Does the twenty-something college kid in onesie pajamas strike terror into the hearts of conservatives? That’s the argument being made by several liberal writers today as part of a backlash against conservative mockery of the goofy OFA ad. Adam Serwer at MSNBC compares him to a 200-foot Kaiju, i.e. a Godzilla-like monster:
How could the sight of an earnest twenty something in pajamas drive so
many dashing specimens of unassailable masculinity to complete panic?
The paradox of our gender enforcers that they never sound more terrified
than when addressing a person who doesn’t fit their standards. It’s an
abject terror that masquerades as courage, relying on the reader not to
know the difference. Pajama Boy is both a weak, effeminate symbol to be
mocked, and the unstoppable 200-foot tall Kaiju wrecking their shining city on a hill.
Conservatives are calling Pajama Boy a symbol of Obama supporters’
un-American dependence on government, but at this point he’s more of a
vehicle for conservatives to express their anxiety about losing wars,
political and cultural. For them, Pajama Boy is yet another emblem of an
increasingly non-white electorate, a young population that believes in a stronger welfare state, gender equality and LGBT rights.
That’s a hell of a lot of cultural freight to load onto the thin reed of some Twitter mockery.
In reality, conservatives mocked the ad because it featured a college-aged adult dressed in the kind of pajamas little kids usually wear, i.e. a zipper in the front and feet on the bottom. (Okay, I don’t know if he actually has on footy PJ’s but it’s not hard to imagine those are footy PJ’s.)
Also the image of an adult wearing zip-up jammies while drinking coffee (or cocoa) and wearing hipster glasses and a watch makes for an amusing juxtapositon of self-conscious maturity and immaturity. Does it make him look un-manly? Well, yeah. When you dress in little-boy pajamas you do look childish rather than adult-ish.
But the funniest bit of all is that Adam Serwer really seems to think our mirth is a sign of inward terror. While on the outside we’re saying “Look at that dork” on the inside we’re thinking “Dear me, the twilight of normative sleepwear is upon us!”
Yup, you got us. [snicker] We’re super-anxious and whatnot. [snort] Stuff of nightmares, that is. [chortle] You nailed it. Totes McGotes.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 17, 2013