Jon McNaughton’s “Obamanation”

Do you remember the painting below from three years ago, in which, as I put it at the time, tackiness and theocratic tendencies reached self-parodic proportions?

That painting was called “One Nation Under God” and is not to be confused with “One Nation Under Cthulhu”:

Now Jon McNaughton, the painter of “One Nation Under God”, has decided to depict the Obama Presidency as it “really” is.

Go here to see the interactive painting with explanations of what every image symbolizes.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Kay

    This link is an excellent parody of the “One Nation Under God.” http://www.shortpacked.com/McNaughton%20Fine%20Art.htm.

    He was art work was also pulled from BYU bookstores. So he’s even too crazy for the Mormons. http://blog.mcnaughtonart.com/2011/04/byu-censors-artwork-for-being-too.html.

  • Makoto

    So.. much.. wrong.. argh.

    I think I’ll go with the low-hanging fruit, the teleprompter. So strange that every single speaker at the RNC used teleprompters (except Clint Eastwood, who went with a chair instead, with.. interesting results). Why are they still using this “attack”?

  • jesse needham

    It’s too bad the painting is well crafted… I found mostly lies and absurdities i.e. “fast and furious” made under Obama, the white house christmas tree shows support for muslim brotherhood. terroist sympathiser, and of course… gays are a physical threat to our soldiers. There are two reason that I stay away from strong opinion in my own paintings. one, it foregrounds the aesthetics and can turn people off easily, even if they agree. Secondly, communicating these ideas belong in conversation and debate. If the artist discovers that he was mistaken about one of the many ideas here, it could cause some embarrassment because he can’t really take it back.

    • http://heartheretic.blogspot.com/ Lance Armstrong

      While I disagree with the content, I actually really like his execution. The painting is provocative, and starts a conversation. He obviously put a lot of (sloppy) thought into it. That’s something – it’s better than a lot of the political discourse I’m seeing. Also, “Obamanation!” Hey, that’s a witty double entendre and a play on his name! Good job.

      There are two reason that I stay away from strong opinion in my own paintings. one, it foregrounds the aesthetics and can turn people off easily, even if they agree. Secondly, communicating these ideas belong in conversation and debate. If the artist discovers that he was mistaken about one of the many ideas here, it could cause some embarrassment because he can’t really take it back.

      Your personal approach is yours, of course. I read in this an implication that artists in general (or painters?) should not use their art for communicating strong opinions at all. I don’t agree with that even a little bit. Art can be social commentary. Art can stop us in our mental tracks and make us think about something. Art can (not in this case, since he has attached specific arguments to the image) avoid some of the pedantics that come with word-based communication. Art reaches us in a different place.

      I’m really self-conscious of being a non-artist preaching to an artist about what art is, but that’s how I see it.

    • Makoto

      Starting a conversation is one thing, but every single popup I encountered is false and trivial to disprove – that’s not starting a conversation, that’s propagating known lies via art.

      Though, as you say, at least the Obamanation thing is a clever moniker.

    • http://heartheretic.blogspot.com/ Lance Armstrong

      Makato@3.2

      Yes, the content is terrible.

  • Cuttlefish

    My own verses are very rarely subtle, but this guy makes me look positively timid in comparison.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    McNaughton is still holding back.

    You wanna do a major allegorical painting, you gotta go to Hieronymus Bosch country!

  • Katkinkate

    Why, in the last one, is there a plane flying into a tower? That is a Bush thing. In fact the whole war/economy scenario is a relic of Bush.

    • John Morales

      Sure looks like the airplane is gonna clear that building, to me.

      (Which means 9/11 wouldn’t have happened under an Obama administration :))

    • http://flipc.blogspot.com/ FlipC

      It was a complaint that Obama was using Air Force One for personal travel and the fly-past of New York for publicity reasons; because we all know that Bush II: Son of Bush did no such things when he was in office. In exactly the same way we know Bush never used a teleprompter and was perfectly articulate during such impromptu speeches.

      I’m from the UK and I know how much of this is bullshit; surely those who actually live in the USA can’t be fooled by this?

  • Katkinkate

    Sorry, should have read further before my silly comment. The juxtaposition of Airforce 1 superficially looking like it’s flying into the UN was just a coincidence and not an attempt to link 911 with Obama after all. (close sarcasm)

  • Dave Ricks

    Merciful Cthulhu will eat the children first.


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