L.A. Times Finds Man Who 1st Painted Obama as Joker

| by Reason Foundation
by Matt Welch

The L.A. Times tracked down the guy who first put Joker paint on Obama's face (though not the word "Socialism"), and discovered ... a 20-year-old college student from Chicago.

Bored during his winter school break, Firas Alkhateeb, a senior history major at the University of Illinois, crafted the picture of Obama with the recognizable clown makeup using Adobe's Photoshop software. [...]

On Jan. 18, Alkhateeb uploaded the image to photo-sharing site Flickr (shown at left). Over the next two months, he amassed just a couple thousand hits, he said.

Then the counter exploded after a still-anonymous rogue famously found his image, digitally removed the references to Time Magazine, captioned the picture with the word "socialism" and hung printed copies around L.A., making headlines. [...]

"After Obama was elected, you had all of these people who basically saw him as the second coming of Christ," Alkhateeb said. "From my perspective, there wasn't much substance to him."

"I abstained from voting in November," he wrote in an e-mail. "Living in Illinois, my vote means close to nothing as there was no chance Obama would not win the state." If he had to choose a politician to support, Alkhateeb said, it would be Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

Patrick Courrielche wrote about "The Artist Formerly Known as Dissident" 10 days ago.

Read more on OpposingViews.com: Is Obama "Joker" Poster Racist?