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The right’s “poverty pimp” blast: How a racist trope reared its ugly ahead — again

One of the more amusing aspects of modern conservatism is its sad attempts to be modern. In fact, the term “modern conservative” is a bit of an oxymoron, at least when it comes to culture, comedy and art. (When it comes to news and propaganda they are as up to the minute as it gets.) This week’s election provides a perfect example of a cultural misfire that fails so badly and so crudely that you would have to feel sorry for them if it weren’t so obnoxious. These posters were plastered all over Los Angeles during the campaign:

That’s supposed to be Maxine Waters, the Democratic congresswoman from Watts. Now, the art itself is obviously derivative of the great guerrilla artist Robbie Conal, known for his gnarly street post depictions of politicians. Here are some of the more famous examples:


tarting in the 1980s these posters appeared on buildings and electric poles in California and elsewhere and became an iconic style of political commentary through art. This Maxine Waters poster artist clearly aspires to be a Conal knockoff and the work itself is competent, if also obvious. Indeed, if this artist could have restrained himself and taken a more subtle approach it could have been a political comment in itself. Taking the liberal iconography of Robbie Conal and using it for conservative purposes is a clever idea. But as with virtually all of right-wing culture, subtlety is not in their vocabulary so they had to go over-the-top with the obnoxious racist “poverty pimp” title and the even more racist commentary underlying the portrait.




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