What the fuck, Dan? Seriously, what the fuck?
That painting of the President sitting astride a majestic unicorn (while wearing nothing but what God gave him on the way in) has been making its rounds on the internet for a while now. (on Cracked: the Barack Obama Topic Page) However, due to the rather convoluted nature of artist Dan Lacey's thought processes, not everybody really "gets" this particular series of paintings. To really understand what's going on with President Obama and his unicorn, it helps to know the history of exactly how Dan lost his mind.
Faithmouse (on Cracked: The 5 Circles of Baffling Webcomic Hell) was a webcomic about a mouse named Faith, a teddy bear named Timothy, a liberal star-nosed mole named Ms. Starmole, a gay bear named Gay Bear, the Pope, and the occasional fetus.
In its early days, the strip seemed to be angling for syndication. Goofy cartoon animals made dippy jokes and sometimes didn't even mention their relationships with Christ.
As Faithmouse moved into more contentious political territory, though, it started to demonstrate (however unintentionally) how great the divide had grown between mainstream America and certain factions of the extreme right wing, not so much in the way of actual beliefs as in simply what could be considered fucking appropriate.
Seriously, Dan, what the fuck?
More striking than his absense of tact, though, was the confusion, the way Lacey's comics just kept getting harder and harder to follow. Looking at some of these strips, it's hard to even tell if there's supposed to be a joke in there, or a point, or what.
For instance, what is Pope John Paul doing with Terri Schiavo, and what the hell does it have to do with communism and Nazi Germany?
And, you know how political cartoonists will sometimes try to combine some current piece of pop culture with whatever political point they're trying to make at the time, even if it doesn't make any sense? Well, if you mix gay cowboy movies with anti-abortion legislation, the results are obviously going to be horrifying, so why the fuck would you fucking do that?!?
And what in the hell could this even possibly-
Okay, so that last one was actually kind of adorable, but we still don't get it.
At first, Faithmouse's fanbase was intensely conservative, in both their political leanings and their numbers, but what the internet does best is make fun of people who leave themselves open for it, and Dan was not going to be the exception. In 2004, websites like Something Awful and Portal of Evil took a good look at the comic, stood up as one, and shouted, "What the Fuck Is This Shit?" Dan, not one to be picky about where his audience came from, was overjoyed and waded right into the writhing mass of his critics, just as friendly as a Care Bear on a day pass in Hug-a-Land. It was weird.
We just figured we'd throw this image in because it's awesome, and also to give an example of the concept of "weird."
And then, in 2006, Faithmouse lost the support of its base, the hardcore right wing Christian webcomic fans. We can even pinpoint the exact date: April 25th. That was the day when Lacey posted his first naked mouse cartoon. Just fucking sprung it on them with no warning. We've covered the more explicit areas with the likeness of our Commander in Chief, as painted by Dan Lacey himself.
For whatever reason, Dan's new friends at SA and POE fully supported the comic's change in direction. Perhaps it was the sweet, harmless message of the comic that charmed them, or maybe it was the mouse tits.
It's tempting at this point to say something like, "and it was all mouse porn after that," but the story is actually a little more complicated. That's not to say that there wasn't mouse porn. There was mouse porn. Hell, a new mouse character was created specifically to up the quotient of mouse porn: Taint, Faith's trashy sister, seen here in a rare non-porn situation.
Yes, here she is with the unborn fetus that crawls out of her vagina and does old Saturday Night Live routines.
It was still Faithmouse, though, and there were still these perplexing glimpses into the world of extreme right wing politics, only now they were interspersed with horrible cartoon pornography. So, you'd get some kind of heartfelt plea to put an end to the practice of people soaking their hands in bowls of pureed human fetuses.
And then you'd get a cartoon where those same characters go swimming together, bare-ass naked. With the Pope. Once again, we're using the face of President Barack Obama to cover up everybody's bathing suit area.
Pope Benedict still has his boxers on, but for how long?
He also started taking requests. For instance, this Mallard Fillmore comic was suggested by somebody on the Something Awful boards.
In case you can't tell, that's the cast of Doonesbury in that VW van in the last panel.
Eventually, Dan left Faithmouse behind, citing a lack of funds, and he moved on to selling small portraits on eBay. However, there was a short period where it looked like the comic would be picked up by a porno site called Fleshbot. Here's Lacey's first and only Fleshbot Faithmouse comic.
More recently, UK newpaper The Christian Times expressed interest in carrying the strip. Here's the first comic that Lacey sent them.
Dan has not heard back from the Christian Times.
After Faithmouse, Dan started selling tiny oil paintings of public figures and popular internet memes on eBay. For his inspiration, he would mostly just follow the money. Whoever was in the news, whatever the people were searching for on Google, they'd all get portraits: Barack Obama, Tay Zonday, that rabbit with the pancake on its head.
Popular subjects would get multiple portraits, and if you paint the same thing enough times, you're going to want to spice things up a little.
How about Barack Obama as a muppet?
Or maybe McCain could have a pancake on his head.
It just kind of ballooned from there. Like guests at some kind of enormous socialist breakfast table, everybody got a pancake.
Oprah Winfrey with a pancake on her head.
Kim Jong Il, ill, with a pancake on his head.
Hillary Clinton with a pancake on her head.
Sarah Palin and Tina Fey sharing a pancake on their heads.
Hurricane Gustav with a pancake on its head.
The Fall of WTC Building 7 with a pancake on its head.
The concept of Pi with a pancake on its head.
Barack Obama with a slice of pie on his head.
The whole phenomenon is probably best explained in this educational video.
Lacey also painted a couple of pancake portraits for Fleshbot, the pornographic website that tried to revive Faithmouse.
The likeness of the President once again shields you from pure filth.
Fleshbot never used any of Lacey's artwork ever again.
When Barack Obama took the Democratic nomination on June 3rd, Dan Lacey decided to commemorate the event in the only way that made sense to him, with sarcasm and confusing sexual undertones.
Since this is the internet we're talking about, here, the unicorn painting ended up being one of the most popular things that Dan's ever done. It was the object of mockery, scorn, and even actual anger on blogs from both sides of the political fence. Ever eager to attact more attention to his eBay listings, Dan knew what he had to do.
Considering the horrors that Lacey was responsible for bringing into the world with his webcomic (not to mention the pancake porn), it's kind of surprising that President Obama and his unicorn (her name is Penelope) turned out to be the lightning rod that's attracted the most outrage of all his work.