There's nothing like the holiday season to bring out the best in people. And by best, I mean the exploitation of millennial stereotypes for political gains, and the subsequent slew of horrible homophobic attacks. Truly, this is Obama's America.
A Christmas Card-looking ad featuring a twenty-something male clad in pajamas has become the latest face of the Obama administration's pitch to millennials on health care. Less than 24 hours after the president's account (@BarackObama) tweeted the image out, it has also managed to launch a mini-battle over modern-day conceptions of gender and sexuality.
ObamaCare supporters have been assiduously courting millennials through a variety of misguided and awkward ads. In comparison, this one isn't so bad. Sure, the flannel and somewhat smug look on his face is a painfully obvious attempt to create a hipster aesthetic without realizing that: 1) most millennials aren't hipsters; 2) many millennials despise hipsters and being stereotyped as such; and 3) hipsters aren't the millennials Obama needs to worry about (that is, if we broadly define hipsters as being tech-savvy, left-leaning folks who are painfully aware of their own mortality at the age of 25).
Also, the idea that millennials are going to get cozy around the fireplace to discuss health care is pretty lame — like Dad-joke lame. You can wrap ObamaCare in a bow and dip it in spiked eggnog, but discussing health care is not going to be a new holiday tradition.
But for all the ad's glaring faults, some ObamaCare opponents decided to attack the ad with low blows. Many of the attacks mocked "Pajama Boy" for not being sufficiently masculine or sexually appealing to women.
Fox's Andrea Tantaros tweeted:
Look at how they portray the American male: a hot chocolate drinking doofus in a onesie. Disgraceful. pic.twitter.com/Ov1wAaShk0— Andrea Tantaros (@AndreaTantaros) December 17, 2013
Conservative pundit Dana Loesch tweeted:
This was also a representative tweet, from Jimmy Simpson @informedblackmn:
@LawSelfDefense Choose to be gay. Wear Gay Pajamas. Hold hot chocolate like a gay dude. Talk about your gay hero, Obama, with other gays.— Jimmy Simpson (@informedblackmn) December 18, 2013
And then there's this lovely parody of the ad telling the pajama-clad man to "butch it the fuck up, Sally."
The attacks have come under criticism for their subtle and not-so-subtle homophobia. Philip Bump at The Wire discusses how "the tweet turned into a big mish-mash of gay and weak and Obama and ObamaCare" by combining a bunch of sophomoric attacks with a homophobic mentality.
See, he's gay, this guy in pajamas, because if you like pajamas and hot chocolate, you are gay. When you portray the American male in this way, you are saying American males are weak. Whereas American men used to be portrayed as fighting men marching off to war now "government propaganda" consists of dudes in pajamas talking about girlie things like health insurance. [The Wire]
And as despicable as these homophobic slurs are, the more general attacks on millennials as unemployed, spoiled, and incompetent brats are also offensive.
Like this parody tweeted by @OrwellForce:
Or this one with the hashtag #GetOutOfMomsHouse:
But before conservatives get too giddy, it should be noted that 67 percent of younger Americans came out and voted for Obama in 2012. This is a demographic that is also overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage. Indeed, some pundits have warned that the GOP could lose an entire generation of voters who wind up identifying with the Democratic Party.
So laugh now. With that kind of alienating attitude, Obama's supporters can peddle as many crummy ads as they want.
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