Ed Driscoll

Obamacare Meets The Onion

“In possibly the most apt Obamacare advertising scheme yet, Illinois will partner with satirical website The Onion in an effort to attract young and healthy residents to purchase coverage:”

The Onion has agreed to run three banner ads promoting Get Covered Illinois, the state’s Obamacare exchange.

The Onion has also agreed to create a video, an editorial and a custom news section about Get Covered Illinois and will display the ads until March 31, the deadline for the first Obamacare open enrollment period. All the products will be produced through the exchange’s collaboration with The Onion, the Chicago Tribune reports.

“Reaching the population known as ‘Young Invincibles’  is an important part of our effort to educate and enroll all of Illinois’ uninsured population,” said Jennifer Koehler, the exchange’s executive director. “We know that to effectively reach Young Invincibles — who are 53 percent of our uninsured residents in Illinois — we have to work with non-traditional, and especially digital, sources for news and entertainment.”

The ads, shown by the Chicago Tribune, will feature an action figure and Get Covered Illinois logo. “Man without health insurance is forced to sell action figures to pay medical bills,” the first reads; another advises users “Don’t sell your action figures.”

That last sentence is yet another reminder that as Richard Fernandez noted Saturday at the Belmont Club, “It is now unfashionable to be the old manly man:”

When the Obama administration launched a campaign to attract enrollees into Obamacare, did they they front up a two-fisted, hard-drinking, cigar-chomping he-man?  Hell no. They employed “Pajama Boy” to lure the mice into the trap. This is who they reckoned the rising generation would admire. The heck with aspiring to be a test pilot or an astronaut. What people want today is the “funemployment” guy; the thing who drinks hot chocolate in his parents’ basement preparatory to selling them on subsidized, crap insurance. Pajama Boy is the new beau ideal.  Why would the PR men have used his visage to grace their ads if women preferred “manly men”?

Though “As with Axe Body Spray, less is more when applying Eu du Desperation,” Steve Green writes in response today to the Obamacare-Onion announcement. “You can’t make this stuff up and with ♡bamaCare!!! the “settled” law of the land, you never have to.”

“Muggeridge’s Law” explains why no satirist could make this up. I don’t know if Tom Wolfe coined the phrase, but he certainly helped to popularize it in his mid-’70s anthology, The New Journalism and his 1989 Harper’s article published in the wake of The Bonfire of the Vanities, “Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast:” 

While Malcolm Muggeridge was the editor of Punch, it was announced that Khrushchev and Bulganin were coming to England. Muggeridge hit upon the idea of a mock itinerary, a lineup of the most ludicrous places the two paunchy pear-shaped little Soviet leaders could possibly be paraded through during the solemn process of a state visit. Shortly before press time, half the feature had to be scrapped. It coincided exactly with the official itinerary, just released, prompting Muggeridge to observe: We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known.

Of course, as the Tweet from an NBC “news” producer publicly drooling over the first lady’s dress today and the juxtaposition below between a National Review parody Photoshop and an actual Newsweek cover a few years later highlights, Obama’s media acolytes run up against Muggeridge’s Law just about every day; no reason why the object of their affection shouldn’t as well.