Generation Pap

This is the season of generational twaddle. At graduation ceremonies across the country, politicians, authors, actors, and businessmen take to the stage to tell young people they are fantastic simply because they are young. This year, the ritual is more pathetic than usual because there’s a presidential election in the offing. And because the current occupant of the White House won in 2008 in no small part due to his success with the “youth vote,” he is desperate for them to repeat their blunder. 

At the all-women’s school Barnard College, President Obama spoke to the audience as if they were an undifferentiated mob of “Julias.” I’m referring to the banally creepy, imaginary everywoman the Obama campaign has conjured on its website to show that Uncle Sam is now both sugar daddy and husband to the women of America. “Now more than ever — now more than ever,” the president repeated, “America needs what you, the class of 2012, has to offer.” By which he meant their votes for him, of course. But he couched it in all sorts of familiar platitudes.

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