RNC commercials are dumb because Republicans are awful. That’s the basic thesis of Salon’s Alex Pareene. He doesn’t think the standard-issue millennial mouthing GOP platitudes (see videos below) is all that bad, but he’s certain that the actual, no-kidding Republicans out there are snaggle-toothed gay-bashers and other Dead White European Males who hate Diversity, think Cuddly Puppies are something to shoot at, and wouldn’t know Millennial Chic if they found it dead in their ditty bag (except, of course, that Pareene himself would have no idea what a ditty bag is, and is darn proud of it).
So RNC commercials must be silly and/or deceptive or something.
I don’t know. I’m not impressed with the RNC oeuvre here, myself. I “get” the millennial-Everyman approach, and I guess, having seen those commercials for Kia (or whatever it is) in which the customer base is invited to imagine itself as a species of vermin driving a car designed by the neighborhood gang on Sesame Street, that I recognize what the millennial Everyman is supposed to look like.
I just don’t like him. And in the energy commercial, at least, I don’t like what he has to say. “All of the above,” starting with “wind” and “solar,” is one of those fake pieties that nobody with the minimum number of working brain cells really believes. No, as a matter of fact, I don’t want wind and solar – not if they’re just going to remain dependencies of the taxpayer. And, yes, that means I’m ready to end agricultural subsidies too.
If wind and solar can survive the test of the market, and require absolutely nothing from me – no rising energy bills, no totalitarian creep in regulation, no change for the worse in how I live my life, and no change in my access to national parks and heritage lands and anything else the Left wrongly thinks it has a patent on – then go for it. Make money off of it. Until then, I don’t want “all of the above”; I want fossil fuels and nuclear power. You can talk to me about hydrodynamic power, but I’m not making any promises.
Millennial boy in the RNC energy commercial buys into a comprehensively flawed view of human life and the purpose of public policy. I wouldn’t use this commercial to try to win over millennials because I don’t believe a word of it. It’s not what the Republican Party should stand for. It’s feel-good nonsense. It glosses over exactly what we can’t afford to gloss over any longer: the stark truth that this hallucinatory vision for centrally managing humanity and the planet is a one-way ticket to collectivist hell.
If millennials believe that there needs to be a central authority bustling around with a 10-point policy plan for every “public issue,” then they need to be educated, not catered to. I’m not actually so sure they do believe that. The ones I know are more skeptical, for the most part. They tend to sense the falsity in peppy policy pitches, even if they don’t know quite why.
The commercial about regulation and its effect on jobs does seem to bite a little harder. It appears to annoy Alex Pareene more, which is informative. That one works better, from my perspective. (There are others that work better too, like this one.)
I do wonder how millennials really feel about the way they’re portrayed in political ads, always presented like eight-year-olds whose good clothes are in the laundry pile. There are other and perhaps better ways to connect with segments of society, I think, than trying to enter their evanescent group mindsets.
I’ll just leave it with this thought. It’s pretty comical looking back at what once passed for earnest, soulful, or insouciant in previous decades. The day will come when today’s 20-somethings look at icons like millennial boy in the same way Generation W (my slice) looks at the images of the 1980s. They’ll laugh, if in a friendly, ambivalent way. Imagery from the time, especially imagery that too faithfully reflects the vibe of a passing style, will just look like it was trying too hard. They’ll remember that nobody really looked that way. They’ll remember that that wasn’t even what they wanted to look like.
And political appeals that relied on evoking that kind of imagery will seem outdated, pat, stagey and manipulative. Perhaps we who know that already should rethink our approach to political suasion. Perhaps we should remember where the timeless beauty, hope, and vigor lie: in the ideas of freedom, and the tug of America on the heart.
J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s “contentions,” Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard online. She also writes for the new blog Liberty Unyielding.
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