Design View | Articles and opinion on design professionalism, technique and culture by Andy Rutledge

Designers as Pawns and Useful Idiots

October 10, 2011

Attention Designers: President Barack Obama wants to hire* you! Get to work now making propaganda posters for the U.S. government and get paid…nothing! I know this sounds like unpaid spec work—and it is—but this is not about you. It’s about the important people: the people in the government!

At long last, this is what you’ve been waiting for. Our President has an exciting new initiative, with a website and everything! And it’s tailor made for you! Here’s the call to arms action from President Obama…

“Obama for America is seeking poster submissions from artists across the country illustrating why we support President Obama's plan to create jobs now, and why we'll re-elect him to continue fighting for jobs for the next four years.”

Now, designers, you won’t be paid for this government service. But hell, you’re just a designer. It’s not like your work or ideas are valuable or anything. Stop being so selfish. Besides, you didn’t get your skills and education on your own. The rest of us paid for it. So remember: what’s yours is ours. But I digress…

Enlist Sign up now in Obama Corps at Obama for America and help our Dear President to follow in the footsteps of other great propagandist leaders who, throughout history, have called for revolution in the name of workers. Just like Mao, Lenin, Castro, and Marx, our President Obama needs posters and artwork to shape the discourse and reshape society while he’s, as he puts it, “fighting for jobs.” Never mind the fact that fighting for jobs is a non sequitur and has nothing to do with how people become gainfully employed. But give him a break! Mr. Obama’s only leadership experience came in the form of organizing unpaid workers in the community. Go with what you know, I say.

Now, the problem with spending other people’s money is that eventually you run out…which is why President Obama needs your help again, designers. The President’s brilliant plan involves a propaganda campaign built with the help on the backs of unpaid useful idiots. Pay no attention to the fact that President Obama is essentially following the script written by Lenin and the Social Democratic Labor Party (has a nice, familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?) in the early days of the Bolshevik Revolution. President Obama, however, much prefers you think of it as community service. This first part of the plan, where you fit in, works basically like this:

Design Workers Unite!

In the new economy, designers are to be vital (if unpaid) instruments of the State. You’ll be “employed” (in community service) to distract from facts, The Constitution, and logical arguments in favor of catchy slogans coupled with emotionally gripping imagery. President Obama needs you to help the government to disengage the mind so that proletariat thinks less and feels more. Are you up to the task? Can you help our Dear President to continue to fight for jobs?

One little problem, though. “Fighting for jobs” basically means fighting to take money/property away from the only private citizens who actually hire people, so that the government can use it to fuel the unconstitutionally bloated government bureaucracy and repay unions for their hard work in the 2008 election campaign. If facts and history are of interest to you, you might want to make note of this next part: This is precisely what President Obama did with the last stimulus plan, as illustrated quite clearly both in newspaper articles and on the government’s own website to track stimulus spending. All of the money (printed by Obama and taken from private citizens) went almost exclusively to already-employed government workers and those suckling at the government tit. Job stimulus? In no way was this job stimulus. As the facts show, it was a government slush fund. Period.

But just forget all of that for now. You’ve got work to do!

The Slogans

Now, designers, your government has already written the slogans, so here are some of those that have been approved by Obama’s Unionized Workers’ Democratic Party (aka the SEIU), as taken directly from the page (with commentary where appropriate):

As already noted, this is foolishness. Fighting for jobs only happens when by force of arms you steal a job from someone else or when your aim is to coerce someone into hiring workers when intelligent economic sense dictates that they should not. Hey, just like how unions work!

You know, if it were as simple as just making “more jobs” or “getting Americans back to work”—be they teachers, veterans, or designers—you’d wonder why we didn’t just do that. Slogans like this seem to ignore the fact that doing so is impossible right now because Obama’s government is destroying the conditions that allow for hiring. Seemingly the only effective thing we could do about that is to vote out those leading us astray and then elect leaders who will leave business owners alone and stop taking their money/property away so that they can hire and produce unmolested. Oh, hey! Hello 2012.

Hmm. As of 2008, millionaires and billionaires (the top 1% of wage earners) paid almost 40% of all federal income taxes paid in the United States…which is ridiculously offensive. What’s more, the top 50% of wage earners pays ALL of the federal income taxes collected by the government. That’s right; nearly 50% of wage earners in the U.S. pay no federal income tax (see the 2008 chart) and yet they vote for tax increases on the other 50%. Perfect! Just like in every other socialist revolution. Our time is coming!

Oh, and since 2008 things have been getting even more obtuse in favor of the leaches that have no “skin in the game” (to use President Obama’s parlance). If you don’t understand that our tax system is already wildly out of proportion in unfairly penalizing job creators by exempting medium- and low-wage earners from any taxation responsibility, you must have studied math in a school run by government-union workers and teachers that fell under the direction of a non-Constitutional government agency (a public school).

And surely you’re informed enough to know that “class” references are constructs of leftist and Marxist ideologues whose purpose is to pit one segment of society against another in an effort to divide and conquer. The spoils, by the way, go to the ruling class (government).

Okay, designers, are you still with me? Are you still ready to be a useful idiot in President Obama’s Democratic Workers’ Revolution? Are you ready to keep him fighting for jobs (whatever that means)? Good!

You’ve got a Big Brother as an ally!

Now, as a soldier in Barack Obama’s Unionized Workers’ Democratic Party you have a duty to let the government watchdogs know about any subversive information and about those who are spreading it. To augment and support this propaganda campaign, President Obama has launched a website to help track those who are spreading information misinformation about him. Help the government track down and monitor the subversives!

If you see something, say something!

Toward more effective propaganda

Okay, enough of this amateur propagandist stuff. Let’s do this right.

If you’re going to do the responsible thing and forego your profit in exchange for engaging in class warfare community service, I believe that it’s best to say what you mean. Yes, yes, I know that the SEIU has already approved some candidate slogans, but these stop short of being direct and factual. Let’s not mince words. Try these on for size in your propaganda posters:

That’s better. If you’re going to say something, say what you mean.

Designers, the most important thing in your lives—the government—needs you. Fulfill your implicit social contract and do your service to your Dear Leader. Gone are the days of liberty and equal justice. It’s time for equality and social justice. As President Obama told the Congressional Bigots and Defenders of Racism Black Caucus, stop complainin’ and put on your marching shoes! C’mon designers, it’s time to work for free! Let’s do this.

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