Man Pushes ‘The Big O’ as Hand Salute for Obama

Rick Husong, the owner of Los Angeles creative agency Loyalty Inc., is pushing “The Big O” as hand salute for Obama by urging people to download it and put it on posters and T-shirts. He wants to make a graphic impression similar to that of artist Shepard Fairey.

Thebigo Some aren’t impressed: “Among the hundreds of comments posted on the Whispers site were those comparing it to a gang gesture, a Nazi salute, or worse. ‘This is how Sieg Heil got started. And, no I’m not saying Obama is Hitler. I just think people should be careful about slipping into a personality cult for a charismatic leader,’ wrote Jake of Tennessee.”

Creator Rick Husong: “Our symbol ‘O’ is about much more than Barack Obama. It’s a symbol of unity, hope, solidarity, and an end to the divisiveness that has plagued this country for too long. It is the peace sign of our generation; a sign for those who are tired of the fear, the hatred, the greed, and the ignorance. There will be resistance, democracy requires it, but we believe that the good in the American people will persevere.”

(via americablog)


  1. Stupid Loyalty says

    Be weary of anything that comes out of an ad agency, particularly one called Loyalty Inc. “The peace sign of our generation”… oh please. Enthusiasm is great for Obama but not when it’s this contrived and self-serving. I’m sure the agency will be using this as a case study for when they pitch the Red Bull or Axe Spray accounts.

  2. Stupid Loyalty says

    Be weary of anything that comes out of an ad agency, particularly one called Loyalty Inc. “The peace sign of our generation”… oh please. Enthusiasm is great for Obama but not when it’s this contrived and self-serving. I’m sure the agency will be using this as a case study for when they pitch the Red Bull or Axe Spray accounts.

  3. says

    Doesn’t this provide confirmation that Obamamania is nothing more than a cult phenomena? By the way: why does Obama want to remove federal oversight of the Teamsters Union that has been in place since 1989 to monitor mob influence? While I find the continued coverage of Obama’s celebrity amusing I really would like to know why this politican from the South Side of Chicago is making deals with the Teamsters that would benefit organized crime. Is it okay to ask questions like this — you know, of the substantive variety — in a campaign? More important: is it reasonable to expect Obama to answer such questions beyond his customary chanting of slogans?

  4. noah says

    Okay, do you love the comments about “cult of personality,” blah, blah, “Hitler”?

    Let’s take a step back and look at the “cult of personality, corruption, disdain for the U.S. Constitution” that has existed throughout the Bush Administration! It’s amazing. All of the Rethugs who wrote books deifying/canonizing George W. Bush as the greatest president. Hitler had Goebbels, Bush has Rove. Stalin had Pravada. Bush has Fox News (and Rush Limbaugh).

    Oh, shocking, I compared Bush to Hitler! George Bush hasn’t killed millions (well, maybe a few 100,000 Iraqis died but that wasn’t genocide). Bush didn’t throw away the Geneva convention and legitimize secret camps where torture occurs. Uh, well…

    But that’s the thing, it’s OK to use such ridiculous words as “cult,” “fascism,” or “Hitler” to describe Obama but one dare not use such terms to describe a Republican.

    Last week, Dan Abrams eviscerated the duplicitous, scumbag Ben Stein, a longtime Republican operative, for tossing out such memes against Obama.

    Why are so many Americans dumber than bricks and willing to accept this crap?

    I’m sure the Dixie Chicks were feeling some of the cultish devotion when devotees of Herr Bush threatened to kill them for daring to say Bush was a failure.

  5. Pete says

    Does seem like the Hitler propaganda posters. For an agency, sure seems like they need to do some homework.

  6. Jimmyboyo says

    The whole “nazi” thing has been used so many times since the real nazis to describe somebody that somebody else doesn’t like that it has lost all meaning


    Where is the Obama campaign involved with this? It was a stupid idea from a singular and indipendent ad agency trying to jump on the bandwagon.

    This has little to do with cultishness and more to do with idiocy of an individual.

    Also….try 1992= independent Justice dept review board set up to monitor the teamsters to root out corruption as vs your 1989.

    How much do you really know about this subject that has your panties in a twist when you don’t even know the proper year.

  7. Rad says

    Interesting, if you hold a glove fist upright, the clenched fingers make a “Big M”, will they do the same symbolic poster for McCain?

    I am hearing “Hitler” and “Nazi” coming up more and more frequently as a descriptor for an Obama issue. Someone is feeding those threads into the media as punch points. It’s sickening to me that this is how low [opposition] will go to smear the other candidate. And yes, I do suspect that these feeds are nothing more than crap that some conservative think tank came up with as a way to try and stop the Obama momentum. This “Big O” symbolism not only looks like garbage , it’s also trademark infringement for

  8. 24play says


    What’s with the new screen name? Were people no longer responding to your silly ad hominem provocations as ANOTHERDEMOCRATICIDIOT, so you retired it, just like THATSRICH?

    Nobody cares about the Teamsters crap or Pelosi’s suggestion that Chet Whatshisname should be Obama’s VP.

    Sucks being a troll when nobody will play with you, doesn’t it?

  9. noah says

    “South Side of Chicago”…


    What does his working in poor communities in Chicago have to do with squat? Do you know anything about South Side of Chicago? And, are you implying that somehow being from Chicago makes someone more inclined to some kind of behavior?

    Hmm…So, are the executives who ran Enron from Chicago? Is Dick Cheney from Chicago? Is recently indicted Sen Ted Stevens of Alaska from Chicago?

    Since Obama grew up in Hawaii and went to college in New York and Cambridge, do those count?

    You imply that Obama is trying allow the mafia back in to control the Teamsters. I did a Google news search and couldn’t find anything. Could you provide some facts to back up your assertion?

    Gay Republican robots: how much good has George W. Bush done for gays? Oh, that’s right not much. Under his administration, his staff members tried remove anti-discrimination policies in the federal government, fired well trained linguists from the Military, used anti-gay propaganda to win elections, etc.

    And John McCain? He’s been happy enough to endorse the anti-gay marriage movement in California (got to build up support amongst the bigots), is against ending DADT, does not support federal law to prevent discrimination in housing and employment (ENDA), and, well, he’s a Republican.


    People. For f*ck’s sake, stop mindlessly repeating this cult crap. It’s a political headgame. The Republicans slimed John Kerry in 2004. They will lie, cheat, and steal and release the names of covert CIA agents to get what they want.

    Be smarter! Dissect the political arguments. Look at how their sources. Look for common, oft-repeated code words. Misinformation campaigns, putting out falsehoods and distortion of truths is the GOP practice.

    A few years ago, the Atlantic magazine ran a story that explained that to win a campaign, Karl Rove, while working on a state campaign, started a rumor that one of his candidate’s competitors was a child molester. It was a bold, sleazy lie. But it spread quickly destroying the man’s career.

    Earlier this year, it was revealed that Rove led a campaign to frame a Southern Democratic governor, Don Siegelman.,8599,1627427,00.html

    Letting the Republicans spoon feed you a diet of sh@t and accepting it gratefully has to stop.

    George W. Bush rejected a report from the EPA because the report explained all the truth behind Global Warming. He forced the report to be rewritten to suit his political needs and the needs of oil industry money men. That is how real fascism works.

    Bush has also allowed his evangelical followers to dictate science policy to minimize the impact of science discrediting their views. Again, that’s how fascism works.

  10. johnny says

    I’d be damn hesitant to use an “o”. It looks like either zero or someone prepping to give head to a rather well-endowed person. Any salute that takes two hands is rather silly, IMO.

    LOL @ the oprah/gail comment, Matt!

  11. No thanks says

    Obama: If it looks like a cult, sounds like a cult, and smells like a cult, it must be a cult.

  12. says

    “Nobody cares about the Teamsters crap or Pelosi’s suggestion that Chet Whatshisname should be Obama’s VP.”

    . . . and that’s why you are just another democratic idiot, Mr. 24Play. By the way: How much does the Obama campaign pay you to attack gay men on this board who dare challenge your crooked and homophobic presumptive nominee from the South Side of Chicago who purchased under-market-value real estate from convicted racketeer Rezko? Do you get paid $1 a post, 24Play? My you must be getting rich with all of your drivel you fucking imbecile.

  13. anon says

    Frankly, it looks kind of silly and hand gestures as political signs went the way of the Dodo in the seventies (both Nixon and Carter had their own “V” for victory stuff which seemed progressively more silly over time and was easily mocked on TV), though perhaps Reagan’s constant thumbs up semiotics was the very end.

  14. tofer david says

    if not a cult would you call it blind allegiance to a slick marketing campaign. does that work?

  15. says

    “And John McCain? He’s been happy enough to endorse the anti-gay marriage movement in California (got to build up support amongst the bigots), is against ending DADT, does not support federal law to prevent discrimination in housing and employment (ENDA), and, well, he’s a Republican.”

    Wow . . . sounds strangely like Democratic President Bill Clinton who actually signed DOMA and DADT into law!

  16. paul says

    It’s so ridiculous that I’m calling bullshit on this. The name of the “agency” and the neo-facist imagery…I think it’s a most likely a prank.

    Noah, just because George Bush is the worst president ever and because the wacko right-wing loyalists defend him no matter what, doesn’t mean that Obama doesn’t have his own twisted cult of personality. One does not negate the other.

  17. 24play says

    Tofer honey,

    Hey how’s it going? You and your crazy friends raise enough cash to bail Larry “I Blew Barack in a Limo” Sinclair outta da pokey yet?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

  18. says

    If you want to commute the criminal sentences of all those powerhouse trial lawyers and Democratic fundraisers who were convicted this year — Mel Weiss, Bill Lerach, Dickie Scruggs — then vote for Obama to ensure that corruption reigns in the Democratic Party. Yes we can!

  19. GBM says

    Did anyone else read this article and think something is pretty darn fishy about this whole affair? I’d hate to become a conspiracy theorist, but this guy Husong sounds like he’s auditioning for one of John McCain’s celebrity attack ads. Sure, people in LA can be flakey, but really? Did he really think it would be a good idea to make a symbol of unity that is “much more than Barack Obama” yet is still inescapably an “O”…hearkening back to McCain’s destrutive misquote that Obama has become a “symbol” of everything good about America? Either way, Republicans are definitely salivating over this and no doubt the 7,700 downloads and 214,000 site hits Husong brags about have been from conservative bloggers using this as fodder to stoke anti-Obama zealotry, since pro-McCsin sentiment never even sputtered enough to fizzle out.

  20. Michael Bedwell says

    With thanks to Judy Collins, let’s look at both sides now. Support for Obama isn’t entirely a “cult phenomenon” but this dated, ludicrous “symbol” idea has the unintended consequence of reinforcing the idea that it is. And shows that too many who ARE cultists haven’t awakened to smell the polls. After the Keystone Cops Repug primary series, the “Obama movement” has been virtually stopped in its tracks by doubts in the general electorate about it or him or both and by one of the least likely candidates for idolization by the Pepsi or Red Bull generation—stumbling, bumbling John McShame. Primary patters are repeating themselves in the general election. McShame wan’t their ideal choice but they had too many doubts about the other guys. Romney shat money; I’ve forgotten the exact figure, but someone calculated that he’d paid MILLIONS for EACH delegate he won. McShame has been almost behind Obama in money to spend as he was Romney. But you have to ask why with so little he’s so close to Obama and his huge war chest.

    Belief in anyone or anything, but particularly a political candidate, is like the ocean—you can swim in it—or drown in it. And, sorry Rad, but you haven’t been paying attention the last year or so if you think distaste and distrust of Obama as Messiah was the result of Repug dirty tricks rather than springing spontaneously in most people. Yes, it was exploited by slime like Limbaugh and Stein, but they didn’t create it they just feasted on its excesses. Did THEY force celebrity heavyweights like Oprah and Deepak Chopra to publicly rhapsodize that electing Obama would result in “a new consciousness,” a “higher plain”—more about the person than his platform? Excesses like this poster idea which are symbols not of Obama but Obamania, and now backfiring to, in fact, unfairly increase distrust of Obama HIMSELF.

    As incompetent as he personally is, McShame is surrounded by experienced Repug “ops” people who are masters at manipulating words and fears more than they are at creating them. Their attacks on “Obama the Celebrity” seem silly, desperate, and impotent to most of us but are probably driven by focus groups that have identified pre-existing “gut reactions” to him—or rather the “idea” of him. If such attacks were so strategically wrong-headed [which has nothing to do with Truth or Right], McShames numbers would be plummeting/Obama’s rising again. Are they?

    If such anxieties existed so early in so many Democrats, as they did in me, and I discovered in so many others, then isn’t it logical to conclude that it would exist among those less partisan, particularly those old enough to remember the visuals of blind mass movements? Hell, among all the jawdropping theater and technology of the Beijing Olympic games opening extravaganza more than one chill went up my spine, e.g., when delightful, smiling, laughing children wearing the colorful costumes representing the 73 ethnic groups in China had the flag they were carrying taken over by frozen-faced, uniformed, goose-stepping, picked-for-their-atypical-height soldiers.

    In sum, not only is this poster’s symbolism sending the wrong messages, it’s sending it about five months too late. The voters who will DECIDE who sits in the Oval Office January 20th, because they THINK they understand McShame’s substance are looking for substance NOT symbolism in his opponent.

    Obama, his campaign, and WE had better stop arguing about the latter and succeeding in communicating the former if our country is to stop being ruled by rich white straight sexist racist homophobic male militarists and Obama is not to go down in history books as little more than another Beenie Baby of politics.

  21. noah says


    Nice article but that doesn’t mean that the change would allow the mafia back in to the Teamsters.

    Also, calling Obama homophobic is a crock. Given that he scored a 9/10 on the HRC’s scorecard that’s a bullshit label. Where’s your proof of Obama’s homophobia? That he supports ending DADT? That he’s for ENDA? That he wants to give full legal equality to Civil Unions? (Obama has stated that given the political climate, he can’t get gay marriage through Congress.) That he has repeatedly gone to conservative churches to speak out for gay rights? That he has a section devoted on his web site for GLBT Americans?

    Furthermore, it’s pretty disturbing and hypocritical that you say nothing about McCain’s real record of homophobia and his utter lack of support of gay rights. But that’s pretty typical for gay McCain supporters. They always look the other way at GOP homophobia. Many just wish that they because they are white and male the GOP will overlook their gayness allowing them to benefit from the GOP’s boys’ club mentality. (Of course, given all of the closeted but publicly homophobic Republicans, the “boys’ club” must have some fun secret initiation rights.)

    HOGB: McCain supports the anti-gay marriage coalition in California. Why don’t you comment on that? McCain has zero public outreach to gays. His campaign site says zilch about gay rights. If he’s so wonderful, why is that?

    Again, Gay Republicans want to poke at Obama but generally say jack shit about the horrific legacy of hate that the GOP has created and continues generate.

    Oh happy day, for Gay Republicans who can rejoice when John McCain is president. They’ll feel so grateful when McCain does squat for gay rights but tries to appoint arch conservatives to the U.S. Supreme Court. Those jurists would happily align themselves with Anton Scalia & company.

    As for the cult of personality crap, it’s still crap. It’s a soundbite.


    Yeah, Bill Clinton is a tool. I said as much on this site (like encouraging John Kerry to support an anti-gay marriage Constitutional amendment). However, for the record, Clinton does have a history of many pro-gay achievements in office.

    But no matter how you try to frame things, you can’t match Democratic spinelessness towards the outright antipathy that the GOP espouses against gays. All of the major anti-gay leaders in the U.S. are aligned with the GOP. Those are facts. Dobson, Wildmon, etc. All are supporting John McCain. All supported George W. Bush.

  22. Michael Bedwell says

    Noah, you’re totally wrong in denying that there IS “personality cult” around Obama and not helping shoot down the concept by mis-hearing/reading what Obama has said about gay marriage. I’ve seen no evidence that he’s evuh “stated … he can’t get gay marriage through Congress”! On the contrary, he’s repeatedly made it clear that he wouldn’t WANT to because he accepts the idea that “marriage” is “between a man and a woman,” and, that, effectively, the antigay churches own it EVEN WHEN we’re talking solely about CIVIL marriage. And for fuck’s sake please stop recycling the myth that he’s EVUH talked about gay RIGHTS in “conservative churches.” Such hagiography is NOT helping persuade skeptical people to accept him for the good he HAS done—which, in and of itself, is enough to support him.

    But, yes, LGBTs are DISHONEST FOOLS to remotely try to diss Obama re gay rights and ignore McShame’s embracing of certified homophobia to get elected. FUCK [and not in the good way] the rich Porch Faggots at Manhunt for being so stupid about the Supreme Court that they think they’ll be any real chance for achieving full gay equality after Commander-in-Chief McShame “saves” the country while appointing more Trolodytes to lifetime terms on the Supreme Court.

    Excuse me now while I contact the Obama Store to find out why they charged me for four T-shirts but only sent me three.

  23. nic says

    i agree with your assessment. i am afraid that people have stopped thinking critically. obama and his cultists have played right into the rightist’s hands. i have never been one to be won over by pretty speeches and come-ons. that is why i was, at least, as suspicious as you at oboma’s pontificating.

    i always felt, and still do, that hillary was the more viable candidate. but be that as it may, it is what it is. we have to support obama. we have to repeat the mantra: the supremes, the supremes, the supremes….

    as it pertains to the big “O” poster campaign, however, we must reject it outright. rightist bloggers are licking their chops over the similarity of the ham-fisted symbolism to the “the way to eden” (or: ‘space hippies’) episode of star trek which aired 2-21-69 (stardate 5832.3). ha!

    one can only surmise that the man behind the poster is either a complete idiot, or a cynical (rovian) dark operative who wants to conflate hero-worship with left-wing ideology. either way, i say no way!

    nevertheless, obama brought this on himself. any truthful person will admit that there was a great deal of aggrandizement on his behalf, from the great and powerful “O”prah to lesser, but influential, luminaries in the black community at large.

    one of the things i like about you is your insightful criticism of popular culture vis a vis politics. you and i need not be put-upon for analytical thinking, irrespective of racial politics. sadly, the lines between pop and politics have not been blurred; they have been obliterated by the mayberry machiavellis of the shrub’s administration. can we reconstruct them?

    people like HOGB (and his many aliases) not withstanding, i hope so. oh! i hope so.

  24. says

    It think it takes the mostly gay male readership of this blog to miss the glaring opportunity to Democratic opponents for Obama=cunt symbolism.