Sunday, August 17, 2008

Empty T-shirts for an empty suit

The vapidity of Obama's 'youth appeal' is splashed across two pages in the Review section of today's UK Observer newspaper. The piece is online here.

The main article, by Amy Larocca of New York magazine, rehashes all the well-worn points about Obama's popularity among young people – the endorsements by pop and movie stars, the 'cool' factor, his mastery of the internet and so on (although Larocca neglects to mention that the McCain campaign has recently enjoyed great success with its web video ads).

Nothing new there, even for British readers. Lines such as 'Obama understood from the start how to use the net' aren't exactly piercing political insight.

Accompanying the article are photos of seven suitably hip young Americans, wearing Obama T-shirts and photographed against authentically 'grungy' urban backdrops. And beside the photos are 'vox pops' in which they explain why Obama appeals to them.

The interviews are littered with the usual references to hope'n'change, and the vaguely articulated belief that Obama is, and will be, 'different' in some way. (Interestingly, the only one of the seven who's slightly skeptical about Obama says that, while he's supportive of his candidacy he's actually voting for Ralph Nader.)

Facts, and an acknowledgment of reality, are conspicuously absent from the testimonials. Jordana, 24, says: "For America to be this beacon of democracy it always says it is, it needs to acknowledge its flaws, look to other countries as models and build up from there."

Viola, 23, thinks Obama "has a new way of dealing with other countries without looking only at American self-interest". Sei, 18, says: "I saw Obama on television saying that you don't necessarily need experience if you have belief, and that sometimes experience can cloud your vision. I thought that was interesting and cool."

But my favourite Obamaniac is Tony, a 30-year-old… wait for it… community organiser! Tony is a Che Guevara wannabe who, in his peak cap and combat jacket, could also pass for an Obama action figure, and here's what he has to say about the man who's clearly his role model:

"I wear the T-shirt because I admire Obama's forthright and genuine rhetoric; he is just cut from a different cloth from most politicians. After everything that went down in Florida in 2001 I was very cynical about the whole political process. He has revived hope in me as well as others."

Got that? Tony, who professes to be 'cynical' about politics, admires Obama's forthright and genuine rhetoric. It's clearly lost on Tony that rhetoric is, by its very nature, anything but forthright and genuine. Tony is also frightened by the 'threat' from people who might be resistant to the 'change' Obama would bring about.

Tony wears his ignorance like a badge of honour.

Read the whole thing, and shudder at the naivety, and outright stupidity, of some of the people who will be voting for Obama in November.

Update: Thanks to Ace and JWF for linking. Also Dan, who highlights a few more examples of youthful ignorance.

Terry in the comments points out another howler from Tony that I missed – he thinks the Great Stolen Election was in 2001. Or perhaps he turned up, stoned, at the polling station in November 2001 and was told there was no election – it might explain why he's so cynical.

If they ever introduce a basic intelligence test as a prerequisite for being allowed to vote, the Dems will be truly screwed.


Anonymous said...

Everything that went down in Florida in 2001?

Anonymous said...

What, so he was concerned about Florida 2001. Was he less intelligent than the other self-absorbed liberal douches?

"Obama has become like Che Guevara in terms of what his face represents on merchandising." Oh, and spreading communism and policies that will kill the poor... that too.

"But then during the period in which he was debating against Hillary and the Republicans, he came out on top." Ah, the Democratic Primary debates where the Republicans showed up as well... what?

"But his personality and race are so important as well. There's supposed to be an American ideal that if you are from a racial minority and a one-parent family, you can still achieve. It's like, with Obama, America is putting it's money where its mouth is." Vote for Obama, just because he's black if for no other reason. Really?

"He has a new way of dealing with other countries without looking only at American self-interest. This is something quite revolutionary." Well thank goodness, I'd hate the leader of America to be looking out for America...

"He's not as extreme as most young people, but he is a bridge to more radical views." Obama, he'll be a link to liberal extremism... what a great promotion.

Now does Florida 2001 sound dumb? Hell, at least he's close to something that might have made some sense to someone...

David S. said...

Everything that went down in Florida in 2001?

Well, yeah, we were attacked by hordes of ninjas... and the Bush administration did nothing

S. Weasel said...

Correction: they may be Obama supporters, but it's an open question whether their lazy stoner hinders will turn out and vote. I've been waiting for the phantom "youth vote" to be a decisive factor in a presidential election ever since they lowered the voting age.

Meanwhile, the blue hairs turn out in packs.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think it amusing that the 16-year-old felt the need to state that he hadn't followed previous elections? He would have been twelve for the last one...

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