Pandering to the Young Invincibles

Pandering to the Young Invincibles

Buzzfeed offers a look “behind the weird, embarrassing, vaguely pathetic ObamaCare battle over twentysomethings:”

With the success of the Affordable Care Act hinging on the ability of the health care exchanges to attract a critical mass of young, healthy people, America’s youth find themselves in the crossfire of a high-stakes, comically ill-fought partisan fight for their hearts and minds.

On one side, amateur models dressed in outdated frat boy costumes pose doing keg stands as they urge their peers to sign up for “brosurance.” On the other, a strangely proportioned, nightmarish Uncle Sam sneaks into doctor’s offices wielding a speculum and threatens something resembling sexual assault as the TV screen fills with dire warnings about letting the government play doctor.

A pox on both their infantile, pandering houses!  Except… if you read the entire article, you’ll find that Generation Opportunity’s “Creepy Uncle Sam” is the one and only example of “weird, embarrassing, vaguely pathetic” pandering from the anti-ObamaCare side they can find.  And it was meant as a response to all the patronizing junk ObamaCare proponents (and officials!) pump out on a regular basis.  It’s also meant to be a satire of a previous advertising campaign, namely the Creepy Burger King who was all the rage a few years ago, and made a pretty big sardonic impression on millennials.  Even in their far-future dotage, they’ll still be wondering what the hell Burger King was thinking.  

So even as Creepy Uncle Sam holds up the conservative end of the youth messaging war alone, lefties continue to spew out a steady stream of pitiful nonsense like the instantly infamous Pajama Boy, who had the bad timing to become a viral sensation right after this Buzzfeed piece was written:

View image on Twitter  

That’s from the official Twitter feed of one Barack Hussein Obama, who handed this bit of his social media identity off to the entirely non-partisan tax-exempt organization Organizing for Action.  

Whatever else you can say about Creepy Uncle Sam, he’s not the kind of backhanded, contemptuous insult to the Young Invincibles that ObamaCare advertising always devolves into.  He’s a satire of ObamaCare itself; he’s warning the target audience to run away from an intrusive top-down centralized disaster that was designed to exploit them.  ObamaCare proponents, on the other hand, are hell-bent on portraying young people as helpless nebbishes hiding from the world in Mom’s basement, drunken frat boys, sex-crazed frat girls, celebrity-obsessed mall rats, and brain-dead acolytes of Obama’s personality cult.  They’re expected to swallow no argument for enrolling in ObamaCare more persuasive than “because Katy Perry says it’s cool.”

Maybe Team Obama’s approach will work.  To modify H.L. Mencken, apparently nobody can go broke underestimating the lack of independent thought among modern Americans.  But current indications are that it’s not working, as youth enrollment in ObamaCare appears to be less than half of what was required as a percentage of all applicants, to say nothing of the dismal absolute numbers.  If ObamaCare’s appeal to the young had been working, they wouldn’t be frantically cranking out more hipster panders in late December, just a few business days before the enrollment deadlines come crashing down.

I’m not a millennial, and make no claims to special insight into their thought processes.  (Which is, perhaps, for the best, because as soon as you start looking for special insight into someone’s thought processes, you’ve given up treating them as a respected equal.)  But if I was part of that generation, I’d be profoundly offended that so many people believe I’m so easily swayed by appeals to peer-pressure conformity and superficial pop-culture mania.  Buzzfeed is right to call the Young Invincible pander “pathetic.”  It assumes young people are pathetic: risk-averse, short-sighted, self-indulgent creatures looking to be nurtured, protected, and led by the nose, well into their thirties.  The battle cry of the twentysomething should be “I am not a child!” backed up by behavior that proves it.  If they don’t want to get stuffed into onesies, handed a cup of cocoa, and sent off to Mom’s basement, they’d better embrace defiance and independence, loud and proud.