If You Think the Godawful "Pajama Boy" Obamacare Ad is Godawful, You're Probably Not Its Audience.

you think the latest bid to reboot the public image of Obamacare is
absolutely godawful, disturbing, pathetic, you name it (I know I
do!), I’ve got news for you: You’re probably not the audience for
it. And you’re playing into the aims of the image’s creators.

For many – arguably most – Americans, this guy is hipster
douchitude on a cracker. Jeebus H. Christ, at least be swilling
brandy. The whole packaging, including the Christmas postcard
styling of the image, the infantilized image of man-child, the
vaguely imperial “GetTalking” hashtag, etc., runs through me like
months-old egg salad.

Yet, as with the widely ridiculed Life of Julia agitprop rolled
out during the 2012 campaign (read
Reason’s response here
), the image above works perfectly as
propaganda (and it turns out that Julia spoke pretty loudly to its
audience, with women –
especially unmarried women
– overwhelmingly going for

First, it creates not just a
clearly defined in-group (those who see this and identify either
with the guy in the picture or his larger situation) but a clearly
defined out-group (those of us who see this and wonder what
injuries to karma we committed in previous lives that we are
looking at this sort of shit in our current incarnations). Like
Life of Julia, it
is widely talked
about and has effectively won the
internet for at least a few days. And it creates a whole host of
carriers for its essential message via parody, satire, screeds, and

Some of the
parodies and rewrites are genuinely funny
and some are not (
the ones that reek of conservative insecurity about sexual identity
strike me as their own form of unfortunate expression). But they
all ultimately do what the spot’s creators wanted: They get people
talking about health insurance.

And with that, I’m zipping up, albeit not in meta-ironical
checkerboard pjs.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/18/if-you-think-the-godawful-pajama-boy-oba

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