"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, October 29, 2012

Your First Time Fail

President Obama apparently is seeking as one of the constituencies of a liberal majority the vacuous vote, if one observes the evidence of this ad by actress Lena Dunham (of HBO's new show Girls):

There are so many things wrong with this ad.   One is the assumption that the default experience for young women is to lose their virginity at some point with a "great guy" who they nevertheless have no intention of marrying.   Is that really a message that the President of the United States wants to be propagating -- no pun intended -- in a country where the rate of unwed motherhood has skyrocketed, and where the social science correlating unwed motherhood with crime, drug and alcohol abuse, poor school performance, etc. is so settled?   Is that what he tries to teach his own daughters?  

Another thing that's wrong with this ad is it's simultaneous celebration of and condescension to youth, and particularly to young women.   Apparently we are supposed to think that this vacuous young woman is brilliant and clever, yet to any reasonably mature adult she seems ridiculous.   (Hence the immediate parodies that sprung up in reaction to the ad.)   Does the Obama campaign really believe that the shallowness of youth is to be celebrated?   Or, conversely, do they really believe that, because young women are shallow, the only way to reach them is to appeal to their basest interests?   The Regular Guy has six nieces, ages 15 to 29.   All of them have high intelligence and ambitions.   I can't see any of them identifying with this young woman with her tattoos and her winking vulgarity.  

Finally, and this perhaps ought to go without saying... for most people the "first time" is messy, disappointing, embarrassing, unsatisfying, and, as a rule, both unforgettable and something you wish you could forget.   Sort of like the first four years of Obama's Presidency.

In the history books the first debate will probably be viewed as the turning point of this election.   But this ad may be mentioned as the moment when the Obama campaign truly jumped the shark.   If you are so out of it that you thought this would work, you have completely lost touch with America.   Where were the adults in the room when this idea was pitched?   Or was it all just twenty-somethings tweeting each other and laughing at their inside jokes?

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