Obey the Establishment: Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Art Message
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?