Y ou, reader, did not vote. Or rather, the odds are that any given college-age reader of this column did not vote, as the 18-to-24 age group had a failure rate of about 60 percent. Far be it from me, though, to lecture you; I’m just a journalist.
At any rate, your non-participation came as something of a surprise to the Democratic Party, which was counting on you. As liberal blogger Josh Marshall wrote late on the night of Nov. 2, “One thing that does seem very clear tonight… is that the much-ballyhooed youth vote simply did not show up. Simple as that. That is a remarkable turnabout from the expectations that had been growing over the last week.” Or as gloating conservative Jonah Goldberg wrote two days later, “The youth vote is bunk. It’s a mirage. Fools’ gold. A Nietzschean vital lie. A will-o’-the-wisp. A media confabulation. Nonsense. Hooey. Baloney, bilge, hogwash and hooey.”
Granted, the youth turned out in better-than-average numbers. But so did everybody else. Proportionally speaking, you remain a member of America’s single most indifferent demographic bloc. And Senator Kerry suffered greatly for believing otherwise.
About two weeks prior to Election Day, a music video by Swedish recording artist Pleasureman Günther began making the rounds on the Internet. The video, “Ding Dong Song (You Touch My Tra La La),” was efficiently assimilated into the ephemeralia of college humor: Linked on AIM profiles, referenced on message boards and in conversation, even inspiring Franklin Street costumes here in the Triangle. If you are not familiar with the “Ding Dong Song,” I print the complete lyrics here for your edification:
Oh, you touch my tra la la;
Mmm, my ding ding dong.
Deep in the night, I’m looking for some fun.
Deep in the night, I’m looking for some love.
Deep in the night, I’m looking for-you touch my tra la la.
(Female chorus: You tease me, you please me,
I want you to be my love toy.
Come near me, don’t fear me,
Just can’t get enough of you, boy.)
Oh, you touch my tra la la
&c., &c., &c.
The hilarity would seem to be compounded by the fact that Günther—with his curly mullet, thin mustache and overactive sweat glands—is ugly, yet surrounded by beautiful women.
This evidently amuses you. But again, I’m not here to judge. Only to help explain.
Incidentally, the Web’s largest portal for Günther-related material is MTV.com. The media conglomerate distributed the video for free at the site of its MTVAsia spinoff, where it writes, “The catchy bubblegum dance track is totally infectious and it’s not hard to see why it’s destined to be one of 2004’s biggest Euro hit [sic].”
A 60 percent youth-voter failure rate and a popular Internet video—two unrelated facts? I’m no conspiracy-monger, but it seems reasonable to conclude the following: (1) that millions of American youth were distracted from voting by Günther and similar entertainments; and (2) that this was in MTV’s interest.
How could that be? you ask. The vote was to be rocked! P. Diddy threatened to kill us all! Blame us, but don’t blame MTV!
Stop and think, I say. The liberal entertainment industry was, of course, publicly rallying young voters, with the clear subtext that they would vote Kerry—but what if it was all a pose? What if liberals didn’t want to win?
In 1942, George Orwell wrote as follows: “The ruling power is always faced with the question, ‘In such and such circumstances, what would you do?’, whereas the opposition is not obliged to take responsibility or make any real decisions. Where it is a permanent and pensioned opposition… the quality of its thought deteriorates accordingly.” He could easily have been describing the Democratic party, especially its Michael Moore wing. Some people simply get off on being the opposition, the counterculture, the Other. Some people cling desperately to the Man, just to have cause for rage. I submit that the entertainment industry is full of such people—their financial success depends entirely on a false ethos of opposition.
Deep down in places they don’t talk about at parties, the MTV executives were terrified of victory on Nov. 2, terrified that stumbling home from the celebration and slumping against the door in their dark rooms, there would be one unshakable thought through the champagne headache, the thought of four impotent years at the levers of power-four existentially paralyzing years of freedom—four years of work; that they would shudder in the darkness and whisper to themselves, what do we do now?
Doubt it? Consider the widespread Democratic masochism of the past two weeks. Here’s a Craiglist post from New York: “Go ahead and gloat by putting me over your knee and reminding me that George Bush is King! I’ll take it like a man. Any conservative women out there want to spank a handsome, polite, fit and clean liberal and make some cash? Make a sore loser out of me!” That sounds like a man, and a party, terrified of victory.
So victory was to be prevented at all costs. MTV did what it does best: distract you. And you did what you do best: Be distracted. Enter Günther.
Meanwhile, the national deficit is $412.5 billion. Forty-five million Americans are uninsured. Thirty-nine million live in poverty. So you can touch your tra la la all you want.
But keep the f--- away from mine.
Rob Goodman is a Trinity senior.
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