The Why and Wherefore

Oh Yeah? Your Mother.

Posted on: May 3, 2008

Let’s get right to it, shall we? Perusing the Washington Post, I noticed an ever-so-faintly scornful article about Chelsea Clinton, written by one Ian Shapira, who appears to have been hired to tell the Post what us young ‘uns think about the world. As the Voice of Our Generation, though, he doesn’t seem comfortable with Chelsea in that role at all.

Shapira echoes, and rightly so, several critics’ comments that Chelsea seems to want it both ways by campaigning for her mom but refusing to do any interviews or speak to the press at all. The overall theme of the article, however, is a wandering question as to whether or not she’s *really* representative of Our People:

We’re ironic, sarcastic and self-deprecating, a reflection of the pop culture and politics that played out while we grew up in the 1980s, 1990s and onward. We were weaned on Chevy Chase movies (“Spies Like Us,” of course, being the best), grunge and MTV’s “The Real World” (seasons 1 and 2 only, please) and trained by the Onion, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to detect spin in the most banal comments.

Good of him to clear that up. (What, no shout-outs for “Square One” and the Oregon Trail?) But the rest of the piece just sort of meanders along without giving any real reason why Chelsea might be out of step. Shapira offers several instances in which he might certainly have said something wittier than she did in response to some question, apparently without taking into consideration what happens when you get snarky on the campaign trail.

“Wouldn’t it have been better politics to deflect the question with harmless sarcasm?” wonders Shapira, referring to Chelsea’s blunt answer (“none of your business”) to a Monica-related question. In the immortal words of Brian Ralph Johnson:

Um, I can answer that right now, sir. That’d be no. No for me.

Overall, Shapira’s vague piece really suggests only one major way in which Chelsea is not speaking for Our Demographic: she’s supporting the wrong candidate. No wonder she’s not in good with the cool kids.

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