Pajama Boy Nation
Will Kane of High Noon Pajama Boy wasn’t. Somehow we as a nation went from the iconic Marlboro Man to Pajama Boy -- from the noble individual with a bad habit to the ignoble without a good habit -- without a blink in between.
There are lots of revolting things in the Pajama Boy ad. After all, how can you top all at once a nerdy-looking child-man dressed in infantile pajamas while cradling a cup of hot chocolate with the smug assurance that he is running your life more than you his?
The Liberal Body-Snatchers
Still, there are one or two even scarier thoughts.
One, did the Obama appendage, Organizing for Action, really believe that such a sad-sack image might galvanize anyone about anything? And two, did they really think that Pajama Boy would resonate with any young people outside of the New York-DC circus, as if to assume he would be persuasive: stay cool with retro geek glasses, pajamas, and hot chocolate like Pajama Boy, and then, presto, rush out to buy an Obamacare policy?
Out here in the rural middle of California -- or most anywhere 30 miles inland from the coasts -- Pajama Boy would last about two seconds pruning vines, or walking about the local Wal-Mart parking lot with his hot chocolate. Yet put him where his foot-padded pajamas bring dividends and for the last five years we all have lived out the consequences of his ilk’s ideological dreaming.
The great mystery of America today is how many of us have joined Pajama Boy nation -- 20%, 40%, 60%? -- and how many want nothing to do with such metrosexual visions of a huge state run by a nerdocracy, incompetently doling out other people’s money. How many were on board for Obamacare, more entitlements, and lectures from the apartheid elite on inequality and fairness, versus how many turn the channel at sound of His voice.
Sharpton Good -- Duck Dynasty Not?
This past week the question of two Americas seems to be playing out even in the trivial psychodramas of bastardized popular culture. If Michelle Obama photo-ops and consults with Al Sharpton -- of Crown Heights riot, Freddie's Fashion Mart, and Tawana Brawley notoriety -- is anything off-limits?
As I understand liberal popular culture as expressed in television and entertainment, David Letterman -- cynical, dry, raised eyebrows at each ironic smirk -- can pun on air that Sarah Palin’s 14-year-old daughter had sex with a baseball player in the dugout.Or Martin Bashir rails that Mrs. Palin should have excrement and urine inserted into her mouth, or Chris Rock suggests that the 4th of July is “White People’s Day,” or Jamie Foxx jokes about how fun it was to play a character killing white people. Fine, free speech is free speech. To each his own. Let the seller and buyer establish their own codes of speech. Live and let live and all that good stuff.
But, on the other hand, you must not, as a real-TV celebrity, dare to suggest off-camera that male sodomy is somehow less "normal" or perhaps less "moral" or hygienic than is heterosexual intercourse. (The downside of sodomy in this Miley Cyrus age of anything goes rawness is oddly a taboo subject).
The White Trash Zoo
How bizarre that the Duck Dynasty characters and Pajama Boy reverberated the same week. I have never watched Duck Dynasty, and have only glanced at the expanding genre of white working class reality dramas, from tree cutters and gold miners to ice truckers and boat captains: Cussin’ good ol’ boys, who lose their temper when failing to start the generator, have big arms and bigger guts, and are to remind us (within limits) that once upon a time we all used to be more like them than Ezra Klein and Jay Carney.
Who watches these shows? Perhaps the majority of viewers are those who still admire muscular strength and the earthy ability to make a living from nature (and not work for the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the local Department of Motor Vehicles), and a smaller percentage who find these aborigines odd, but also oddly compelling in their reminder that the people like themselves who run our country could not sharpen a chain saw, change the oil in their car, or unplug their own sewer line. This latter group is curious about the uncouth people who can do these things.
The A&E controversy grew even stranger in that pet white aborigines from the rural south are supposed to shock us by their blunt talk and religious hocus pocus, but only if they stay inside the bars of their zoo cage and thus only ham it up within the parameters of politically correct hillbilly-ese. The Pajama Boy mob at A&E must know that the Ducks, should they speak like those in Silicon Valley or act in accordance with Upper West Side protocols, would have zero audience. Is the logic of Duck Dynasty that the few left in America of the 1940s can spout off in a neat way to us -- but only without putting their paws and snouts too far through the bars of their cage?
Obama as Pajama Boy
Pajama Boy is the bookend to vero possumus, the faux-Greek columns, the Obama rainbow logo, cooling the planet and lowering the seas, hope and change, Forward!, “Yes, we can!”, the Nate Silver infatuation, Barbara Walters’ “messiah,” David Brooks’ crease, Chris Matthews’ tingle, and the army of Silicon techies who can mobilize for Obama but not for Obamacare. These are the elites without identities who feed on the latest fad. They are the upper-crust versions of those who once mobbed stores to buy the last Cabbage Patch Kids doll, or had to have a pet rock on their dresser. Obama, after all, was the lava lamp and Chia Pet of the young urban progressive.
If I were to focus on just two of the many characteristics of Pajama Boy nation in the Age of Obama, one would be that the consequences of one’s ideology apply always to someone else. Obama obsesses on inequality, but cannot even go through the populist motions of avoiding Martha’s Vineyard, or not dressing like a nerd for golf at the latest tony course.
He is an arugula-eating man of the people who tries to bowl only during election season. Michelle rags on the 1%, but still hits Costa del Sol and Aspen. Obamacare for us; for congressional staffers and insiders something quite different. A Nobel Prize and a half a billion dollars for guru Al Gore; and dumping Current TV on a fossil-fuelled, anti-Semitic authoritarian Middle Eastern regime to fund more good work of our green Elmer Gantry. Amnesty for illegal aliens, but private academies for liberal kids far from the ensuing chaos of the public schools. Pajama Boys are fiercely liberal so that they can fiercely avoid the people they so champion and are so afraid to live among.
Second, the architects of Pajama Boy nation always expect others to go on despite rather than because of them. The frackers must frack so that Obama can brag about their productivity, while he bites his lip and looks pained to billionaire coastal benefactors about pumping liquid into the bowels of their Mother Earth.
On Friday, Barack Obama was back out to again brag about his three supposed accomplishments: One, the deficit is shrinking; two, the gas and oil picture is brightening; and three, we are not witnessing anymore shut-downs of government over the debt ceiling. He should have added -- “We do best when no one listens to me.”
Savings accrued from the sequester that was forced upon Obama by those Tea Party nuts in the House. Gas prices are dropping despite the efforts of Obama to stop fracking and horizontal drilling on federal lands. Senator Obama himself voted to shut down the government under George W. Bush, rather than to raise the debt ceiling -- having once passionately adopted the very stance that he now demonizes others for.
The Other Half
Half the country may have already tuned Pajama Boy nation out. Millions more or less don’t watch TV other than older movies and a few episodes of some serial like The Sopranos or Breaking Bad. Most expect just three things of today’s Hollywood celebrities: they are mostly spoiled and uneducated; they are very rich; and in their boredom they will find a way to annoy those without their money.
We also find the grating nasal-twanged voices of our young talking heads on the news shows a tip-off that all their over-clever rhetoric is never grounded in reality. We have no idea whom MTV is awarding, or why, and couldn't care less. We are sick of slick slightly pornographic commercials, and sicker still of the crude left-wing Victorians who push sex down our throats, but can’t handle a caricatured hick talking just as graphically as they do -- but about sodomy in a way they don’t appreciate. Which is the cruder: to see a three-quarters naked Miley Cyrus on national television stick a huge foam finger toward the anus of one of her performers or to read that a bearded reality star in overalls finds vaginal sex preferable to anal sex -- and then tells us why?
Most don’t watch Oprah. Rap is a sort of occasional bothersome grate overheard at the service station or parking lot. No one goes to the movies to watch another tired Hollywood script of a courageous liberal maverick who fights the cancer-causing, stream-polluting, CIA-intriguing [fill in the blanks] corporation -- as the actor is paid millions by the corporation producing the movie for his few hours of mediocre work. Company men and women don’t play renegades well anymore.
We accept that the law is mostly fluid, depending on whether you are one of the noble suffering or the bad and incessantly grasping: sanctuary cities are noble places where federal immigration laws can be safely ignored. Try that with the Second Amendment and you’ll be summarily jailed.
There is a growing tiredness with Pajama Boy nation. Millions are sick of being lectured, caricatured, and slandered for their supposed pathologies by the Sandra Flukes of the age and those in their pajamas who still grasp with two hands their hot chocolate. Add all their annoying Stalinist efforts up -- to selectively going after Chick-fil-A or the Washington Redskins or Duck Dynasty -- and the public is becoming tired of the shrill nerdocracy.
How many are revolting against Pajama Boy nation and his bunch, no one quite knows. But I’m beginning to think for the first time since 2009 that the rage and numbers of the disengaged have not crested yet, not quite yet.