America used to be famous for its men and women of action. Now? Now we’re governed (ruled?) by a group of narcissists who think that selfies and hashtags equal action:
In the 21st century, we have regressed to the Freudian phallic stage of development, reaching in, back in short pants with our hands all the way down them, which gives one a rather limited impression of the elephant in the room.
The “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, directed at the fanatical Islamist slavers in Nigeria, has inspired selfies from U.S. senators and the wife of the president of these United States, while State Department spokesman Jen Psaki, the Pippi Longstocking of the diplomatic world, took to Twitter to photograph herself with a “United for Ukraine” placard. To confront the heinous crimes of Boko Haram, a U.S. senator has many options — for example, introducing an authorization to use military force against said terrorist franchise. The U.S. State Department has many tools at its disposal for confronting the expansionist tendencies of Vladimir Putin.
The selfie is not among those tools.
But it seems to be the tool of choice with this bunch. Well, that and deploying hashtags. How utterly useless and embarrassing is it to see our supposed leaders resorting to this sort of self-centered “action”?
Very. Oh, it’s an action – it’s all about the PR for them. It feeds their need to feel superior and show they “care”. Actually do something to address the situation in question? Yeah, that’s hard.
But that’s what we get for “leadership” from this crew:
Imagine, if you can, the abjectly juvenile state of mind necessary to contemplate the hundreds of Nigerian girls taken into slavery by a fanatical Muslim anti-education militia — whose characteristic activity beyond slave-taking is setting fire to children — and, in the face of all that horror, concluding: “You know what this situation really calls for? A cutesy picture of . . . me!” Bad enough when your cousin Caitlin at Bryn Mawr does that — but senators? State Department officials? These are men and (disproportionately, I think) women of power and influence, who have the ability to engage with the world and change it. But they are enchanted by the unique witchcraft of the age of social media, the totemic power of the digital expression of the self. It is not accidental that the only good selfie in the history of world leaders came well before the invention of Twitter from a man with an ego sufficiently robust not to require the constant reinforcement that is the psychic lifeblood of Millennials (and Washingtonians well old enough to know better), without which they find themselves paralyzed.
Can a leadership group take the reins from this group and do worse? Oh you bet. But with the bar set as low as the Obama administration has set it, it would take a real concerted effort to do worse. Of course, there’s Hillary. However the one positive thing the Obama administration has done in its seemingly endless tenure is rescue Jimmy Carter. He is now only the 2nd worst president ever. At least his administration was mostly peopled by adults.
John Hinderaker at Powerline discusses what Dale, Michael and I talked about briefly on the podcast last night – i.e. how the left (particularly the Obama campaign) continues to get “clobbered” on Twitter.
If you’re not a denizen of Twitter, you may be unaware of the “streams” represented by hashtags. Twitter followers know to follow certain streams to keep up on particular conversations/events even if they don’t follow everyone participating in that convo.
Literally thousands will watch a particular Twitter stream represented by a hashtagged word. Think #Olympics2012 for instance. Or #WorldSeries2012. Dancing with the Stars has its own #DWTS hashtags. And fans flock to read what is said in that stream. Hashtags are added to the end of Twitter messages and direct them to those particular streams for everyone to read.
That’s what the Obama administration and the left in general has been trying to use for some time to use to establish narratives or conversations they think will be beneficial to them. And for the vast majority of them, it has blown up in their faces because almost immediately, the hashtag they publish becomes a target of the right and, frankly, it ends up being highjacked.
The most recent examples are given by John:
Maybe it’s because Twitter puts a premium on brevity and cleverness. I don’t know. But for some reason, it seems to be a natural medium for conservatives. We saw it when the Hilary Rosen interview (“Ann Romney never worked a day in her life”) prompted a Twitterstorm. We saw it again when #ObamaEatsDogs exploded, and when #Julia blew up in the White House’s face like an exploding cigar. Currently, the White House is promoting #AskMichelle, where loyal Democrats can go to ask the First Lady a question. Only nearly all of the questions have come from conservatives. A sampling:
-When you vacation in Hawaii, can you see the rise of the oceans beginning to slow?
-What’s up this week for the @BarackObama campaign and “Operation Change the Subject” (to anything except the economy)?
-Do you still exchange May Day cards with Bill and Bernadette?
-Do you think your daughters should request affirmative actions preferences?
-Do you still get Christmas cards from the Rezkos and Blagojeviches?
-So who succeeded you at that critical, highly important $300k/year community outreach job at UC hospital?
-I have several friends who specialize in relocation. Shall I give them your number so they can help you relocate in January?
You have to know that such attempts and the result must really frustrate the on-line types at the Obama Campaign headquarters. It is like they set them up on a tee for the right.
One of the things I asked last night was how such a supposedly net savvy campaign staff could repeatedly do these sorts of things and expect different results? How many times do you have to see the same thing happen before you figure out that the strategy is fatally flawed?
The answer? When you figure out it isn’t 2008 anymore. I’m not sure his staff has figured that out yet. In 2008, they likely could have gotten away with this. But 2012 brings us what? Oh, yeah, a president with a record, something he lacked 4 years ago.
And, as we’ve seen, he’s reluctant to talk about it, certainly isn’t touting it and provides few venues for others to question him about it.
Except with his clueless Twitter gang.
Long may they continue to flail away trying to find some hashtag that won’t provide the usual . They at least provide some comic relief to this travesty.