Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Idiotic Political "Analysis": High School Analogies for Grown-Up Problems, Plus a Rant

I'm beginning to think that Diana West has a real argument in her recent book Death of the Grown-Up.

The current political circus is full of people with adult bodies but teenaged brains, apparently. I'm posting in anger (never a good time to post), but I'm in a hurry, I'm angry, and I think I might have a point.

A few weeks ago, I slammed Huckabee for using high school analogies to describe his foreign policy "positions." What an idiot he was, I raged, for reducing complex, critically important situations to the brainless, illogical behavior of a bunch of hormonal, emo adolescents.

Then this morning, I see this "analysis" (I hesitate to dignify the tripe with this word, actually). One theory of Hillary's victory reduces the New Hampshire vote to a high school scenario and a silly movie about a high school scenario. I kid you not. I quote:

Once Obama won Iowa he was the certified cool and enormously popular kid in school. But as in any high-school election, the studious girls who show up to vote might harbor a few resentments about the boys. It's like the movie "Election," in which Reese Witherspoon's character, Tracy Flick, is an ambitious and too-perfect high-school senior who has the election stolen from her after she was expected to win against a cool but inexperienced jock. By the end of the movie she ends up on top.
Apparently we're now a nation of adolescents, with no grown-up anywhere.

What a mess this theory is! Not only high school (bad enough), but a silly movie about high school (even worse). And not just all the stereotypes of "the cool guy," "the jock," etc., but also plainly sexist ones too. Oh, and while we're at it, let's use a sexist high school stereotype to explain the behavior of voters!

One more thing: for the record, I am "a studious girl" who does not, repeat not, "harbor a few resentments about the boys." In fact, I very frequently beat them at their own game, so there. If anything, I harbor resentments against people who think they can predict my voting behavior by using high school stereotypes!

Why not finish the stereotype and explain that the Reese Witherspoon character is the perfect, popular, pretty, socially desirable girl and that the studious girls are the ugly, unpopular, invisible ones? And, by the way, in high school world, these two types of girls almost NEVER meet.

PS -- Hillary is more Lady Macbeth than a Reese Witherspoon character! Then again, how could you know? Grownups read Shakespeare while teenage-brained analysts are watching stupid movies about high school. Pfffft.

1 comment:

Marian said...

First, Reese Witherspoon should sue this guy. There are boundaries, no? Okay, he only compared a movie character to Hillary, but still.

Second, let's give some credit to Hillary. She unites women! Okay, she unites them against her, but still. I for one can't think of any other issue (not even peeling methods) Diana West seconding Maureen Dowd with "Amen, sister."

Third, you infected me with election fatigue. Shame on you! ;-)