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Obey the Establishment: Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Art Message

What future does the man behind the Obama "Hope" poster really want to create?

by
Oleg Atbashian

Bio

May 2, 2013 - 3:00 pm

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. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one.

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 intellectual and artistic 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?

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Top Rated Comments   
"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." Shepard Fairey

God did not tell us not to take another human life; God has told us "You shall not murder," which means we are not to take another human life for some reason other than self-defense. Taking another human life in self-defense is just, and is a rightful Christian value, because those who would murder us, or our families, or our neighbors, have taken on Satan's evil values, and God has told us to "hate evil." Hating evil and using defense weapons (semi-automatic rifles and handguns) against evil men with assault weapons (semi-automatic rifles and handguns) is a courageous expression of Christian values.

“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men [with Christian values] stand ready in the night to visit violence on those [with Satan's values] who would do us harm.” George Orwell
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“There are some things so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them.”
~George Orwell
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Pacifism is a frequent theme in Fairey’s posters."

There are a lot of these types of pacifist around DC and colleges. Besides the liars (who are using pacifism as a weapon to criticize one side) the soft-headed ones' argument boils down to "It takes two to fight, so if we don't, they won't." Obviously not a well thought out argument, but it appeals to emotion - the main, unacknowledged driver of people on the soft Left (i.e. the useful idiots).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (46)
All Comments   (46)
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Considering the source, maybe he considers "Satan's" endorsement as somethign pooitive?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Subliminal" Dude, I don't think that word means what you think it means. There ain't a damn single thing about this stuff subliminal.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Pacifism is a frequent theme in Fairey’s posters. "

No, that's surrender you're seeing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It always cracks me up how Orwell is lifted up as a hero of the left, when government is always the villain in his story. And too little freedom is always the problem.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree with Jacobite; George Orwell yearned for utopian Socialism, the kind that doesn't exist and can't exist on Earth. So Orwell finally realized that actual Socialism always turns out wrong, always becoming the enemy of mankind, and most interestingly, real Socialism always becomes the enemy of the very thing all Socialists constantly harp about: equality.

“It had long been realized that the only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism. Wealth and privilege are most easily defended when they are possessed jointly. The so-called "abolition of private property" [Communist Manifesto] meant in effect the concentration of property in far fewer hands than before... In the years following the Revolution it [The Socialist Party of Oceania] was able to step into this commanding position almost un-opposed because the whole process was represented as an act of collectivization… It had always been assumed that if the Capitalist Class were expropriated Socialism must follow; and unquestionably the Capitalists had been expropriated. Factories, mines, land, houses, transport, everything had been taken away from them; and since these things were no longer private property it followed that they must be public property. Ingsoc [Socialist Principles of Oceania], which grew out of the earlier Socialist movement and inherited its phraseology, has in fact carried out the main item in the Socialist program with the result; foreseen and intended beforehand, that economic inequality has been made permanent.” George Orwell – 1984
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Orwell was a very unique individual. Because he was unable to fit in to normal human society, he (like all Leftists) desired the destruction of that society. But he had an opportunity to observe actual Leftism in action in Spain, where Communists spent as much time and effort in hunting down and executing fellow non-Com Leftists as they did fighting Franco. So Orwell was left supporting utopian Socialism while rejecting actual Leftism, as in the USSR. He was also astute enough to observe that no capitalist or corporation could, or ever did, force anyone to do anything. Only government can employ force to enforce obedience. You can bet your ranch that this artiste, Shepard, is some kind of freak, who has 'issues' with normal society.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They misunderstood his stories to be how-tos rather than warnings.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"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."

I find the phrase "Fairey addresses monolithic institutional authority" especially entertaining. It gives the impression that Fairey might actually oppose institutional authority, yet given he is working for a sitting President and the Democratic Party, it seems to me he is actually rather enthusiastic about institutional authority and its propaganda wing.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
By the way, the NRA logo is a bald eagle gripping crossed rifles; it is NOT a dove with a target on it. I wonder if the NRA can sue him for misrepresentation?

Probably they'll laugh it off instead. "We don't know which NRA he has in mind, but it clearly isn't us."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just in case no one has pointed out Fairey's artistic license --

That's clearly an AR-15 in the poster; why it has a Soviet AK-47 magazine is beyond me. (Probably because AR-15 magazines don't curve forward far enough.) I do not recognize the blunderbuss-shaped bell where the flash suppressor should be.

Something else that catches my attention is the bayonet lug, or lack thereof. (You may recall that bayonet lugs were among the scary features prohibited by the Clinton-era assault-weapons ban; rifles with bayonet lugs are prohibited to this day in Massachusetts, Connecticut, California, and some other places.) This poster suggests that a rifle WITHOUT the bayonet lug is still scary, and presumably should therefore be banned, in spite of the fact that there's not a single case of gun violence in America, from 1994 to the present, in which a bayonet lug made the slightest difference.

It's a small thing, I know, but the symbolism interests me. Twenty years ago we banned bayonet lugs; banning them had no effect on anything. Ten years ago the ban expired, and THAT did not affect anything. Now we want a new ban, and we want to ban rifles WITHOUT bayonet lugs. Why? Never mind why.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What you're calling Fairey's "Artistic license" is just plain ignorance. Shepard Fairey couldn't tell you the difference between an AK-47 and an AR-15, and has probably never even seen one or touched one in his life.

This is true of most anti-gun activists. They never let their complete ignorance stand in the way of their fervently held opinions.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The lesson is that Fairey's never seen a rifle long enough to understand what he's looking at.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Shepard must really hate Muslims. About 20,000 time more.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I can't argue with a couple points on Fairey's poster - "God saves and Satan Invests"

Love the irony of US government nonmilitary agencies buying up (i.e., investing in) ammo
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, of course they are. They can't take our guns without a big protest and an obvious show of what they are (tyrants). What's the next best thing? Buy up all the ammo so we can have guns just no ammo.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"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." Shepard Fairey

God did not tell us not to take another human life; God has told us "You shall not murder," which means we are not to take another human life for some reason other than self-defense. Taking another human life in self-defense is just, and is a rightful Christian value, because those who would murder us, or our families, or our neighbors, have taken on Satan's evil values, and God has told us to "hate evil." Hating evil and using defense weapons (semi-automatic rifles and handguns) against evil men with assault weapons (semi-automatic rifles and handguns) is a courageous expression of Christian values.

“We sleep safe in our beds because rough men [with Christian values] stand ready in the night to visit violence on those [with Satan's values] who would do us harm.” George Orwell
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Technically this is not true; the term means "to kill a person", as it is also used for executions. However, the fact the the Bibie strongly advocates execution of murderers tell us what was intended by verse.

Part of the problem is that the term "ten commandments" is itself a mistranslation; they cannot be read out of the context of the rest of the Bible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The Hebrew Bible contains numerous prohibitions against unlawful killing, but also allows for justified killing in the context of warfare (1Kings 2:5–6), capital punishment (Leviticus 20:9–16) and self-defense (Exodus 22:2–3). The New Testament is in agreement that murder is a grave moral evil, and maintains the Old Testament view of bloodguilt."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments

The newer Bible translations reflect the latest scholarship, and they translate the command "You shall no murder."

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus%2020&version=NKJV
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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