Just as cigars sometimes can indeed be just cigars, so too can jokes. Yet this is a point which seems to be lost on several left-wing media writers who have taken great umbrage at the mockery that has been had at the expense of one Ethan Krupp, better known as “PajamaBoy.”
The crew on MSNBC’s Morning Joe proved today that not everyone on the left has missed the absurdity of the Obama administration putting forward a grown man in children’s pajamas with a cup of hot chocolate as the public face of Obamacare to young people. Still, there appear to be many Democratic partisans out there who are outraged at the jokes and what they supposedly say about those making them.
On the one hand, many of these erstwhile Obama supporters are angry at what they believe to be inappropriate inferences drawn from a single picture. Slate writer J. Bryan Lowder (don’t forget the first initial!) claims he is “fascinated” by people making derivative jokes about a dorky guy wearing kid’s clothes. In his mind, such jests are actually conservatives literally trying to create a fictional biography of the PajamaBoy character.
“It’s fascinating how much biographical information about ‘pajama boy’ umbrage-taking commentators have gleaned from a single image of the guy,” he writes before introducing an out-of-context quote from satirical article by National Review writer Charles Cooke which did nothing of the sort.
Lowder must not have read this piece by left-wing MSNBC.com writer Adam Serwer which does exactly that as he attempts to defend “an earnest twenty something in pajamas.” The absurdity is worth quoting at length:
Conservatives are calling Pajama Boy a symbol of Obama supporters’ un-American dependence on government, but at this point he’s more of a vehicle for conservatives to express their anxiety about losing wars, political and cultural. For them, Pajama Boy is yet another emblem of an increasingly non-white electorate, a young population that believes in a stronger welfare state, gender equality and LGBT rights.
Yes, you read that correctly. According to Serwer, Ethan “PajamaBoy” Krupp, a man who is obviously one of the whitest people on the planet, is actually an “emblem” of people who are not white. One wonders just how that is accomplished. It’s probably similar to having Don King become the leader of the Mormon church or Phil Robertson suddenly becoming a symbol of gay masculinity.
Serwer was not finished, however. He decided to continue embarrassing himself by alleging that people who think the OFA ad is absurd are actually engaging in an act of “cyberbullling an advertisement.”
New Republic writer Noreen Malone also decided to step up to psychoanalyze a joke with a piece accompanied by the following unintentionally funny headline: “Conservatives Mock Obamacare’s Pajama Boy Because They’re Scared of Him.”
Perhaps singing from the same script, Malone also decides to make National Review her villain but not before she incorrectly calls the name of the publication “The National Review” even though the definite article has never been a part of the magazine’s name in its entire history.
Having established her ignorance on that matter, Malone then proceeds to write up a paean to the beta male, something she believes, deep down, all conservative men fear and loathe because it is their demographic destiny:
Millennials and Democrats just love their mommies too much! But while this is a ritual mockery that's ostensibly about Obamacare, what it really reveals is a long-boiling, deep-seated fear on the right of the moment when a more beta-appearing man becomes the mainstream notion of masculinity.
There's plenty of evidence that moment is upon us. Hanna Rosin’s 2012 book, The End of Men, was the capstone of a growing tower of cultural works on the curious gender-role reversal. [...]
In an economy that is increasingly influenced by women (in all but three of the 2,000 largest metropolitan areas in the country, in the aggregate, single childless women under 30 are out-earning their male counterparts), the men who seem to be reaping the clearest rewards are those who seem to comfortable with the adjustments of a world that’s 40 years into second-wave feminism (and one in which, for that matter, gay culture is no longer fringe culture). The chest-thumping alpha males of yore now take their social cues from men who have worked out a more subtle way to assert themselves in the world. Metrosexuals aren't a new, urban category any more; people who might have been referred to that way ten years ago are now just called dudes. (Of course, even men who work at liberal magazines and live in Brooklyn find this transition complicated.) But if Pajama Boy is nothing out of the ordinary—which I'd argue he isn't—then that means conservatives are losing several culture-war battles, and thus a great deal of valuable electoral ammunition.
One gets the distinct impression that not only does Malone think that ridiculing Pajama Boy is morally wrong, she would like him to be the president. And why not? He’s already a poster child just like someone else formerly was.
Postscript: For those looking to find out more about Ethan Krupp, please refer to this Washington Examiner article about our dashing hero.