A Twitter pal told me today that the media’s treatment of the Parkland kids reminds him in a way of the “clown nose off, clown nose on” game played by politically minded comics like Jon Stewart and Jimmy Kimmel. When Stewart and Kimmel are opining, the clown nose comes off. They’re making trenchant points about the right-wing enemy and their arguments should be taken seriously by voters. When the right takes them seriously and counterattacks, the clown nose goes back on: They’re just comedians, man. Lighten up. You’re embarrassing yourself by trying to joust with a court jester.
The Parkland students also have a dual identity that can be switched out as political circumstances require. When they’re attacking, they’re the inspiring young leaders of a policy push that’s going to succeed where so many adult-led efforts have failed. Don’t dismiss them because of their age. They know what they’re talking about and they deserve to be heard. Then, when they’re heard and criticized for their arguments or their rhetoric, they’re the apolitical child victims of a horrendous tragedy. You want to bicker about policy with … a kid? Whose friends were just murdered? What is wrong with you?
You’re a bad guy, as Don Lemon would, and did, say.
I think David Hogg’s become the lightning rod for most right-wing criticism, both measured and conspiratorial, partly because he’s been the canniest about exploiting that dual identity.
Allahpundit wrote that on Tuesday, before Hogg’s current freak out, over Laura Ingraham’s shot at his being rebuffed by various college admissions departments, in which he’s helping the left by causing Ingraham to lose sponsors. (What this has to do with gun control is unknown, but as they said about the future Sen. Blutarsky, forget it, he’s rolling.) And right on cue, clown nose on! Mediaite runs the headline, “Morning Joe Debates Ingraham Controversy: ‘We Can’t Have Animals on The Air Attacking Children!’”
To which Rod Dreher responds:
“Children”? Here’s a 17-year-old guy — old enough to join the military and bear arms for his country — who now has a national platform, one in which he accuses his opponents of bloodlust, but he’s still hiding behind the “children” thing? Well, of course: because it works.
Clown nose off, clown nose on.
Laura Ingraham ought not to have tweeted the thing she did, and she ought to have apologized (as she did). But now her livelihood is at stake, and this kid is reveling in his power to destroy his enemies, while draping himself in the mantle of Childhood Innocence. If you have a social media account, it’s time to think hard about whether it’s worth the risk of continuing with it. We now see that one tossed-off, ill-advised tweet, if it angers the right person, could cost you your job. David Hogg is turning into Anthony Fremont:
Fremont was the child played by Ron Howard in the classic Twilight Zone episode with the super power to banish all of the adults “to the cornfield” when they displeased him. More Dreher:
We are manufacturing a cadre of Anthony Fremonts. We are creating a No-Trust Society, one in which people will have to turn inward out of self-protection. This is not going to end well. A reader who grew up under Czech communism told me recently that in the end, the only people you could trust back in the day were members of your family. Anybody else might have turned you in to the secret police as ideologically unreliable. This man’s priest turned out to be an informant. We aren’t there, but as the illiberal SJW Left gains power, we’re fast moving in that direction.
In the meantime, Jim Treacher believes that Fremont’s, err, Hogg’s future is assured, tweeting to CNN that “You guys are going to give him a job anyway,” so what difference does it make where he goes to school?
Not necessarily — Hogg might want to search on what Cindy Sheehan and Sandra Fluke are up to these days, to discover what happens to a mascot of the anointed when the DNC-MSM deems that their 15-minutes is up.