Friday, December 20, 2013

Confronting Pajama Boy and Duck Dynasty

American culture has just transformed the holiday season into silly season.  Two ginormous memes from opposite ends of the political spectrum have inundated the punditocracy with a tidal wave of baloney.  The only thing missing is the wisdom of Alfidi Capital.  Prepare yourselves.

This week's first body blow to our country's ability to think critically came from the Right and aimed at the Left.  Those of you with not enough work to do have undoubtedly seen the "Pajama Boy" meme that originated in Organizing for Action's holiday health care media page.  Conservative commentators stirred up the pot by criticizing the ad's wimpy image and liberals fired back with insults to red-blooded manhood.  The ad itself says a little about what the Left finds appealing in modern men.  A man who is comfortable wearing a child's sleeping outfit and cradling a cocoa mug with two hands is a fitting image to sell a government entitlement program.  The response from the Right reveals enough insecurity to make me wonder how well conservatives raise their own families.  Get over it, dudes.  Americans grip their welfare state as tightly as that cocoa mug.  I'll believe conservatives are serious about self-reliance when the Tea Party learns to do the math on Medicare's insolvency and retired military lifers realize that the days of their unlimited health benefits are numbered.

I am morally obligated to post a visual counterpoint to the ACA sales campaign.

My legions of female admirers know manliness when they see it.  I have been known to drink cocoa but I don't need two hands to hold a drink, as you can all plainly see.  I often mix cocoa with multiple shots of coffee to fuel my blogging.  I also mix coffee with grown-up beverages because this is America and no one can tell me not to do it.  We have nothing to fear from cocoa.  Conservatives can make money from cocoa investments, unless we hit Peak Chocolate as I warned back in 2011.

Here's some full disclosure.  My own health care insurance is at present covered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs due to my Iraq service in 2009.  That policy is not of indefinite duration, and when it expires at some future date I must then enroll in an ACA-compliant plan.  This assumes that the ACA regime will still exist if it is not repealed.  Even I, the proprietor of the greatest financial website and analytical blogs the world has ever seen, cannot escape a legal mandate.  I look forward to the day when I may enroll in an affordable plan for a single male that does not contain wealth redistribution mechanisms.  I can't use maternity care, birth control pills, or endometriosis treatments but my government insists that I pay for these anyway out of fairness to the ladies who would rather date Pajama Boy than me.  They don't know what they're missing.

The second blow against common sense came from the Left and hit the Right.  Phil Robertson, patriarch of the "Duck Dynasty" reality TV clan, made some ungentlemanly comments to GQ magazine.  His network suspended him and liberal organizations are calling for intolerance of his intolerance.  Phil's tone in that article was one of bewilderment rather than hatred but that is no excuse for a major media star who should know better.  The Robertsons' comments on their religious faith reveal that they do not judge or condemn and they take the New Testament's messages of tolerance to heart.  Phil needs an understanding audience more than anything else but media professionals on either coast don't get his culture.  Most middle-class Americans are now far removed from our country's agrarian origins and don't recognize their own roots in rural society.  I think that explains the bi-coastal fascination with Duck Dynasty, along with our collective willingness to dismiss Phil's grumblings as hayseed bigotry.  Come on, people.  The guy raised a healthy, productive family and got them all involved in a very successful business.  I'm embarrassed that Americans don't see how American this story sounds.

Many Americans obviously agree with Phil because the LGBT equal rights argument hasn't touched them personally.  Let Phil do his short time in the woodshed and then bring him on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to prove he's tolerant.  I'll bet the A&E Network knows plenty of diverse people he could meet on his show.  Hey Phil, some gay folks like to hunt and a Google search reveals they even have their own outdoor sports clubs.  There's an untapped market for Duck Commander products if Phil reaches out to them and makes amends.

Americans have not made me proud this week.  We could have spent our time much more productively.  We missed important news on Islamist rebels seizing materiel the US government provided to the other rebels, you know, the ones we thought would win and bring Jeffersonian democracy to Syria.  We also missed the Fed's obscured admission in its QE taper announcement that ZIRP must keep the banking sector afloat.  Well, okay, you folks may have missed those items but I paid full attention.  Americans enjoy being stirred up with distractions.  Otto von Bismarck allegedly marveled at God's ability to watch over fools, drunkards, and the USA.  Did he really say that?  Maybe it was Winston Churchill, or someone else from Europe.  Americans won't care anyway.  Thoughtless controversy is way more important to our national conversation.  Bring on the memes.

Nota bene:  I changed one word to "responsibly" in that photo above and clarified "grown-up beverages" in the paragraph below the photo.  I enjoy personal responsibility and my adult readers should do the same.  Always comply with local laws and regulations.  Behave yourselves.