests are also not "hate Obama" rallies. Please. If you truly believe that we would not be in the streets if this were President McCain making these decisions and not President Obama, then I have a bridge to sell you. Seriously. You will never find another deal on a bridge like this.

...As for the every citizen, we hope that they realize that it is NOT unpatriotic to ask that government spend responsibly, that it's NOT hateful to criticize the president (I can guarantee you that you won't see the sort of offensive effigies and signs at these protests that we've seen at some anti-Bush rallies).

That last line's got to be my favorite. I don't know why anyone on either side would make a "guarantee" like that when it's so blatantly and demonstrably false. In this case it seems to be an 'our grassroots activism is better than your grassroots activism' sort of a thing, which is always helpful and constructive. I had already seen some pictures of protest signs that proved these statements wrong, but I decided to dig in and see just how wrong they were, and...well, see for yourselves.

Okay, I'm traumatized already. Can we leave Elmo out of this, people? Really now. [Photo from Wonkette]

Let's get the 'Obama = Hitler' stuff out of the way early. Godwin's Law in action!

This may be the winner for 'most offensive of the day'. Fuck this dude.
[Photos via Huffington Post]

[Photo via Teablogging]

[Photo via Huffington Post]

Because why should Hitler have all the fun?
[Photo via The Washington Independent]

One important thing I've learned from these protests is that paying taxes that you think are too high is just like being a slave. Also, President Obama is black. Put those two insightful observations together and you get some lovely slogans.

[Tax slavery via Wonkette, white slavery via Huffington Post, "chains" via ShortsandPants, "stimulus slave" from Reuters via Yahoo, and racism and ignorance via teabaggers coast to coast]

Okay, we fucking get it already, you're racist and you can't deal with the fact that the president is black. Enough.
[Photo via Huffington Post]

Nothing says 'we've got our finger right on the pulse' like an Urkel joke, right?
[Photo via Wonkette]

There are no words for some of these.
[Photo via Wonkette]

If this woman knows the term "d-bag", clearly she could have explained the whole teabagging issue to the protest organizers.
[Photo via Wonkette]

Next up, the religious stuff:

This sign is absolutely correct, in a completely wrong sort of a way.
[Photo via Jezebel]

OMG Muslim panic!!!!!!!!

["Jewels" and "Real Americans" via Huffington Post and "wake up America" via ShortsandPants]

By "we" I assume this guy is referring to deeply ignorant, bigoted morons who don't understand the Constitution or much of anything else.
[Photo via Talking Points Memo]

[Photo via dane101.com]

[Photo via dane101.com]

Of course we know that the only thing that equals religious panic for these people is The Gay Panic, so that crew showed up too.

Ah yes, because as any doctor will tell you, colonoscopy=sexytime, especially for the LGBT doctors, which is a group that does not include Barney Frank anyway so STFU.

[Photo via Wonkette]

Now this one's got to be a counter-protester being ironic...right?
[Photo via Talking Points Memo]

Here's a future Fox News show host.
[Photo via Wonkette]

Wipe the self-satisfied grins off of your faces, ladies. You're making light of rape, so you've got nothing to be proud of.

["Financial rape" via Teablogging.net and "freeloading illegal rape" via Huffington Post]

You know the anti-choicers were there, because they'll show up at any protest about anything as long as they can hold up signs about the babykilling.

[Photo via Huffington Post]

[Photo via Huffington Post]

Speaking of killing, this is just charming. Also, helpful hint to the maker of this sign - Hillary Clinton is now in the Cabinet, not in Congress, so you might want to cross her off and replace her with another evil liberal who you think deserves to be executed.

[Photo via Huffington Post]

And finally, some comic relief:

Dude, get a grip.

[Photo via Huffington Post]

In fairness, I do think that many of these photos represent a descent into something.

[Photo via Instaputz]

This woman has a point. I think it's time that all of us thought about renouncing our scholiast policies. Who cares about classical literature?

[Photo via Huffington Post]

So basically, make that bad evil non-white probably-Muslimish type guy go away? Got it, lady. (Don't you love the stream of consciousness style of signs? If you're going to take the time to make a sign, can't you take 10 seconds to figure out exactly what you want to say?)

[Photo via Huffington Post]

Yep, some people are actually still clinging to the birth certificate thing.

[Photo via The Washington Independent]

Liberal infiltrators via ShortsandPants.

No, we can't.

[Photo via Jezebel]

And finally, Our girl BlueGal took what may be the funniest and most misguided sign of the day, and made it a million times funnier and awesomer, which is why we love her.

[Image via BlueGal]


Jen said...

So. Fucked. Up.

Wisecrack Zine said...

1) Wow, an amazing compilation you've put together.

2) What unbelievable hatred and ignorance. I knew these people existed, but I didn't think they'd be willing to say these things in public.

3) I love the infiltrators.

FEMily! said...

Pfft. Everyone knows that POOP stands for


She obviously hasn't watched enough Spongebob Squarepants.

Anonymous said...

Is it bad that I really want that Maobama shirt? I'm not going to lie- Mao will always have a place in my heart for his gender politics.

As for the other signs... *facepalm*

Anonymous said...

I watched the Rachel Maddow segment on this and journalist Ana Marie Cox had a really hilarious comment: most of these people were protesting at PUBLIC PARKS. Gee, do they know what pays for public parks?? That's right; TAX MONEY!!!

sexgenderbody said...

Ah...ignorance, the stuff that delusions are made of. These ass-hats are providing me with more pure glee than watching Anita Bryant having a pie thrown in her face.


Cheyanne (Shy Ann) said...

This is a great collage you've gathered together here.

Sometimes I wonder if people like Karl Rove and Company hire and organize these people as professional protesters and pay them to do their evil bidding. I'm not joking.

Just think of what they did to the Dixie Chicks. That pretty much explains how they are holding their racist/KKKlan rallies today out in the open...... for Geezus of course.

Gwen said...

I didn't mind the "Can you feel the revolution?" one, because that seemed right-on.

But everything else- ridiculous. Well, except for the "I shaved my balls for this!?", which is awesomesauce.

Anonymous said...

If most of these people spent half as much time to educate themselves on these issues as they did making these ridiculous (and mostly racist) slogans/signs they probably wouldn't be there in the first place.

FYI - I have a rough outline/knowledge of what's going on here, but I'm an Aussie, so really just disregard everything I say hahaha

p.s my word verification word is hymen. wtf?

Anonymous said...

While I definitely agree that these examples are ridiculous, offensive, and hateful, I think it's hypocritical to derisively comment on dissenters to what Obama is doing while favoring the dissenters to Bush. I yelled the same thing you said at Fox when they were defending the far right nutjobs (wasn't my choice to watch X_x).

But - aren't we supposed to be a nation built on freedom of speech and dissent? Even if the dissenting opinion is one we'd rather not hear or have to deal with? (I, for one, am sick and tired of the OBAMA = MUSLIM AND HITLER AND FOREIGN AND EVIL, but those people have the right to express their opinions.) The left can be just as ridiculous and misguided as the right.

Anonymous said...

We should all have the right to express our opinions, but we shouldn't have the right to express offensive, racist and otherwise ridiculously ignorant hate speech. We shouldn't support that kind of 'dissent' from either side.

Ranja said...

Lilith - What the hell right do you have to decide which speech is "offensive", 'ridiculously ignorant" or even "hate speech"? Suppressing any type of political speech is not a right that you should want the government to have.

Robin said...

Y'know, I might be more willing to listen to these whackos if they could just spell their dissenting opinions correctly. Well, and maybe not equate the repeal of vastly unfair tax cuts with genocide. That would be okay, too. ::sigh:: I just can't believe that woman managed "Constitutional" but couldn't sound out "Socialist".

On the positive side, I'm very amused by the infiltrators, and really hope that Mister Down-with-sodomy is one of them.

@Lillith: "We shouldn't support that kind of 'dissent' from either side."You're absolutely right. While I disagree with many policies and actions of the Bush administration, the hyperbolic left-wingers haven't done themselves any favors either. In this battle of political extremes, it seems to be those of us sitting in the middle ground and having calm discussions of the issues that get lost in the shuffle.

Anonymous said...

Are you disagreeing that those posters were offensive, ridiculously ignorant, and hate speech?

I think that when people use these kinds of tactics to make your point, their point is lost. I am 100% in support of protest and free speech and dissent... but I also think that you need to at least make some kind of sense and not make light of serious things like the Holocaust, rape, and slavery.

Calling the American taxpayers "Jews for Obama's Ovens" is ineffective because it's a) offensive and b) nonsensical.

Anonymous said...

free speech is very simple. They have the right to say anythign they want. We have the right to make fun of them for it.

Anonymous said...

At least these morons have moved from only comprehending something that fits on a bumper sticker to that which fits on a posterboard..


To anonymous above - yes, these people definitely have the right to express their opinions. And we have the right to express our opinions about their opinions, and to call out racism and hate speech when we see it. We also think it's worthwhile to examine the link between over-the-top extreme rhetoric and the actions that it may inspire - for example, the 'OMG Obama is going to take away your guns any minute!!!!!' rhetoric coming from people like Glenn Beck, and a recent incident of gun violence from a man who was apparently upset about Obama's gun control policies. That's not to say that anyone holding an offensive protest sign is potentially violent or inciting violence, but it's not meaningless either or something that's not worth discussing.

As far as the charge that we're being hypocritical by only focusing on offensive signs from the right-wing, could you point to a blog entry from the past where we've said something like 'hey, check out this protest sign that compares George W. Bush to Hitler, that's so funny and awesome'?

Ranja said...

But Lilith wasn't simply stating that she has the right to mock them. She was stating that they "shouldn't have the right to express offensive, racist and otherwise ridiculously ignorant hate speech." Very big difference. I hear that sort of talk far too often, and I find it too be much more offensive to the ideals of this country than any of the posterboards I've seen at these rallies.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean the legal right. I meant it in a more social context. As in, we should not support that type of dissent from either side (which is what I said).

There is free speech but there is also public speech and that should have boundaries. (Not censorship). There should be restrictions on hate speech because it can incite violence and discrimination (which is illegal).

Also, if you're going to a KKK meeting, you can expect to see racist hate speech and Holocaust references thrown around willy nilly. But not at an event that claimed to be a respectful and civilized protest against taxes.

This blog is called "Evil Slutopia"... obviously no one here is pro-censorship. But this blog is also listed as including adult content.

Jezebel said...

Just for clarification: I'm the one who put this post together, and I think it's clear that my intent wasn't to call for censorship or the suppression of free speech. (Although I do think that hate speech should be taken extremely seriously, and some speech is not necessarily protected if, for example, it incites violence.) I was responding to some comments that we've read and heard, including the ones that I quoted in the intro to the post, which suggested that these protests would have no hateful or offensive rhetoric or would somehow be more 'civilized' than 'liberal' events like anti-war/anti-Bush rallies.

Ranja said...

Again, Lilith, you write that you support free speech, but then you suggest there should be "restrictions on hate speech" because of what you believe it might lead to.

What exactly is hate speech, though? Who decides what hate speech is? Is it saying something that the current administration (be they Republican, Democrat or Libertarian - wishful thinking on the last one, I know) believes is hateful? Is it saying something that the majority of Americans think is hateful?

If so, then you are essentially giving the government the right to silence all unpopular beliefs. "Oh, but no!" you shout back, "They'll only silence hateful speech from those terrible hateful people!!" If you honestly believe that, then you really need to study your history a bit more - specifically the history of Communist Countries post-World War II.

Saying "I hate Muslims. Let's go kill that one standing right there" should be a crime because it is a direct order to commit a crime. Saying "I hate Muslims!" is not and should NEVER be a crime.

To say otherwise is infinitely more offensive than anything some idiot Klansmen or Black Muslims might say.

Ranja said...

Jezebel - I do not think it was your intent to suggest free speech should be silenced. I was just addressing Lilith's comment. As an ardent defender of the First Amendment, I believe any anti-free speech comment should be attacked with the same voraciousness that you likely believe an anti-gay or misogynistic comment should be attacked.

And, no, before anyone shouts hypocrisy - I don't believe anti-free speech comments should be silenced. They should be brought out, addressed and countered. That's the beauty of Free Speech.

Anonymous said...

Geez, am I flashing back to the happy holidays thread or what? ;-)

First of all, to clarify - hate speech isn't just speaking that you hate something. In case someone actually didn't realize that.

It's illegal to discriminate against someone for being Muslim. If you want to sit around your house talking about how you hate Muslims, go for it. But if you're in a public forum, it's inappropriate because it amounts to discrimination and may incite violence. It goes beyond free speech.

Many schools, companies, and government offices have prohibitions and regulations about hate speech, because in those cases hate speech may amount to harassment.

But... as Jezebel already said... this blog isn't about hate speech. It's about the hypocritical (and blatantly false) claims made by the original blogger and it's about the ignorance expressed in some of the tea party posters.

So let's get back to POOP.

Jason said...

WRONG, LILITH. Please educate yourself on the First Amendment! When I am in a public forum, I have every right to say that I hate a group of people. It does not go beyond free speech. Not in America. In America, so-called "hate speech" IS FREE SPEECH.

Obviously, a person can't say things like that in the workplace because the workplace is not the proper place to be airing his political beliefs. It's a place for working. But in a public forum, you do have the right to say that you hate whoever you want to hate. Banning that because it "might" lead to violence is as insane as banning marijuana because it "might" lead to crack smoking.

And it is true that this post is not about free speech. However, if a post were about baseball and somebody started using words like "fag" and "whore" to describe gays and women, that might upset you and warrant deviating from the topic. It upsets me just as much when I hear people telling American citizens what they should and should not be able to say in a public forum.

The first step to recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem, Lilith. Don't become one of the bad guys.


One more time:

1. Lilith has already clarified that she was not talking about government censorship or saying that people shouldn't have the legal right to express their political opinions. It might have been a confusing choice of words to use the word "right" in her first comment, but she explained that she was talking about a social context, in terms of whether something like "taxpayers are the Jews for Obama's ovens" should a) go unchallenged and b) be given equal weight and respect to a more genuine, reality-based political dissent.

2. Regarding hate speech in public forums - It's true that laws restricting hate speech in public places like workplaces and schools are controversial and are sometimes struck down on First Amendment grounds, but there are some situations where some restriction is found to be appropriate. For example:

"Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers may sometimes be prosecuted for tolerating "hate speech" by their employees, if that speech contributes to a broader pattern of harassment resulting in a "hostile or offensive working environment" for other employees. See, e.g., Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986), Patterson v. McLean Credit Union (1989)."

And, for another example, a place like a shopping mall, which some people might refer to as a 'public place' or 'public forum' but is actually privately owned. There are different laws in different states governing free speech rights in a place like that, so in some states the owners of the mall are able to prevent people from holding demonstrations or handing out leaflets or other things of that nature in the shopping center, while in some other states free speech rights are more broad and might cover places like shopping centers.

There are also some laws prohibiting the wearing of masks in public, such as at KKK rallies. Some of those laws have been struck down as unconstitutional, but not all, especially when they're narrowly focused: "Another court upheld a state law that prohibits the wearing of a mask when it 'is intended to conceal the wearer's identity and that the wearer knows, or reasonably should know, gives rise to a reasonable apprehension of intimidation, threats, or impending violence.'"

But again, I don't believe that Lilith has referred to "banning" or "censorship" in any of her comments, so arguing against that really isn't necessary. There's a difference between saying that we should speak up and challenge someone who's holding an "Obama=Hitler" sign and that workplaces should have rules about the types of hate speech that might create a hostile working environment and amount to harassment, and saying that expressing dissenting political opinions should be illegal.

3. We think we've clarified the free speech questions enough at this point, especially since, as we've also pointed out already, the intent of this post was never to call for censorship of ideas that we disagree with. So we'd like comments to get back on topic at this point. If anyone wants to discuss the 'hate speech' issues further, you're obviously free to do so on your own blogs, and feel free to come back and post the links.

4. We're still mystified as to why that lady at the bottom thought that calling herself a 'POOP' was a good protest strategy. But we respect her right to call herself a POOP in public.

Anonymous said...

so ridiculous...

how can people even begin to compare a tax hike to genocide? Or to centuries of slave trade, exploitation, terror, rape & oppression?


Although, the tea-bagging one made me giggle.

Tara said...

It cracks me up that scholiast is a real word.

Anonymous said...

I said it's inappropriate, not illegal. As I already said, there are limits to what we should say, not what we legally can say. The ESC's last post says everything I could or would say in response to this nonsense. Moving on.

Skittles said...

I wanted to join with the protesters and they have a right to be mad. Sponge-Barack Obama-Pants won't even listen to what is being said. He has to be one of the worse in the system I've ever seen.
John McCain is right he was never ready to lead.

Mary Magdalene said...

OMG, where can I get a pair of Obama Pants!?

Anonymous said...

I really miss Crystal Pepsi. Can I say that?

Anonymous said...

Did you notice that this is the same kind of bullshit they put on their blogs about liberal protests?

Nate Vaughn said...

I am the creator/artist of the Obama/Uncle Sam sign pictured above....

It's amazing to me how STUPID and IGNORANT people are. Really. Look closely....the "knife" is labeled SOCIALISM. Obama...who yes happens to be a black man and yes, happens to be president.... is "threatening" Uncle Sam (himself a metaphor for America) with the "knife" of SOCIALISM.

But racist??? What OTHER COLOR can you draw a BLACK MAN, I ask you ignorant idiot?? If I colored him ORANGE, would that not be "racist"? If I drew a black president as a WHITE MAN, would that also not be "racist"??

Look, face it....HE'S BLACK. I dont have a problem with it. I F'in DREW IT!!! Apparently it's YOU who cant look at a BLACK PRESIDENT, not me!

That comment on the pic is just plain stupid. But OF COURSE, we know that ALL negative commentary on A BLACK PRESIDENT'S POLICIES are racially motivated, right?

YOU are the true racist, I submit.


Nate - If you truly believe that your imagery isn't at all racist, fine. We're not going to argue the point with you because clearly that would be a waste of time. But depicting President Obama as some kind of back alley mugger or Jack the Ripper character getting ready to slit the throat of America with the "weapon" of socialism? Sorry, we still find that to be ignorant and offensive, and we're as entitled to our opinion as you are to yours.

Nate said...

And you know what?? I AGREE TOTALLY with that. Disagree, fine. That's American as APPLE PIE. But when you run out of intelligent ways to express your displeasure at something, then RACISM seems to be the "in thing" to cry these days.

I'm actually VERY proud that this country has elected a black man. VERY PROUD. That doesn't mean that I dont PERSONALLY think he's destroying my country....red, yellow, black OR white.

Anonymous said...

lol. I think it's funny that we're talking about "intelligent ways to express displeasure" after all the signs we just saw that were anything but intelligent. And that's not specifically in response to Nate... but I just hope the irony wasn't lost on anyone.

Anonymous said...

You know what I find absolutely HIIIILARIOUS? That Nate couldn't comprehend why they thought the sign was racist. I could believe him if he says he isn't racist and didn't mean the sign to be racist but I can't believe that he's so confused and shocked that someone thought it was. Suggesting that it was because of the color he drew it in or that evilSlutopia is actually racist for being offended.

You don't have to hate black people to use racist imagery or perpetuate racist stereotypes. Maybe you didn't intend to come off like a huge racist but oops, you accidentally did! Is it the "in thing" to cry racism WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING RACIST? I just think it's hysterical that he thinks YOU'RE the racist and ignorant ones... he's even ignorant to the fact that he seems racist!

Nate said...

Then please explain to me exactly WHAT ABOUT THE DRAWING IS RACIST??

Is it RACIST to show a BLACK MAN doing something wrong? What about an Asian? What about a white man?

Is it a BLACK stereotype: mugging someone? knifing someone? threatening someone? NOT IN MY WORLD IT"S NOT.....again, maybe in YOUR MIND these are "black stereotypes"....does that mean that YOU then see him as NOT JUST a "black man"? But a "NON-VIOLENT black man"??

If you provide some kind of "extra protection" for black men....you cant show them doing this....they cant be portrayed as doing that....then aren't YOU profiling, but in REVERSE? In your world, if a white man was holding the knife, no problem....WHY? Because to you not many white men hold knives to people's throats! But what about BLACK MEN? Apparently in your world, everytime you see a black man or a PORTRAYAL of a black man doing something offensive or violent, then it's racist because IN YOUR MIND "all black men do that"?!

I never even thought of that. I thought, I want to show THE PRESIDENT "threatening" the "country". If GW Bush was still President, then HE'D be holding the knife....but THAT wouldn't be racist, right?

ONLY because he's a BLACK MAN.....ONLY BECAUSE?? Yep. You're offended ONLY BECAUSE he's a black man. Therefore it's YOU that is the racist.

I saw THE PRESIDENT as A MAN.....not a BLACK MAN. Apparently YOU can ONLY see him as a BLACK MAN.

Where am I wrong? Just because YOU SAY something's racist, that doesn't make it so! Again, I say WHERE ARE THE STEREOTYPES in the drawing? The knife? A noose, sure. But now KNIVES are black stereotypes too?! A threatening act, or a violent act is now a black stereotype??

Or is it that ANYTHING NEGATIVE about "a black man" is, TO YOU, a "black stereotype"??

I think THAT is exactly what it is. Again, I saw THE PRESIDENT...a MAN, not a "black man". All YOU can see is A BLACK MAN is doing "something offensive".

Instead of just "calling me a racist" again....please EXPLAIN to me WHAT black stereotypes I used??

Anonymous said...

I was going to wait for Anonymous to come back, but I got impatient.

1. Calm down. We let it go when you called us stupid, ignorant, idiots, and racist... so please remember that you’re a guest in our house. If you want to have an intelligent discussion we’re listening, but if you just want to throw around baseless accusations and CAPITAL LETTERS do it on your own blog.

2. Neither Jezebel nor Anonymous have actually called you racist in their comments. They have both said (in different ways) that perhaps it wasn’t intended to be offensive. No one can claim to look into your soul and decide if you’re racist or not… but it puzzles me that you are unable to comprehend why it may have been misconstrued. Anonymous does have a point on this one - the fact that you suggested that it was simply because you drew Obama as a black man is so ridiculous that I don’t even know how to respond to it.

3. Jezebel has already mentioned the negative stereotypes implied by your drawing. Obviously we don’t think that black men are all violent, otherwise we’d say “what an accurate representation of black men!” instead of being offended by it. However, that negative stereotype does exist and your drawing helps to perpetuate that. You mentioned “racial profiling” – a lot of people in the U.S. actually do believe that a black male is more likely to knife them in a back alley then a white male. Acknowledging this stereotype does not mean that we agree with it. Just as disagreeing with it, does not mean that your imagery is immune from reinforcing it. Perhaps that wasn’t your intention when you drew the poster, but it shouldn’t be hard to understand why someone might misinterpret it.

4. Personally, I don’t care for the metaphor. It is offensive to me in general to compare something relatively frivolous like taxes to physical violence or death (or slavery or rape or the holocaust, as others have done). There are probably many other ways to have sent the message that Obama=Socialism=Bad for America without having to resort to that. (It is ineffective and given the stereotype explained in #3, much too easy to misconstrue as racism.)

5. If your real message was about socialism you should have made the words that are allegedly “clearly written” on the knife a little easier to see. Considering the massive size of the poster, you certainly had the opportunity to make the words more visible. (The version on your website doesn’t have the words “socialism” at all).

6. Possibly THE worst defense is the “I know you are, but what am I?” defense. It weakens your entire argument and makes it impossible for anyone to take you seriously.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of that and I stand by what i said.

Nate said...

1. I tend to use CAPITAL letters for emphasis, though I realize that on the 'net it's usually for "shouting"...sorry to have hurt your ears. Further, I haven't "thrown around baseless accusations"...I've asked questions that neither you nor anyone else seems able or willing to answer....more on that below.

2. I was not specifically referring to Jezebel or Anonymous, but rather anyone participating. However, the whole point and reason for my commenting and questioning here is the fact that my sign and myself personally have been labeled racist.

I'm "unable to comprehend" why my sign "may have been misconstrued" because again, noone will answer my question.....WHY is it racist? What stereotypes are in my sign? Instead I get defensive comments on my using CAPITALS.

My point on drawing Obama as a black man was simply that what else can you draw a black man as? If the concept of the artwork is to have the President (who is black, yes I know) "threatening America" (ie: Uncle Sam), what are the ways you could accomplish this? Hold a gun to Uncle Sam's head? Maybe. Hold a knife to his throat? Sure. I'm struggling to figure out some other ways to show this kind of metaphor other than these. Now again, is the fact that the President is black mean that he cannot be shown "metaphorically" doing something that is, yes, offensive? If Bush was holding the knife, I'm assuming the sign would not be racist, right? So therefore under your logic, a black man cannot be shown or portrayed as committing an act of violence because THAT now is a black stereotype?? Says who?

3. If Jezebel mentioned the negative stereotypes in my drawing, then I missed it. I'll go reread her comments to make sure I didn't miss anything.

However, acknowledging the stereotype that (in your words & according to alot of people) "a black male is more likely to knife a white man in a back alley" does mean that you do see something that I apparently did not. That to me means that you see, again the President as a black man, a black President....and I see him as a President, as a man. Therefore, WHO is racist? It's a legitimate question. The comment on my picture is not a legitimate statement....it's a baseless attack.

And sure, "someone might misinterpret it"....but I dont illustrate for the lowest mental commen denominator. Why should I "dumb down" my artistic commentary for either the redneck racist idiot somewhere or the liberal hyper-sensitive race-bater?? Again, legit question.

4. I respect your opinion. And the reason it's "too easy to misconstrue racism" is because again as I said before, that seems to be the "in thing" to label someone with when you disagree with their politics or speech.

5. As far as making "socialism" bigger, the point of the drawing is the same with the label or not. Again, I do not "cater" to the least common mental denominator. I want people to THINK.

As for the version on my site that does not have the label "socialism"....I originally drew the art without the "socialism" label, but it was suggested to me that someone would automatically say that the art was racist, whether it was or not, simply because Obama happens to be a black man and Uncle Sam (like Santa) historically is portrayed as a white man. Imagine that....they were right.

6. I'm not sure what you're referring to here.

The point I'm simply in total trying to make is that some people, and yes I am suggesting folks such as yourselves, respectfully, see the President as a black man, not just a man. I do not, honestly. How is your view then of the President as a black man, rather than a man, any different than the redneck idiot who hates black people and also cannot see past his being a black man?! That also is a legit question.

I do not wish to argue, honestly. I responded to this blog for one reason only...the ignorance in labeling me personally as the artist of that sign as a person who must hate black people because I drew the President, a black man, metaphorically threatening America, portrayed historically-correct as a white man Uncle Sam. I am not a racist and I did not mean for the sign/art to be seen that way. I do think it's a nice tactic though to distract people from the point of the artwork or the statement it makes by automatically dismissing the sign and the person who made it as a racist. I have zero respect for that. Argue the politics. Make your case. I can respect that. But not EVERYTHING that portrays a black man in a negative light is racist. There are definately a ton of things out there that are racist, such as the cartoon several months ago where some cartoonist drew the President as a "monkey" I believe it was. But this sign and it's message, agree with the politics of it or not, is simply about the President (black man or not) threatening the country. It's simply my opinion, but it's not a racist opinion, it's a political opinion.

Enough with the "That's racist! He's a racist!" BS crap in this society. Too many good hearted people (yes, such as myself) would march shoulder to shoulder with you and all minorities and oppressed people because I believe the same (on those subjects as you).....but I wonder if you realize how many of those people you turn off with constant accusations of racism for seemingly everything??

Thank you for allowing me to respond and post.
Sincerely, I mean that. I meant only to defend myself from the initial baseless attack.

Nate said...

One more thing.....just for my own curiousity....

This was the "other side" of the pictured sign....is THIS sign also racist?? I'm serious. I'd like to know your (anyone's) opinions. This has been very educational for me, and again I thank you all, sincerely.

Click here to see the 2nd side's art.

Jezebel said...

I don't have time for a long reply right this second, but I wanted to say that it's not about the fact that you depicted a black man as a black man. It's about the fact that you chose to depict a black man as a violent criminal in order to make a point about a "threat" that has nothing to do with violence. Why?

Also, it's interesting to me that you say that you "want people to THINK", because violent imagery like this seems more likely to evoke an emotional response of anger or fear about the "threat" that President Obama supposedly poses to the country, rather than any deep thought about the complex political issues involved.

Nate said...

Jez, on your second point....I disagree. Have you seen how long this discussion on this post, and more pointedly, on my sign/artwork is?? This is discussion, and again, wasn't that the point? It was, and it worked.

I used "violent" imagery b/c, again, visually as an artist, how do you convey something thats both serious (to me that is) and urgent?? What VISUAL metaphor would convey that? Maybe I was wrong in it. I can accept that. Maybe the argument here against the artwork is that it may promote violence....but it should not be that it's racist.

Jezebel said...

"Jez, on your second point....I disagree. Have you seen how long this discussion on this post, and more pointedly, on my sign/artwork is?? This is discussion, and again, wasn't that the point? It was, and it worked."

Well yeah, but the discussion is about whether or not the sign is racist, not about whether President Obama is threatening the country with socialist policies. And I'm not saying that the first conversation is a bad one to have, but it also wasn't your goal.

Anonymous said...

I don't have time for a long response right now either, but I'll address this point:

"I do think it's a nice tactic though to distract people from the point of the artwork or the statement it makes by automatically dismissing the sign and the person who made it as a racist. I have zero respect for that. Argue the politics."

No one is arguing over the point of the artwork. We're suggesting that the point of the artwork is lost behind the racist-seeming imagery. That's not our fault. And I resent the suggestion that anyone who found racism in it or who misunderstood your subtle metaphor are "the lowest common denominator". Take a look at the other posters at those rallies and remember that the lowest common denominator was also out there with their signs.

I also resent the implication that we are trying to distract people from the real message of the protests. We haven't even given our opinion here on the actual issue of the tea parties. Why? Because we're not talking about that. We're talking about the disrespectful, inappropriate, ignorant, illogical and yes, some racist posters at the events. Nothing distracts people more from the issue of taxes than "Stop killing babies" or "Obama = Hitler" so if that's your complaint it belongs elsewhere.

"I wonder if you realize how many of those people you turn off with constant accusations of racism for seemingly everything??"

We don't constantly accuse people of racism for seemingly everything. This is one blog in which most of the racist posters up there were racist. We apologize if we were wrong in our opinion of you, the artist, but our opinion of your artwork remains. I wonder how many people you inadvertently turned off with your artwork.

Nate said...

That is a good point, that I didn't consider myself.

Anonymous said...

Huffington?? Oh God!! That says it all!!
You people just cannot stand it that "we, the people" can hit the nail on the head with the posters constructed!! The originality is amazing. All you can do is denigrate and offer put-downs. What a bunch of losers you are!! Arrogant elitists who fight back like 2-year olds!! Wah-h-h! Wah-h-h-h!! Boo Hoo!! Love ya so,Strevo!


Anonymous, you're right. How could we possibly question the "amazing" "originality" of incredibly dated pop culture references like Urkel and In Living Color, endless mentions of President Obama's middle name, juvenile sex jokes, slavery and rape imagery played for laughs, and all of those Hitler references that are as played out as they are offensive? We'll just go back to drinking our elitist lattes and let you get on with your very important work.

Anonymous said...

i was at the tea parties!! they were great!! ur just a liberal that cant see what ur own party is doing...dont listen to these people the people at the tea parties are pure patriots!!!!

god bless america!!!

p.s.baby killing is wrong prolife!!

Gabby said...

The sad thing is that my family fits into the group of people protesting, my Grandmother swears that she heard Obama claim to be the Messiah in a speech he made, and my sister on her Facebook lists her Political views as "anyone but Obama. I have to listen to it on a regular basis and I still dont understand.

Anonymous said...

There are many vile protest signs above, but lets not be the pot calling the kettle black.



You'll need to scroll down the pages a little. I agree that those signs are offensive, and laughed at some of your over the top commentary; however, one could go to any protest and find offensive signs, regardless of political affiliation.

Anonymous said...

Ok, what exactly is you party DOING.

Also, the crazy people at these events do realize that Obama cannot be both communist and NAZI.

Rhett said...

who the hell cares about your petty "free speech and dissent" argument?! keep your eyes on the prize here people, maybe you need to go back and look at those signs again instead of having pointless bickering sessions with each other. Go fucking change something out there, educate someone, convince someone to watch something other than Fox News, explain to someone what Socialism REALLY is.......do something! for fucks sake!

Bernard said...

Nate...As an admirer of propaganda art..I would have to think you knew what you were doing when you created your sign...Its style, and its historic context is a big part of what makes it racist....Come on. By the way, although I disagree with your message, the artwork is great...Its just that I like seeing this kind of stuff on the walls of Civil Rights Museums or Holocaust displays. If you are actually buying into your imagery...you are one scarey dude.

numb3r said...

For those interested there's a site setup with a ton of hilarious tea party signs and captions. Definitely worth a look www.teapartylol.com

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can photoshop too. It's funny how you leftists are so afraid of everyday Americans that you'd go to the trouble of creating many (not all) of these pics.

Nov 3rd 2010...real change is coming!

Anonymous said...

You moderate comments I see, how typical of the left. I won't bother to ck back to see if my previous comment got through.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you can clearly see from the previous 50+ comments that we only approve people who agree with us.

Mark said...

Not exactly objective, are you? Pictures from (among others) Huffington Post and Wonkette? How about from other sources rather than obviously left-wing websites?

Oh wait... you're a lefty. Sorry.

Anonymous said...


If you re-read the intro of this blog entry, you'll see that it does not claim to be a complete and full account of the tea party protests. It was meant to refute the ridiculous "guarantee" that there would be no offensive signs.

No one was suggesting that all (or even most) of the signs from the tea party protests were this bad. I'm sure there were plenty of signs that were not offensive.

Yes, some of the photos were found on so-called left-wing websites. You can say that's not being objective, but how objective are the right-wing sites that claim that signs like these didn't exist when they clearly did?

Anonymous said...

Funny they compared Obama to Hitler considering everyone one of them have such nazi like beliefs.
Honestly, you give these guys a gun and they pretty much become terrorist themselves. It won't be long before I see some of them shooting and killing people.

Anonymous said...

Americans at their finest hour....sigh.

I wonder if any of these morons (or is it morans, lol) whine about people who can't "speak English?"

Judy said...

I just had no idea that people hated Barack Obama so much. I feel like heeding the advice of Buffalo Springfield, "You'd better stop children, what's that sound, everybody look what's going down." I am even more glad now that I have seen this that I went to the Rally to Restore Sanity to express my affirmation of a different segment of Americans.

mike said...

What a great organization for idiots to gather! I never saw so many dumb racists in my life! None of these people are Americans! Just a bunch of morons!

Anonymous said...

I agree with nate. Also any regulation of free speech is not american. Its funny i'd like to ask some of the people on this blog that think these people are racist morons, and who think free speech should be governd, how long have you or your family lived in america? I only ask because you by your comments have no clue about core american values. If you say it out loud you might understand... sound it out... F R E E SPEECH, wait hold on, if something is free that means its not bound up, or tied down, or govern, regulated, controlled, restricted... wait thats right ITS FREE... if you say it enough with time it will start making since.

Anonymous said...

Oh Anonymous, thank you for joining the conversation a few years late to reiterate points already made about 30 comments up. Based on the quality of your spelling and grammar, I could guess that maybe you have issues with reading comprehension as well.

So I'll just help you out with this and repeat what has already been explained ad nauseum:

We think we've clarified the free speech questions enough at this point, especially since, as we've also pointed out already, the intent of this post was never to call for censorship of ideas that we disagree with.

But thanks for sharing your views on good old American values!

Anonymous said...

You know its funny. I didnt realize in an informal blog that spelling and grammar was important... i write on here not to be graded' but to quickly voice an opinion. I do know how to read dates and the last post is dated 2011. Awkard that seems to be the current year. Wait is "slutopia" even a word? And u mock my grammar? And you might want to re read all the posts, people did think regulated speak was a good idea. Dont get offended because everyone doesn't want big brother telling them what to think. Speech is your thoughts verbilized. My spelling and grammar do suck, i admit that. But i could be ignorant and accuse you of insulting me. You hater of the under educated. I didn't get to go to school instead i was working trying to pay for all the government sponsored programs to the under priveliged people in this nation who deserve an education. I own three biz, so dont think im some poor stupid white guy. Instead i decided making money doesnt involve proper grammar, i pay a girl to correct my important docs. See the beauty of america is that u can persue your own personal happiness, mine isnt grammar. I do though enjoy hiring people to do that for me. Just as these people enjoy putting up ignorant posters, or you enjoy insulting people instead of addressing the points made in post. Its a wonderful country when all can agree to disagree. But not so wonderful when one view is silenced.

Lilith said... We should all have the right to express our opinions, but we shouldn't have the right to express offensive, racist and otherwise ridiculously ignorant hate speech. We shouldn't support that kind of 'dissent' from either side.

"We shouldn't have the right to express..." your words not mine. Before insulting, id try thinking first. All the grammar in the world cant make empty statements true. The blog may not have been about censorship but your words are...

Anonymous said...

Wow, okay. There's a lot wrong with that comment, but I'm just going to address these three points:

1. This blog was originally written in April of 2009. The comments by Nate that you "agree" with, were posted in 2009. The comment by me (Lilith) that you quoted and the explanation of what was really meant by that comment were also both posted in 2009. So yes, you have come late to this conversation and are rehashing old issues already settled.

2. The note about your grammar and spelling was a joke. You questioned whether we were immigrants because we apparently didn't have a grasp on good old American values, but you didn't seem to have a grasp on the English language. Well that and the fact that you completely ignored our extensive explanations of the free speech issue.

3. As for the quote about free speech. Like I said, that has been explained ad nauseum. We have both clarified what I meant by that statement and what our actual views are on free speech. We clarified that back in 2009 when the post was written.

So we'd appreciate it you would not continue to harp on old points that have already been explained and continue to derail the conversation from the actual topic at hand. If you have anything new or on topic to add, please feel free to do so.

Anonymous said...

If the current bill the senate just passed (National Defense Authorization Act)becomes law I bet the protest signs will change a bit....

Lee Shin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.