Take it away, Mitt, you pandering sack:
Transcript [Romney voiceover]: I’m deeply troubled about the culture that surrounds our kids today. Following the Columbine shootings, Peggy Noonan described our world as the ocean in which our children now swim. She described a cesspool of violence and sex and drugs and indolence and perversions; she said that the boys who did the shooting had inhaled too deeply in the oceans in which they swam. I’d like to see us clean up the water in which our kids are swimming. I’d like to keep pornography from coming up on their computers. I’d like to keep drugs off the streets. I’d like to see less violence and sex on TV and in video games and in movies. And if we get serious about this, we can actually do a great deal to clean up the water in which our kids and our grandkids are swimming. I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.
* * *
Yeah, well, I’d like to have my own pink pegasus to fly me to a castle made of rare doubloons surrounded by a milk chocolate moat.
It’s fun to have dreams.
But, um, what exactly is the plan for making this dream of cleaning up the cultural water a reality? And, while we’re at it, what’s the plan for cleaning up the actual water in which our kids swim, and which they, ya know, drink?
What really pisses me off about this ad is that it takes as read that “violence and sex” in the media creates kids like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, in spite of the obvious glaring problem with that assertion—namely, that they are a rare fucking exception, even though the consumption of mass media among kids is the rule. It just seems so perfect that video games are to blame, or TV or movies “these days.” It’s just so goddamned convenient an answer, that no one ever stops to examine how patently absurd it really is.
Which is not to say that our media is innocuous—because it isn’t. What it does do is transmit and reinforce the cultural narratives that feed into the creation of dangerous or desperate or depressed kids, that convey the ugly stereotypes of men and women that damage us all, that imprint upon children from impossibly early ages that to be different is to be bad and uniqueness is to be taunted and bullied stomped on until it is gone or, at least, forced into a recognizable shape.
The violence and the sex are just the candy to make the medicine go down. And if we banned them, something else would just take their place. Hero cliffhangers at the cinemaplex, maybe. Or pulp novels. Or the promise of eternal salvation. I’m not sure what Leopold and Loeb did for fun when they weren’t planning murders, back in the days before video games.
[H/T Oddjob, who got it from Sully, and delivered it with the hilarious rhetorical: “Could Romney possibly pander any more nakedly???”]