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Krohn's Disease
March 8, 2009 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Little Mr. Conservative. The interview concluded, Jonathan wistfully handed his mother her cellphone. His parents still won’t let him have one, even though he turned 14 last Sunday, right after he became an instant news media darling and the conservative movement’s underage graybeard at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
posted by psmealey (175 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Even Hitler was a young boy, once.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:15 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jonathan’s parents, Doug, a computer systems integrator, and Marla, a sales representative and former actress who teaches drama and speech to middle-school students, have been home-schooling their bright, curious son since the sixth grade. On Fridays, Jonathan joins 10 middle-school students at the Classical School in Woodstock, where classes are taught from a Christian perspective, for five hours of study, including Latin.

Is one of you guys going to call Child Protective Services, or shall I?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:17 AM on March 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


Poor kid.
posted by ChickenringNYC at 9:18 AM on March 8, 2009


The part that strikes me as amusing is that the Republican Party needs to take advice from a 14 year old...
posted by HuronBob at 9:20 AM on March 8, 2009 [32 favorites]


This just in...children are easily manipulated by their parents.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:21 AM on March 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


To be honest, he didn't seem particularly "bright." He knows multisyllabic words. That's just the sign of someone who isn't completely incurious and dim.

It's a shame the media works like this.
posted by sonic meat machine at 9:23 AM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


He's really just one aspect of the conservative media make over. Just another desperate attempt at remaining relevant. (sigh) The ideals of the conservative movement had the last eight years to prove their worth. They failed. Rebranding and repackaging aren't going to make them any better.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 9:26 AM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, wasn't this a sitcom once?
posted by mmahaffie at 9:28 AM on March 8, 2009 [25 favorites]


I wonder why his book, "Define Conservatism," isn't on Amazon and what the references are to Jefferson that he wants to delete.
posted by Kirklander at 9:31 AM on March 8, 2009


Heh, I remember when I was "on the inside" of a religious nutball community too.
posted by DU at 9:31 AM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Between this kid and Rush, I'm starting to think I've slipped into an alternate reality where, yes, The Onion is actually a real newspaper. "GOP WOWED BY FOURTEEN YEAR OLD KID!"

Could he be the next republican frontrunner?

No, seriously...
posted by fuq at 9:31 AM on March 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


P.S. Excerpt from the Krohn blog:
Uh oh! Here it comes… Obama is going to expand government’s interference into your doctor’s office. Government will tell you what you can and cannot get at the doctor’s office. Obama, Dodd, Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid, and Biden, just a few of the people who will be out their telling you what you’re healthcare benefits will be. President Obama has told us that he wants to boost the economy, but when he talks about universal healthcare all he is discussing is a government monopoly of the healthcare industry; meaning a loss of jobs and a major dent in the economy, not to mention policy commonly described as typical socialism. Because the government will monopolize the health industry, different aspects of good healthcare will become harder to afford, or at least worse in quality. So Americans, hold onto your health, because socialized medicine for all is on the way…
posted by Kirklander at 9:33 AM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


30 years ago we had our own version in the UK (sadly his excruciating speech isn't not on youtube)... and he ended up leading the Tory party... this kid gonna be running for president in 2038?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:33 AM on March 8, 2009


Is this the political version of those people buying abstract art made by toddlers and then questioning the meaning of art?
posted by Phalene at 9:34 AM on March 8, 2009 [8 favorites]


when he talks about universal healthcare all he is discussing is a government monopoly of the healthcare industry

Yeah, I wish.

Obama is going to expand government’s interference into your doctor’s office.

*cough*schiavoabortionstemcells*cough*
posted by DU at 9:34 AM on March 8, 2009 [20 favorites]


... oh and he inspired this.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:36 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Okay. I will be good. I watched his speech...

If you simply reversed the words "liberal" and "conservative" in his speech, and removed the dickish suit, this speech would have fit-in at pretty much any liberal or progressive meeting. He's for principles, and respect. Who doesn't respect the Constitution and life? Who isn't for personal responsibility? The only thing that wouldn't fit is "less government", and during that last eight years, I would have cheered for that too.
posted by mmahaffie at 9:37 AM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


This kid will grow up. Who knows if his views will become more nuanced; I think it's likely.

But some of what he says is simply true, e.g. "Barack Obama is the most left-wing president of my lifetime." The kid is 14. His lifetime consists of 8 years of Bush, and the last six of Clinton. Honestly the statement is probably true for me too; I can add on up to the beginning of Reagan's presidency.
I just don't think Obama's relative leftness is a bad thing (whereas it appears this kid does).


Anyhow, the kid's issue isn't manipulation by parents; it seems to be more manipulation by people his parents let him have contact with (e.g. conservative talk radio hosts). I'd really like to see what this kid thinks in another decade. (I would absolutely cringe if some of my nascent politcal thoughts from that age were publicly available in video form).
posted by nat at 9:39 AM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


So, to sum up, the current front-runners for "future of the Republican party" are:

1. A radio talk show host.
2. An ex-beauty pageant contestant.
3. A plumber.
4. A ten-year-old boy.

Hmmm.
posted by 0x029a at 9:43 AM on March 8, 2009 [67 favorites]


(crap. fourteen-year-old.)
posted by 0x029a at 9:43 AM on March 8, 2009


Even Hitler was a young boy, once.

How jaded do you have to be to compare a 14 year old kid to Hitler?

Not Christ, you are an asshole.
posted by clearly at 9:43 AM on March 8, 2009 [9 favorites]


To be honest, he didn't seem particularly "bright." He knows multisyllabic words. That's just the sign of someone who isn't completely incurious and dim.

It's a shame the media works like this.


IMO he is helped here by

a) the current lack of articulate Republican leadership;
b) man bites dog media appeal; and
c) the fact that he looks somewhat younger than his age.

B & C in particular means that the ideas are not greatly prodded, and he can actually read a speech OK. I think he's lucky that the spot was limited to 2 minutes, and at 5-10 a lot more cracks would appear. Luckily the speech was 2 minutes, and news media will never allocate more than that to a human interest interview. It's not that hard to fill 2 minutes with fairly simplistic comments, although set against that I think that the central thesis that modern conservatism is based on values rather than the validity of policy is a far more honest and concise thing than anything an adult could say. The irony here is that his view of the low value of policy reasoning and the applause it recieved at CPAC is ironically more a an unintentinal critque.

tl;dr: "The impressive thing is not how well the bear dances, but that it dances at all."
posted by jaduncan at 9:44 AM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Fear, Loathing and Child Abuse at CPAC
posted by homunculus at 9:45 AM on March 8, 2009


I feel sorry for the kid. He's never going to get laid until at least his mid-thirties.
posted by jonp72 at 9:46 AM on March 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


Even Hitler was a young boy, once.

How jaded do you have to be to compare a 14 year old kid to Hitler?

Not Christ, you are an asshole.


No, you need a sense of humor.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:48 AM on March 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


When I was fourteen, I started high school short & fat, wearing a buttoned-up Ban-Lon® polo shirt, pressed grey flannel slacks, some kind of shiny black shoes, black horn-rimmed glasses, & about a double-handful of Score® in my hair. I expected to join the Army & go to Viet Nam

Over the next four years, I noticed & responded to political assassinations, the '68 Democratic Convention, rock music, psychoactive substances, widespread sociological change, & a number of facts about the world I had not noticed earlier.

When I graduated from high school, I was eighteen, tall & skinny, wearing t-shirts, jeans, & sneakers. I wore round, gold-rimmed glasses, & my hair was down past my shoulder blades. I expected to avoid the draft by going to Canada.

My yearbook voted me "Most Changed Since Freshman Year."

Lots can happen to kids as they grow up.
posted by Forrest Greene at 9:53 AM on March 8, 2009 [33 favorites]


Typically molly-coddled American youth; there's children in Africa who're ten-year veterans of civil war by his age, never mind a few tart speeches.
posted by Abiezer at 9:57 AM on March 8, 2009 [13 favorites]


This is the modern version of the heyday of the boy evangelists, the most well-known, Marjoe.
Krohn is just a continuation of the evangelical tradition.

It's hard to imagine any other political persuasion taking a child's pontificating on policy seriously.
posted by readery at 9:58 AM on March 8, 2009 [15 favorites]


(sadly his excruciating speech isn't not on youtube)

Luckily, the BBC can help us out. Yes, this child led the Conservative Party here in Blighty. (Eventually, obviously. Not at the time.)
posted by robself at 9:58 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Great. Tucker Carlson's fucking fetus is on the loose. At least it doesn't wear a bow-tie.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:59 AM on March 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


To be honest, he didn't seem particularly "bright." He knows multisyllabic words. That's just the sign of someone who isn't completely incurious and dim.

To be honest, it would be a bit of a stretch to expect a fourteen-year old kid to come up with new political ideas. But he seems to be able to comprehend what these (conservative) thinkers are saying and relate it to today's problems. In time, if he continues his studies, he might turn into a rather capable political thinker.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:00 AM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not unusual for a bright, well-meaning teenager to be a Conservative. Conservativism is about following the rules and succeeding through hard work. In the environment teenagers live in, whether at school or at home, this theory usually pans out.

In the grownup world, on the other hand, the rules are tilted to keep the powerful in power at the expense of the weak. Following the rules and working hard, while still a formula for success if you're somewhat upper-class and white, can be a sucker's game if you're not.
posted by Nahum Tate at 10:03 AM on March 8, 2009 [64 favorites]


No, you need a sense of humor.

I'd agree with you here if the Hltler jokes weren't tired before USENET.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:03 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought the "most left-wing president of my lifetime" part was hilarious. Of course it is arguably true, but you just know that he is repeating something he picked up from someone much older - and coming out of the mouth of someone whose lifetime only just spans 3 presidents it is charmingly naive. "Oh, Jonathan" indeed.
posted by pascal at 10:04 AM on March 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


I thought the "most left-wing president of my lifetime" part was hilarious.

So there's at least one conservative who has a sense of humor.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:07 AM on March 8, 2009


Having come to adolescences in the aftermath of Vietnam, stagflation, the "malaise" of the Carter years, and seeing for myself that blighted inner cities of NYC, Newark, Bridgeport, etc. completely falling apart and crime-ridden despite decades of trumpeted "urban renewal" projects, there was something very attractive about the certitude of conservatism, and the optimism of its leader, Reagan (who was inaugurated when I was 12). So, at roughly the same age, I might have considered myself a conservative, but I think, or at least I remember myself being bright enough to know that I had shit for real life experience, and that such things can change quickly once you get out there in the real world. And they did.

So, even though I can try to put myself in young Jonathan's shoes to understand his perspective, the historical context is completely different. This last generation of conservatives are a bunch of whiners who constantly pull the victim card (unlike the rugged individualist patter of the cons of my youth), despite having almost total control of the upper reaches of government, and worse, have brought us to crisis both home and abroad.

However smart this kid is, he should read a fucking newspaper instead of the Gospel According to Bill Bennett. The shit's coming apart at the seams, and it's his heroes' fault. However "hyperarticulate" he is, for him to cling to conservatism is the mark of a perhaps studious young mind, but not a nimble one. To put it differently, Jonathan Krohn, IQ = 150, EQ, not so hot.
posted by psmealey at 10:08 AM on March 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


This just in...children are easily manipulated by their parents.

Not most fourteen-year-olds I know. But that he identifies himself as a "Jewish Christian" tells me he's going to have no problem with cognitive dissonance when swallowing and regurgitating Republican talking points. That the American Conservative movement latches on to a kid who's 4 years from being able to vote and describes Obama as the most liberal president of his lifetime speaks a lot to their current position. He's already got as articulate, explicitly-defined and well-thought-out arguments as most of the people he looks up to on the radio, and probably more informed than a great deal of voters were before voting in the elections he's been out of diapers for. America: are you smarter than a seventh grader?
posted by Hoopo at 10:09 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Watching his speech, it seemed really apparent that he listens to a lot of talk radio. His cadence reflected it, very clearly. Content-wise, what he said wasn't very meaningful but given his time limit (exceeded though it may have been) and youth, that is only to be expected. The only other thing that came through with crystalline transparency is the fact that he has a book. I expect its sales to skyrocket with all this media attention. In that regard at least, good on him. This makes me more optimistic about the future of capitalism than it does the future of conservatism. And quite frankly, I don't mind that at all.
posted by Muttoneer at 10:09 AM on March 8, 2009


I went to college with David Frum, who was just a few years older than this kid at the time. Plus ça change...
posted by twsf at 10:10 AM on March 8, 2009


I don't know what is more sad, that a fourteen year old child is being used as a mouthpiece for Republican wharrgarbl, or that there is absolutely nothing unique about him. The religious right has been training their children to be demagogues like this for decades. Ralph Reed and his cohorts run workshops for teenagers to learn how to do exactly what this kid is doing.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 10:12 AM on March 8, 2009


The kid has a dream (albeit one that seems crazy and unimaginable by liberal internet folk) and is pursuing it. I think that's great. Awesome, even, because he enfranchises teenagers. Is he being used as a pawn? Sure, but to some extent, I'm sure he recognizes it. And hey, he's becoming a national figure at the age of 14. I would have loved to be exploited like that when I was a kid.

He gets to meet very high level Republicans, he's getting media attention, and based on his intelligence, he may get an express ticket to Republican leadership after college.

Or he might do what daniel_charms did. I'm failing to see why people here are acting like such assholes. He's a kid. He's not supposed to be a fabled conservative philosopher. He's just a guy who has strong beliefs and is able to create a national stage for himself. To some extent, anyone with strong political views (on any side) would love to have what he has right now. He has a voice that's heard.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:13 AM on March 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


daniel_charms: being called a "conservative" really pushes the limits of my sense of humour. Consider yourself off my christmas card list.
posted by pascal at 10:14 AM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oops, I meant Forrest Greene.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 10:16 AM on March 8, 2009


About that book...

The family said Jonathan paid to have the book published with his own savings, earned from writing and performing on a syndicated radio Bible show for children.

Sounds like somebody needs a quick refresher on Yog's Law.
posted by teraflop at 10:17 AM on March 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


Favoriting Nahum Tate; that's how it strikes me exactly. He's home-schooled--how many peers does he have who are rebellious or free-thinking?
posted by emjaybee at 10:19 AM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, you need a sense of humor.

If his political career doesn't pan out at least he has a future modeling for LEGO hair.
posted by clearly at 10:20 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


pascal: not you, him (you obviously lack one).
posted by daniel_charms at 10:22 AM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Nothing against the kid at all, but does it surprise anyone that a 14 year old is capable of mouthing conservative orthodoxy? When I was 14 I was pro life and a huge Reagan and bush supporter. I was for the gulf war. When I was a senior in hs I listened to rush and was a huge fan of gingritch. It wasn't until I went to college that I understood how much I had been lied to.

I wonder what this kid will do when he finds out he's being used.
posted by empath at 10:32 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Conservative ideology. So simple even a middle-schooler can do it!
posted by MrVisible at 10:32 AM on March 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


I wonder what this kid will do when he finds out he's being used.

Either start a neo-fascist theocratic cult, or blow his brains out. 49/49 odds, with a slight 2% chance of media shill.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 AM on March 8, 2009


Maybe some day he will grow up to be the next Turdblossom.
posted by pianomover at 10:38 AM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


We're safe for about 16 years. If his parents let him go to a college out of their grasp, he might even light up a few joints and undo all that brainwashing.
posted by medea42 at 10:39 AM on March 8, 2009


America: are you smarter than a seventh grader?

I think we already know the answer to that question.
posted by cotterpin at 10:41 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


+1 readery, for bringing up Marjoe. I'm also reminded of those African American preacher kids who pop up every once in a while.

fearfulsymmetry: 30 years ago we had our own version in the UK (sadly his excruciating speech isn't not on youtube)[...]

Ah, I think I've seen that or something like it recently. Yes, another Fry and Laurie link. I'm shameless.
posted by JHarris at 10:45 AM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


fearful symmetry: "He inspired this..."

Hmm. Funny, it looks like it was Al Franken inspired to me.
posted by symbioid at 10:46 AM on March 8, 2009


Well, at least the intro, not the skit itself.
posted by symbioid at 10:46 AM on March 8, 2009


So, to sum up, the current front-runners for "future of the Republican party" are:

1. A radio talk show host.
2. An ex-beauty pageant contestant.
3. A plumber.
4. A ten-year-old boy.


GOOGLE RON PAUL
posted by mkultra at 10:47 AM on March 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ya'lll are missing the big picture. The kid has that magic something that makes people listen to him or at least notice him. He literally has star power and as long as he keeps that and stays outta trouble, he'll be a political star. Sure he's not particularly deep and he's not selling the mostly liberal Metafitler on conservatism, big surprise.

But in 2012, he'll be older and if things are still aas shitty, Obama's getting the blame (rightfully so too) and this eighteen year old kid, excuse me, voter, will be mobilizing the youth vote over who hasn't fixed the country like he promised. I can almost hear it now: "When President Obama was elected he promised change. Like most people I thought he meant things were going to change for the better, not worse. That's why I'm campaigning for Sarah Palin. who as governor actually brought positive change to Alaska and she can do that for the rest of this great country of ours!"

Cue appaulse, ballons, his eight month old bride wife and cute five month old baby.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:49 AM on March 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


Luckily, the BBC can help us out. Yes, this child led the Conservative Party here in Blighty. (Eventually, obviously. Not at the time.)

Thanks Rob... it was even more horrible than I remembered
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:52 AM on March 8, 2009


In about ten years, I predict, the patchouli smell coming off this kid's dreadlocks will be enough to knock a buzzard off a gut-wagon.

If he's bright, he'll understand what becomes of him when he's no longer cute.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:52 AM on March 8, 2009 [12 favorites]


You know, I'm suffering outrage fatigue at the fundie retards. All I can manage is a sad, pitying laugh at this pint-sized, pathetic pundit.
posted by kldickson at 10:52 AM on March 8, 2009


as the child of a politician - who has no interest in getting into that noble yet soul-destroying game - i have had quite a bit of exposure to prepubescent political fanboys and i have this warning:

kids who want to get into politics before the age of 17 are fucking dangerous and should be imprisoned.

seriously, if your interest in politics develops before your conscience, your intellect or your interest in the opposite sex, you are damaged goods.
posted by klanawa at 10:57 AM on March 8, 2009 [48 favorites]


"When I was fourteen, I started high school... My yearbook voted me "Most Changed Since Freshman Year. Lots can happen to kids as they grow up."

You went to a public high school. This kid gets home schooled in an echo chamber, probably with Rush Limbaugh playing in the background. He has no exposure to differing views except as two-dimensional caricatures.

It's much easier to hate "the other", to attribute to him all sorts of scariness and malevolence, when you never meet any real examples of that other.

To this kid, liberals really do sit around pledging allegiance to Marx and Stalin while cackling about robbing regular people of their paychecks to give to welfare queens in Cadillacs, while plotting to abort babies. Gays really do plot to recruit kids his age, to transform them from Americans to faggots. Atheists really invented evolutionary theory solely to discredit God. Witches and Satanists literally exist, with their single purpose to literally do the biding of a very real, not figurative at all Satan.

The kid quite literally believes in demons, and every authority in his life, whether parent or pastor or a book or the radio or the TV news reinforces this belief. As much as you absorbed to the point of "obvious and incontrovertible fact" that the world is round, he's absorbed as axiomatically true and not even worth questioning, that fully half of Americans are intent on destroying him, his family, and all they believe in, motivated by hate, envy and Satanic orders.
posted by orthogonality at 10:58 AM on March 8, 2009 [50 favorites]


It had to be done, I'm sorry....
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 11:00 AM on March 8, 2009


empath's story is much like my own.

pianomover has a point. Grover Norquist came upon his anti-tax fervor while a teenager, and Karl Rove went to work for William Bennett right out of highschool. (So proclaims the mighty PEDE.)
posted by JHarris at 11:05 AM on March 8, 2009


Congrats, kid. You can talk like an adult. Now learn to think like one.
posted by limeonaire at 11:05 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Lordy, I wish one of these conservatives would explain why having the government ration health care is so much worse than having for-profit insurance companies do it.
posted by sensate at 11:07 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I too, was a raging Republican dork at 14. I think it has something to do with the temporary insanity that comes with the mindfuck levels of hormones coursing through your body. at that age. There's so much inner confusion and Republicanism is clear and direct and soothing even in it's black and whiteness and hell so is a flirtation with fascism and I predict he begins to wear SS clothing, or something close to it in the next few years or even becomes a skinhead. This will be immediately followed by growing a beard, hanging out on Daily Kos (or Metafilter) and doing bong hits whilst bopping to the Sea and Cake.
posted by Skygazer at 11:12 AM on March 8, 2009


Obama is going to expand government’s interference into your doctor’s office.

Whereas the GOP will expand insurance companies interference win your doctor's office.
posted by eriko at 11:15 AM on March 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


It had to be done, I'm sorry....
posted by orthogonality at 11:18 AM on March 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


> I wonder what this kid will do when he finds out he's being used.

Either start a neo-fascist theocratic cult, or blow his brains out. 49/49 odds, with a slight 2% chance of media shill.


Gah, such pessimism.

Given that The Forbidden can have a very powerful lure, I predict a growing infatuation with The Dark Side over the next few years. Some stupid family argument will cause a blow-out and he'll run away to one of the coasts, where he'll have a brief career as a stripper and cabana boy with a stunning array of off-menu services (oft involving leather restraints). Eventually he'll be introduced to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and work his way up to being a House Abbess.
posted by CKmtl at 11:34 AM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/08/fashion/08conserve.html
posted by mudpuppie at 11:40 AM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Cue appaulse, ballons, his eight month old bride wife and cute five month old baby.

Wow. Impregnating a newborn and cutting pregnancy down to under 3 months -- Now that IS star power!
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:42 AM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


The ideals of the conservative movement had the last eight years to prove their worth. They failed. Rebranding and repackaging aren't going to make them any better.

What are you talking about?
What you saw was conservatism running its normal course- unchecked- since Reagan's people took office in 1981.
posted by Zambrano at 11:42 AM on March 8, 2009


that photo is going to haunt him in years to come.
posted by krautland at 11:42 AM on March 8, 2009


having grown up a knee-jerk Republican, and having frequent contact with teens and pre-teens, i can tell you that he is only atypical in his ability to communicate and his lack of camera shyness.

his homeschooling is probably what has given him the ability for those last two things--as far as being sheltered... it appears he's pursued his political stuff on his own with not-so-much encouragement from his family. (who, based on the article, appear to think they've created a monster.) precocious communication ability is somewhat common amongst homeschoolers. (for some reason, school seems to breed a sort of sullenness in children.)

he'll grow up, and he'll be mortified that all his nonsense is on the Internets for all to see forever and ever. but don't blame homeschooling for his being "sheltered." i work in schools on a daily basis, and if you think there aren't plenty of ignorant conservative children out there, you're sorely mistaken. children almost always copy/magnify their parents beliefs at this age.
posted by RedEmma at 11:43 AM on March 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


I didn't hear anything in the way of new ideas. So, young though he may be, he's also prematurely quaint, spouting the same ol' same ol'. Got a bad case of economic cancer? Take two tax breaks for the rich and call me in the morning.
posted by jamstigator at 11:43 AM on March 8, 2009


he's going to end up in an office somewhere shuffling papers on a daily basis and wondering whatever happened to that ambitious 14 year old kid he used to be
posted by pyramid termite at 11:47 AM on March 8, 2009


This comment refusing this kid the dignity of my attention is the only ting I will ever say on the matter unless it comes up when I'm drunk.
posted by cmoj at 11:49 AM on March 8, 2009


teraflop, you're mostly right here, but occasionally, and with great exception some novels are self-published first. Vice Flynn did this with "Term Limits", and Christopher Paolini did it with "Eragon." I could give dozens of examples of this, but would actually hurt my argument that this is rare. You would be better served playing the lottery, and I am no fan of that.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:52 AM on March 8, 2009


You know who else was an "actor" before becoming a mindless Conservative mouthpiece?
posted by paisley henosis at 11:55 AM on March 8, 2009


Wow. Just Wow.

Listen to yourselves. I don't think I've ever seen a more vitriolic and unsettling reaction to a young man on metafilter.

He's 14 years old. He's saying what he believes in. He's engaging in fucking politics. Which bits of this are so terrible?

You know - I'd have less of an issue with you all here if you were concentrating on how the Right Wing is using a child for political means. That's pretty bad, and I'd understand if you had a problem with it. Of course - I'd also have to remind you that the last time a kid was referenced by the media and metafilter for being political, O'Reilly thought it was wrong and you all thought it was fine. Hypocrites, the lot of you.

But that isn't the point. There's a fourteen year old boy here, and you're cracking jokes about how he'll never get laid, how he's stupid and how he's like Hitler.

So yeah. Welcome to the world. Metafilter turns it's world renowned "intellect" on a kid. Calls him a loser retard. You're like the stereotyped bad Jock in a teen movie. All that's missing is the wedgie and a final act comeuppance. Hope you're bloody proud of yourselves.
posted by seanyboy at 11:57 AM on March 8, 2009 [17 favorites]


This is just deeply sad. I went through my Internet Debate Champion! phase at 14 or so myself, and thank fuck I did so under a fake name and that there was not a self-promoting parent or desperately flailing political party out there with an interest in parading my adorably precocious ass all over the teevee.
posted by shadow vector at 12:02 PM on March 8, 2009


children almost always copy/magnify their parents beliefs at this age.

Post boomer, perhaps, but we were all like, 'Up Against the Wall, Grown-up Motherfuckers!'
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:04 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think I've ever seen a more vitriolic and unsettling reaction to a young man on metafilter.

I'm a very far cry from excited about this thread considering the number of things that could go badly, but if this is as bad as the "vitriol" gets, I'm calling my Sunday a winner. A couple obligatory post-post-ironic Hitler references and kldickson having the lazy poor taste to trot out "fundie retards" is pretty weak tea, as far as that goes.
posted by cortex at 12:04 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Read the NYT article, then watched the clip. Frankly, this is much ado about nothing. I don't think it is right to put a child into the position (seanyboy: because I was his age once, and I'm glad that the rest of the world can't see me now the way I was then, his idiology has nothing to do with this) and, frankly, it seems like his protective parents seem to think this is a bad idea, but do nothing to stop it, or slow it down, which I find very odd.

All joking aside, I hate seeing children used as political dog-and-pony shows, for any cause. And we all know the kinds of pressure that media attention can put onto a young person, and the kinds of terrible lives they can be trapped with as a result. Some of you may not know, but raising children with the blinders set to maximum tunnel effect has a lot of the same association with tragedy down the road. Honestly, I just hope he is able to out grow all of this and put it behind him, so that he can live his life, not be stuck living for someone else until he can't take it any more.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:07 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Children should be seen and not heard.

And I'm a Republican.

(I get annoyed when any group uses children to further its aims. I don't like public service annoucement brats telling the adults what to do about the environment, or their health, or any other topic, and I don't want callow youth talking about politics, either. Because they don't know anything yet. In fact, you don't have much to say to me about anything till you're over thirty.)

/oldfart rant
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:13 PM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


In the environment teenagers live in, whether at school or at home, this theory usually pans out.


Exactly, at 14 you have no real life experience. Youre just old enough to parrot the lines they give you and think of how noble all these positions are. At 14 you dont see a friend of family member go broke over an illness because their insurance wont cover it, you have no stake in the politics of sexuality like condoms &abortion, war is an abstract concept because you wont be drafted and all your pals are too young to enlist, youve never been overseas so the world is abstract outside of your little town, you have no paycheck and no understanding of real money and how to maintain a real job, you have no car, you pay no taxes, you have no debt, youve had health insurance your whole life paid for by your parents, etc.

Essentially, youre just a pet owned by your parents. I can teach a parrot to say "No new taxes" but something tells me the parrot will just be an expert in shitting in his cage and eating seeds.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:13 PM on March 8, 2009 [23 favorites]


It's vitriol alright. And self satisfied, smug and hypocritical vitriol at that.
And it's not just a couple of comments.

Even Hitler was a young boy, once.
Is one of you guys going to call Child Protective Services, or shall I
To be honest, he didn't seem particularly "bright."
Typically molly-coddled American youth;
Great. Tucker Carlson's fucking fetus is on the loose.
All I can manage is a sad, pitying laugh at this pint-sized, pathetic pundit


I should have gone more subtle on this and quoted Wendy Murphy. See how many favourites I could get.

"You bet it is. There is no question that using a child as a tool to promote propaganda, political propaganda about which the child understands nothing. I guarantee you a child of that age has no idea what he is saying. That is the ultimate inhumane treatment of a child.

And you know what the worst part is? And I'm sure the parents are responsible for this. They've got a child on the world stage, a completely vulnerable child, making very incendiary and provocative statements about things people have strong feelings about. "
posted by seanyboy at 12:17 PM on March 8, 2009


It had to be done, I'm sorry....
posted by P.o.B. at 12:20 PM on March 8, 2009


GOOGLE RON PAUL

Ok. Evolution denying, anti-abortion nutcase with ties to white supremecy groups who wants to get back on the gold standard and disembowel all things federal. Err, okay. If forced Id rather vote for the plumber guy.
posted by damn dirty ape at 12:20 PM on March 8, 2009


Thank God there's at least one teenager out there whose mind is not clouded by feelings and romanticism.

The kid's body language is masterful, every motion conveys authority. And that nasal tone - so patronizing. No one mentioned the obvious - that the speech itself is highly "encoded", but it's worth decoding to see where this youngster's head is:

1. Respect for government and the constitution: can only be the second amendment.
2. Respect for life: I don't think he means the snail darter, but a pro-life stance. So a little mixing of church and state is where all that respect for the founding fathers has some wiggle room.
3. "Personal responsibility": if only those freeloaders, none of whom are conservative, would get a job - or start a business in the Free Marketplace! Work hard, play fair, and you, too, can achieve the American Dream.
4. "Smaller government": wealthy people who don't like paying taxes use this along with the Horatio Alger (and Ayn Rand) myth to convince the masses that the gummint is the enemy.

I don't think he will grow up to be disillusioned, because I get a vibe, as klawana hints above, that he already does not believe what he is saying. Watch carefully some of his fleeting expressions, such as the grimace right after "I only have two minutes, so I have to make this quick". What's behind that statement? This kid is in it for the applause and manipulation; the last thing he cares about is "the people" or human rights.
posted by AppleSeed at 12:29 PM on March 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


A 14-year old kid parroting what his parents have been teaching him appeals to the current extreme rump of the GOP for one main reason. Extreme conservatives like to believe that their inhumane, self-centred and divisive ideas are an essential, inarguable truth, something that could be understood (and regurgitated) by a child.

That in itself speaks to the implicit childishness of the extreme conservative mindset, which is essentially a rejection of the idea of change that in any way undermines a mid 1950's idealised society that never existed, with an equally childlike greediness and lack of empathy with other human beings.

Bush-era conservatives will champion this child because they believe he is the natural evolution of their beliefs, self-evident truths so obvious that a mere child can understand them, and he allows them to believe that the stereotype of a liberal that they hold in their diseased little minds is in itself childish and uncomprehending of the reality of the world.

Put simply - "Even a kids knows them damn hippies are no good" and other variations thereof.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:31 PM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Get off it seanyboy - the bit you've quoted from my comment was just the set-up for the jokey comment (about something far more serious) that came after.
Was thinking watching the clip that he's had some public speaking training - the hand gestures were reminiscent of Tony Blair just back from PR training camp.
posted by Abiezer at 12:37 PM on March 8, 2009


He's 14 years old. He's saying what he believes in. He's engaging in fucking politics. Which bits of this are so terrible?

It's what he believes in that is so terrible. He believes in the same things that have killed hundreds of thousands of people in the last eight years alone and have brought the world and this nation to their knees.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:38 PM on March 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


You're like the stereotyped bad Jock in a teen movie. All that's missing is the wedgie and a final act comeuppance. Hope you're bloody proud of yourselves.

Proud? I am ashamed I didn't do more to protect those who were weren't as intimidating to bullies in high school. The things this kid believes in, the beliefs he is promoting, are that same bullying on a national, cultural scale.

I hope he gets laid, smokes pot, has fun in college. Only life experience will teach him the folly of his ways.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 12:46 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, when I was his age, I too read "Ender's Game" and thought that it would be cool to be a political pundit like Peter and Valentine Wiggin.

Then I read "The Lord of the Rings" and decided it would be more fun to rule the world with my Burning Eye of Doom.

Now, I just read Sarah Vowell and giggle at how fucked up we all are.
posted by greekphilosophy at 1:08 PM on March 8, 2009 [5 favorites]


Theater actor, you say? He'll change his tune when he wants to marry his partner.
posted by basicchannel at 1:17 PM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


In about ten years, I predict, the patchouli smell coming off this kid's dreadlocks will be enough to knock a buzzard off a gut-wagon.

Actually, I predict the opposite: in ten years, he will be even more deeply invested in his worldview, because it will have brought him positive attention and success. Most of us are very lucky that our youthful ideas about the world, as ignorant and poorly considered as they were passionate, were not backed with the tremendous emotional investment caused by success, which ties those ideas to your identity.

I think this kid is being royally screwed up because of this. My prediction, if he continues to be in the conservative-world spotlight at all, is that he'll build a media personality on this bullshit by his early 20s, and won't really reconsider these ideas' truth at all until some major life stuff happens to him (death of a loved one, divorce, etc.). Those unfortunately are usually the scale of thing that it takes to make one ask "am I right about all my ideas of the world?"

I think his parents are doing him a tremendous disservice by not teaching him some humility about his ideas, that no matter how smart he may or may not be he does not have all the experience in the world, and does not know all the ideas in the world, nor does he have a complete, nuanced understanding of the ideas he does know. To me, those are basic lessons for a smart kid to learn, and parents teach and reinforce them best. Unfortunately, I infer that his parents must be fairly incurious and dogmatically certain to support what he's doing.

Also, this: Some of you may not know, but raising children with the blinders set to maximum tunnel effect has a lot of the same association with tragedy down the road. Honestly, I just hope he is able to out grow all of this and put it behind him, so that he can live his life, not be stuck living for someone else until he can't take it any more.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:19 PM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Children should be seen and not heard.

Wrong.

Children should be neither seen nor heard. That's why I'm going to send my kids to the Milford Academy. Say what you will, but those kids are equipped for life!
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:20 PM on March 8, 2009 [8 favorites]


At least he's not Dexter. What is it with the New York Times and kids?
posted by betweenthebars at 1:20 PM on March 8, 2009


On non-preview, what others have also said above.

Also wanted to repeat this: Extreme conservatives like to believe that their inhumane, self-centred and divisive ideas are an essential, inarguable truth, something that could be understood (and regurgitated) by a child.

This is a compelling perspective.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:22 PM on March 8, 2009


Hilarious. Fucking hilarious. I couldn't be more pleased. The most significant speeches of CPAC came from that sweaty greasebag Limbaugh and this mealy-mouthed kid? Oh, happy day. Don't let this youthful representative fool you, folks, this is what a dying movement looks like. Any one with any credibility has left the building. Extreme conservatism is down to the Palins, the Becks, the Limbaughs, the Von Plumbers. They're a scary bunch, but their relevance is plummeting.

That's what you see stunts like this. That's why the McCain campaign was nothing but stunts. This brand of conservatism is bankrupt of ideas and hasn't the class to die quietly. So expect to see more dumb shit like Joe the War Correspondent, Limbaugh huffing behind a few more podiums and the occasional kid in a sweater vest parroting talk radio. Expect to see the same hard core of angry white males holding fast to these bizarre ideals as more and more centrists and pragmatists abandon ship.

This kid's notoriety won't survive the next couple news cycles. His beliefs won't survive his first couple years in college. And if neoconservatism has naught to offer but obstructionist representatives, talk radio-fueled soft treason and supply-siders saying the darndest things, then it won't take but a couple more electoral drubbings to leave them about as relevant as Ralph Nader's fucking LiveJournal page.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:24 PM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


And if neoconservatism has naught to offer but obstructionist representatives, talk radio-fueled soft treason and supply-siders saying the darndest things, then it won't take but a couple more electoral drubbings to leave them about as relevant as Ralph Nader's fucking LiveJournal page.

The problem is, I'd be shocked if it didn't offer up some hard treason in the next couple of years, too. When crazy people who had influence start seeing that influence slip away, well... we get Timothy McVeigh.
posted by Caduceus at 1:35 PM on March 8, 2009


Nice post title, by the way. Can't believe nobody's commented on it this far down. Too obscure?
posted by gurple at 1:40 PM on March 8, 2009


Two things:

Re healthcare my premiums have gone up double digits every year for a decade with no explanation whatsoever. Excuse me if I don't fear new regulation.

No conservative should be able to say "respect the constitution" without being laughed at, considering their track record in the White House.
posted by joseppi7 at 1:55 PM on March 8, 2009


orthogonality, when you linked to that song from Cabaret, it brought back the memory of seeing the movie when I was 13, and the power of that scene, because I remember very clearly thinking--knowing-- that the teenage girl who leaps to her feet with such conviction to join in the singing could very easily have been me, given a different life and being born in a different time, and that the single-minded certainty of being young could be a very dangerous thing. This boy is a pure product of his environment, and a pure product of what should really be an acting career, not a political one. He's acting a role; whether he continues to do so depends on whether or not he escapes his echo chamber of an upbringing. Sending him to college, where he can learn some real history, would be a good start.
posted by jokeefe at 2:05 PM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


[at fourteen] you have no stake in the politics of sexuality like condoms &abortion

But you do go through a lot of Kleenex™.
posted by maxwelton at 2:16 PM on March 8, 2009


Auughh! This kid needs to stop circumlucting so much about the fact that conservatives HAVE principles, that that HAVE values, and that the great thing about conservatism is that it's BASED on these principles and values. What are they?? AK-47's for babies and faith based missile defense? I honestly have no idea.

It'd be great to get an actual, literal, articulation of what conservatives mean when they talk about their "principles," their respect for "personal responsibility," about their core "conservative values." Instead it's just a bunch of nonsense, and all this kid, like every other "principled conservative," brings to the table are those empty signifiers and platitudes.
posted by Hello, Revelers! I am Captain Lavender! at 2:17 PM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Actually, what that boy really needs is a sense of humour. Thank jeebus for British comedy: Spitting Image's take on Tomorrow Belongs to Me from the 1987 election special. Unfortunately ends up about a second out of sync by the end, but never mind.
posted by jokeefe at 2:20 PM on March 8, 2009


For fuck's sake, Carter wasn't responsible for the "malaise". He inherited it from Ford & Nixon. Carter was the first president I voted for and I don't regret it.
posted by mike3k at 2:29 PM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


But that isn't the point. There's a fourteen year old boy here, and you're cracking jokes about how he'll never get laid, how he's stupid and how he's like Hitler.

I haven't seen anyone saying he won't get laid. I don't think that's true. And I want to say this without being too offensive, but have you seen those college republican girls? They seem to spend a lot of time on their looks, they wear makeup and seem to be pretty fit. A lot of them embody "traditional" feminine good looks. And let's not forget, republicans are all hypocrites when it comes to personal morality.

So I don't think this kid will have any trouble getting laid.
posted by delmoi at 2:32 PM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


he will be even more deeply invested in his worldview, because it will have brought him positive attention and success.

This is actually true, particularly in conservative circles. He's well-placed to have his college summers peppered with choice internships (paid) at the Heritage Foundation and the AEI, maybe culminating with a fellowship to write for the Weekly Standard or perhaps a job as a campaign's press flak. If he's particularly good at recycling a single page worth of daily talking points into 3 hours of unscripted talking, he'll get a radio show.

There was a "Christian conservative" 13 year old author I remember from about 5-6 years ago who, a few years later, simply didn't want to discuss that "previous" era in his life, but, generally, as the examples of Rove and Norquist show, a slavish devotion to right-wing talking points and a desire for on-camera attention will get you a lot of jobs. Many people who are erudite and intelligent are going to muss up a script with their own thoughts on an issue. It takes a special talent to seek public attention, come across as intelligent, and midnlessly stick to a hackneyed set of talking points and deliver them convincingly.
posted by deanc at 2:47 PM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Nothing pisses me off more than parents enabling their kids into this kind of spotlight; whether that would be liberal, conservative, or whatever.
posted by imjustsaying at 2:54 PM on March 8, 2009


It's what he believes in that is so terrible. He believes in the same things that have killed hundreds of thousands of people in the last eight years alone and have brought the world and this nation to their knees.
no, it's not even that.

here's an example. i'm right pissed about the tarsands, but i'm aware that by participating in any aspect of the economy, i'm participating in the tarsands economy. i may sound like a reactionary earth-firster when i talk about that issue, but i do have a nuanced awareness of the interrelationships between all issues and the non-existence of the perfect theoretical utopia that political idealists propose. in short, i know that things is complicated.

children don't have that, by and large. if i think back to my adolescent radical days when i butted heads with my dad over things i was outraged about, i get a little embarassed. a bit of living and education sorted out any misconceptions i might have had that life and politics are black-and-white. he's no less a radical than i but over time one develops a sense of practical reality.
posted by klanawa at 3:13 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


This kind of reminds me of this recent Slate article about kiddie foodies. Because even as a big flaming liberal, I'm not so concerned about what this kid says, I'm concerned about parents who feel ok about trotting their children out as precocious little experts in a very adult world without the benefit of experience. The Slate piece touches on the real, physical dangers in the kitchen that a child isn't equipped to handle alone, and certainly there are psychological parallels in the world of politics. It is a big, bad world out there with all kinds of predators and opportunists that not even highly intelligent adults are necessarily prepared to deal with.

I think it's great that this kid is interested in politics. I think it's awesome that he loves to read, write, and speak in public. I think his parents should encourage him to do these things. But what would be lost if he just joined a forensics team or wrote for a school or even small, community paper? He could try out ideas to see what suits him and feel free to continually question and expand upon those ideas. He could do it without attracting the attention those who care more about his career and less about his development and well-being. But then there would be no fame or glamour. His parents wouldn't be recognized in the New York Times. They would have to be satisfied with raising an exceptionally intelligent child with a bright future.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 3:32 PM on March 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


I actually grew up near where this boy lived. I was homeschooled too, went to a similar church, and took Latin/classics/snobbish stuff-for-homeschoolers. My only friends were basically religious fanatics. My mom listened to Rush Limbaugh in the car and I thought it was the best show ever. I was taught creationism and I thought abortionists were going to hell. I hoped to become a conservative politician.

I never made it as far as this boy did, though I did play the part of jerk-wad mini Ann Coulter in high school, but I can say that the people who claim he is brainwashed are probably wrong. It sounds like they are letting him indulge some interests that are pretty unconventional among their people...like Arabic. I can also venture a guess that this good education he is getting will be his undoing. It was because of all the classics I read (mostly in Latin) that I started questioning things. I didn't need to live next door to hippies to be exposed to other ideas in books.

Which led me to become the Darwin-loving hippie agnostic that I am now. The kid's smart...give him a chance to break free before bashing him.
posted by melissam at 3:56 PM on March 8, 2009 [10 favorites]


There's a fourteen year old boy here, and you're cracking jokes about how he'll never get laid, how he's stupid and how he's like Hitler.

It's not just a joke. Have you seen the leash his Mom keeps on him, not letting a fourteen year old kid have unsupervised access to a cell phone? My Mom was only one-tenth this bad, and it set me back at least 5 or 10 years with the opposite sex. You don't have to be a Freudian to know that nobody's a more effective cock-blocker than dear old Mom. I may not like his politics, but frankly, his adolescent precociousness brings up a lot more awkward memories of my early teens than I'd like to admit.
posted by jonp72 at 4:04 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even Hitler was a young boy, once.

Once?
posted by gman at 4:08 PM on March 8, 2009


He's never going to get laid until at least his mid-thirties.

By which time he'll be well established in a career and have plenty of money to support any children he makes rather than aborting them. And you feel sorry for him?
posted by Hovercraft Eel at 4:16 PM on March 8, 2009


To me this is a sad sign of the strange priorities in what we reward in childhood--the ability to mimic the form and not the substance of grown-up maturity. It's a trick of approval-seeking kids that shows up time and time again...you can be seen as bringing down fire from the gods into 5th grade by trying to talk like National Review. It's a sad kind of freak show that sets up moppets like this for failure when they discover as adults that the same gimmicks aren't gonna work anymore.

I'm not convinced that this kid truly has these deep convictions about health care. It comes off as stage-managed.
posted by Kirklander at 4:16 PM on March 8, 2009


"Barack Obama is the most left-wing president of my lifetime."

See, this doesn't work for me -- I'm old enough to remember Nixon.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:19 PM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


it set me back at least 5 or 10 years with the opposite sex. You don't have to be a Freudian to know that nobody's a more effective cock-blocker than dear old Mom.

And as every responsible thinking liberal knows, life is all about the cock.
posted by Hovercraft Eel at 4:19 PM on March 8, 2009


You know what bittorrented movie me and the wife watched this afternoon? Here's a clue. Of course, after reading this thread, I'm not sure where to aim the Holy Water.
posted by jonmc at 4:35 PM on March 8, 2009


Also, this kid's 14 and life is unpredictable. As the bard says:

What can I say about Claudette?
Ain't seen her since January,
She could be respectably married or running a whorehouse in Buenos Aires


I'd say that the odds are about the same here.
posted by jonmc at 4:48 PM on March 8, 2009


This reminds me of a doc I saw online that I believe the BBC did.
It centered on Liberty U kids and their rise up thru debate classes all the way to a trip to The Big City (DC) to work the lobbying channels on behalf of conservative interests.

One of the main kids they focused on was this blonde sheltered Aryan type that couldnt believe he was in a train under the ground (subway).

Anyhoo, the reason these evangelical Stepford tykes were in DC was to push some buttons towards repealing the Estate Tax, which they rationalized through Biblical principles about the nature of property. This all occurred unchallenged and without any sense of irony at all.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:55 PM on March 8, 2009


So I don't think this kid will have any trouble getting laid.

Of course he won't. Mark Foley has been asking for his phone number all week.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:01 PM on March 8, 2009 [14 favorites]


This kid is to politics what Britney Spears is to music.

Go ahead and snark because you don't like his philosophy (her music).

Show your fauxrage at how he (she) is being used by the conservatives (the music industry)

But how would this place react if the Democratic party wheeled out a 14 year old idealogue at their convention?

Hopefully he we come out of this experience a little less scared that poor Britney.
posted by MCTDavid at 5:10 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


err... scarred.
posted by MCTDavid at 5:11 PM on March 8, 2009


MCTDavid, I would react just about the same: disbelief that it seems to be taken seriously by some people, disappointment in the media, and annoyance.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:15 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Holy shit, that kid's voice and mannerisms are grating.
posted by gman at 5:20 PM on March 8, 2009


Watching his speech, it seemed really apparent that he listens to a lot of talk radio.

I was struck by roughly the same thing - the lad's real genius, at this point in his precocious life, is he's an extraordinarily talented mimic. Back at the dawn of the Golden Age of Reagan, there were a couple of proto-reality-TV shows - especially Real People and That's Incredible! - that, as I hazily recall through the memory of a nine-year-old, used to pad out their hours with stuff like this. Kids who could recite poems from memory or do long division in their heads, kids who'd learned to dance just like Michael Jackson at age six or tightrope-walk at age four.

Which is the real story here: the GOP, ca. 2009, has the intellectual rigour and political savvy of Real People.
posted by gompa at 5:21 PM on March 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Kids who could recite poems from memory or do long division in their heads, kids who'd learned to dance just like Michael Jackson at age six or tightrope-walk at age four.

I remember. I kind of assume they're all in jail now.
posted by jonmc at 5:27 PM on March 8, 2009


I feel bad for him and I hope the things he does before his brain finishes developing don't brand him for life.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:32 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let's kidnap him, take him to a bar, get him liquored up, play some Kiss and Sabbath and hook him up with a bar flooze. That's straighten him out.

To the Batcave!
posted by jonmc at 5:35 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow. I am obviously a failure at homeschooling my 14 year old. Instead of prepping him to become the next liberal superstar, I've been teaching him math and buying him Legos. Silly me.
posted by Biblio at 5:41 PM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


have you taught him to mix drinks? roll joints? pick up chicks? No?

then, yes, you are indeed a failure.
posted by jonmc at 5:45 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


kids who want to get into politics before the age of 17 are fucking dangerous and should be imprisoned.

22 favorites and counting, all in favor of the imprisonment of any child who commits the crime of trying to become personally involved in his and his country's future?

What the hell is wrong with you people?
posted by roystgnr at 6:07 PM on March 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


And as every responsible thinking liberal knows, life is all about the cock.

Word to the wise: 'Tis better to use your dick than be one.
posted by jonp72 at 6:11 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


But how would this place react if the Democratic party wheeled out a 14 year old idealogue at their convention?

Actually, when 12-year-old Ilana Wexler appeared at the 2005 Democratic National Convention as the founder of Kids for Kerry, I remember the girl getting quite a bit of ridicule herself, even though her speech (about how Dick Cheney should be "put in a timeout" for using the F-word) was way more tongue-in-cheek than Mr. Krohn's speech at CPAC. Frankly, I don't envy either of those two kids.
posted by jonp72 at 6:21 PM on March 8, 2009


"as the child of a politician - who has no interest in getting into that noble yet soul-destroying game - i have had quite a bit of exposure to prepubescent political fanboys and i have this warning:

kids who want to get into politics before the age of 17 are fucking dangerous and should be imprisoned.

seriously, if your interest in politics develops before your conscience, your intellect or your interest in the opposite sex, you are damaged goods.
posted by klanawa at 6:57 PM on March 8 [20 favorites +] "
I can only speek for myself: As someone who was a teen in early 90's germany, the time of Rostock-Lichtenhagen, Solingen and Mölln, back then I thought kids who were disinterested and apathetic about politics were fucking dangerous, that they were kind that would just stand by or participate in the spur of the moment. It is not when you take an interest in politics, it's important which political views and stances you take.

But I also didn't develop an "interest" in the opposite sex until now, so it seems I'm damaged goods too.

(Yes, I'm aware that you probably didn't mean it in the homophobic way it appears to me here. I just think this subtle, subconcious heterosexism is consistent throughout the thread, a bit ignorant and just rubs me the wrong way.)
posted by kolophon at 6:23 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the hell is wrong with you people?

I've seen a number of different interpretations of favoriting argued over the years, and I can tell you that "I take this comment to be a straight-faced statement of policy, agree with that proposed policy, and support its immediate implementation and unwavering enforcement" is not one of the common ones.
posted by cortex at 6:24 PM on March 8, 2009 [16 favorites]


Speaking of Republican geeks named Krohn...
posted by Rhaomi at 6:56 PM on March 8, 2009


He's for principles, and respect. Who doesn't respect the Constitution and life? Who isn't for personal responsibility?

Oooh, oooh, I know the answers to these two - although it's a trick, I'm pretty sure the two answers are the same... give me a second... something about "just a piece of paper", am I right?


Let's kidnap him, take him to a bar, get him liquored up, play some Kiss and Sabbath and hook him up with a bar flooze. That's straighten him out.

To the Batcave!


Where were you when I was 14? I had to figure out all of those myself. Although I preferred Kiss to Sabbath.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:57 PM on March 8, 2009


A: kids who want to get into politics before the age of 17 are fucking dangerous and should be imprisoned.

B: 22 favorites and counting, all in favor of the imprisonment of any child who commits the crime of trying to become personally involved in his and his country's future?

What the hell is wrong with you people?


C: I think I can answer this one, and even though I'm not one of the infamous misanthropic Mefi 22, I'd like to proceed as if I were.

*dry cough*

We recognize that language is malleable, multipurpose and multivalent. It is sometimes employed to describe something other than the literal truth. The subjunctive mood is sometimes used even in statements not intended as actual commands, instead employed, for example, to intentionally exaggerate the urgency of a statement in order to convey emotional intensity. We call this hyperbole.

Hyperbole is frequently employed as a tool in a "special" and relatively freeform category of language wherein the primary purpose of the communication is not to exchange facts or information but to elicit a range of responses including but not limited to the contraction of the facial muscles forcing the ends of the mouth upward and in some cases the teeth to be bared (known as a smile) or a sudden exhalation of air known variously as a chortle, chuckle, guffaw or laugh, among others. We call this form of communication humour.

This is Discourse #2479771 in the ongoing Mefi series Pedantic Exercises in Communication for the Excessively Literal-Minded. Thank you for your participation and we now return you to your regularly scheduled misanthropic pile-on.
posted by gompa at 7:36 PM on March 8, 2009 [18 favorites]


Someone above mentioned how highly encoded the kid's words are. He's right, it's almost exactly as compressed and dog-whistley as whatever Karl Rove or Pat Robertson says on the pundit circle. I get the strong feeling that, when people call him things like "hyper-articulate," that's what they really mean. And no one can keep that up unintentionally for long, it'd be too much of a coincidence. It's too easy to say something direct and forthright unless you're intentionally trying to avoid it, and even then people make mistakes sometime, and make them more often when they're 14 and don't have a lot of experience at it.

It's so encoded that it's enough to make me think the kid may actually be a minor Machiavellian genius, or just a puppet to handlers, a fleshy head wrapped around a loudspeaker.
posted by JHarris at 7:56 PM on March 8, 2009


So wait, Swift wasn't really proposing they eat Irish babies?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:33 PM on March 8, 2009 [7 favorites]


Since I've never done one before:

Metafilter: your regularly scheduled misanthropic pile-on
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 8:45 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


play some Kiss and Sabbath

Figuring "Kiss and Sabbath" was some kind of game I didn't encounter in Jr. High, I actually went to google.

Maiden and Priest are a paltry education.
posted by mistersquid at 9:18 PM on March 8, 2009


orthogonality at 1:58 PM on March 8 says: "This kid ... has no exposure to differing views except as two-dimensional caricatures."

Much less exposure to differing views than I had at his age, I imagine. But still, it wasn't all paisley flower petals & Peter Max. There were plenty of boogeymen presented to kids in my time period. Maynard G. Krebs, the TV beatnik, for instance. A funny, lovable guy, to be sure, but presented as a figure to laugh at. Not something one wants to be, in a conformist society.

Or, as the antes upped, the kid "on LSD," face painted neatly blue & yellow, eating the bark off the tree on Dragnet, going blind staring at the sun. Charles Manson, Black Panthers, What Might Happen to war protesters, as demonstrated at Kent State & Jackson State Colleges. Naked threats from whatever bullet-headed thug was speaking for the government that day.

And first-hand on the local level, involuntary impromptu haircuts, heavy things thrown from passing cars, the spittle of nice little old ladies. You had to want to be a freak.

And yet, a lot of kids — from households way more repressed than mine — did. Maybe we were a generation somehow inherently more attracted to testing society's cautionary presentations of the dark & perverse, but I doubt it. I think curiosity & imagination are progressive, positive, subversive forces that are always with us, & that they just about always, eventually, trump repression.

I'm sure there's an Aesop's fable or some folk saying that applies.
posted by Forrest Greene at 9:42 PM on March 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


I often think it's comical—Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive—Fal, lal, la!
    That every boy and every gal
        That’s born into the world alive
    Is either a little Liberal
    Or else a little Conservative!
            Fal, lal, la!
posted by ocherdraco at 9:51 PM on March 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jonathan Krohn < millions of kids experiencing real hope watching Obama get elected
posted by bhance at 10:02 PM on March 8, 2009


This is Discourse #2479771 in the ongoing Mefi series Pedantic Exercises in Communication for the Excessively Literal-Minded.

Actually, that was #2479861.

This is #2479920.
posted by cortex at 10:08 PM on March 8, 2009


Listen to yourselves. I don't think I've ever seen a more vitriolic and unsettling reaction to a young man on metafilter.

Clearly you weren't here for FeistyFerret. If there's one thing MeFi really can't stand, it's overambitious teenagers.
posted by BinGregory at 10:34 PM on March 8, 2009


If there's one thing MeFi really can't stand, it's overambitious teenagers.

If by "MeFi" you mean "ori and Goose on the Loose", sure. Most of what came from the Feisty Ferret episode as I recall it was people not being able to stand ori's obsessive (complete with "look, I bought my little sister an account, she's a young person and she thinks I'm totes correct!" gambit) insistence that FeistyFerret couldn't possibly be a kid.

It's definitely the go-to example of Notable Mefi/Kid Interactions, but as an example of mefi collectively going after a kid it's hardly a compelling example.
posted by cortex at 10:48 PM on March 8, 2009


If by "MeFi" you mean "ori and Goose on the Loose", sure.

Yeah, that's precisely what I meant. Any one thread is only equal to the people who contribute in it, right?
posted by BinGregory at 11:20 PM on March 8, 2009


I heard this kid interviewed by Thom Hartmann, on Thom's show, broadcast from that convention. The kid was incredibly disrespectful, even as Thom was incredibly patient (Thom's worked with kids a lot). If nothing else, I was amazed that an allegedly 'conservative' family had failed to teach their kid the essential of "respect your elders". And Thom deserves a great deal of respect.
posted by Goofyy at 12:21 AM on March 9, 2009


So wait, Swift wasn't really proposing they eat Irish babies?

Sure he was! Dip 'em in Leffe, they taste great!
posted by armage at 12:27 AM on March 9, 2009


You can dress it up as much as you want, but the "I'm only joking." defense is (and has always been) pretty weak. (I'm not talking about satire or Swift here. There's always room for Irish babies.) Explaining quite strong, hurtful and off-topic ad-hominem comments about a 14 year old boy with "We were just having a laugh." is low behaviour.

In retrospect, I've seen many more vitriolic and unsettling things. So yeah - that was a bit strong.
posted by seanyboy at 1:38 AM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This kid is to politics what Britney Spears is to music.

Get back to me when this kid does something as glorious as "Toxic."
(Ob "Leave Britney alone!")
posted by octobersurprise at 6:40 AM on March 9, 2009


Homeschooled southern baptist child actor? Kid is doomed. Doomed, I tell you.
posted by electroboy at 6:59 AM on March 9, 2009


Yeah, that's precisely what I meant. Any one thread is only equal to the people who contribute in it, right?

The point is that the example you produced of something "MeFi can't stand" was actually an example of most of the mefites involved defending the person you were implying they were attacking. Someone making an axe-grinding stand to a chorus of disagreement doesn't exactly represent the collective spirit of the site or whatever it is you were going for with that zingy reference.
posted by cortex at 7:00 AM on March 9, 2009


Explaining quite strong, hurtful and off-topic ad-hominem comments about a 14 year old boy with "We were just having a laugh." is low behaviour.

Let's break that down.

Strong: The strongest thing is that he's compared to Hitler, which is pretty weak sauce on the internet. The rest of the things you note either aren't directed at him (call CPS) or are reasonably neutral statements of unflattering things (he's just a mimic).

Hurtful: In the absence of any evidence that he's reading this thread, nothing here can be considered hurtful. A comment can only really be hurtful if some specific disutility can be specifically attributed to particular individual comment. Even if he were here, the act of seeking out a public platform from which to state your opinions implies consent for people to evaluate you and your opinions, insofar as a 14 year old can consent to anything.

Off-topic. The child is the topic. How can discussing the child be off-topic? That doesn't make any sense. It's nice that you've learned that "off-topic" is a bad thing around here, but you should read more to discover what it means. As a hint, in this thread a discussion of whether Rush Limbaugh is actually the defacto head of the Republican Party might be off-topic. A long, angry discussion about bowties versus normal ties might be off-topic.

Ad-hominem: That also doesn't make any sense. Nobody is asserting that the child's opinions are bad or that his statements are incorrect because he is a bad person. If anything, people are morally evaluating the statements the child has made, arriving at a conclusion that he is something other than an example to be followed because of the content of his opinions.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:28 AM on March 9, 2009


just a few of the people who will be out their telling you what you’re healthcare benefits will be.

Maybe a little less time on the Arabic and Latin and a little more time on English?


Why just that morning, his mother, Marla Krohn, marveled, a staff member for a potential candidate for Georgia governor asked for a meeting with Jonathan. In her gentle drawl, Mrs. Krohn said cautiously, “I’m not sure I’m a supporter of his.”

“Neither am I,” Jonathan piped in.

“But I’m a voter,” Mrs. Krohn reminded him firmly.

Jonathan retorted, “Now that I’m a political pundit, I have the ability to influence people. I have to think about it!”


Ok, now I want to smack him. I'm not sure which is worse: the idea that he thinks he has the ability to influence the political views of grown-ups or the fact that he actually does.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:50 AM on March 9, 2009


To me this is a sad sign of the strange priorities in what we reward in childhood--the ability to mimic the form and not the substance of grown-up maturity. It's a trick of approval-seeking kids that shows up time and time again...you can be seen as bringing down fire from the gods into 5th grade by trying to talk like National Review. It's a sad kind of freak show that sets up moppets like this for failure when they discover as adults that the same gimmicks aren't gonna work anymore.

Exactly. The only reason people are all agog over this kid is because he is a kid, and thus it is "cute". Take an adult and put him on a stage saying the same things Krohn is saying -- and suddenly it sounds very routine and run-of-the-mill and nothing special, no? But the fact that it's a child saying it suddenly makes it seem exciting and adorable and precious.

Not that young teens are not capable of rational thought, and not that prodigies don't exist. But if the work of a child would sound routine coming out of an adult, then you're not reacting to a prodigy, you're reacting to the fact that it's a kid and it's adorable and that doesn't do the kid any favors.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:54 AM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama, Dodd, Kennedy, Pelosi, Reid, and Biden, just a few of the people who will be out their telling you what you’re healthcare benefits will be.

Okay, I am quite certain I could spell a hell of a lot better than that by 14. I know that if I wrote a sentence like that at 10 or 11 it would come back with a couple big red circles.

Where's my media circus? I WANT MY MEDIA CIRCUS.

(With elephants.)
posted by rokusan at 8:10 AM on March 9, 2009


I want to see a cage match with this kid and Little Hercules.
posted by orme at 9:13 AM on March 9, 2009


Two words: William Hague
posted by quarsan at 11:09 AM on March 9, 2009


It would be a beautiful poetic irony if the valedictory gasp and whimper of the Neocon Republican era that began with Goldwater, almost died with Nixon, achieved its "Golden Age" with Reagan, --and finally revealed as an intellectually bankrupt, incompetent, free-for-all by the disaster known as President George W. Bush-- came from a whining, petulant, insecure, sheltered, desperate-for-adult-attention and approval 14 year old repeating boilerplate nonsense about "mythical" conservative values and principles.
posted by Skygazer at 11:32 AM on March 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Have you seen the leash his Mom keeps on him, not letting a fourteen year old kid have unsupervised access to a cell phone?

You know who else didn't have unsupervised access to a cellphone at fourteen?

Me.
posted by dersins at 11:32 AM on March 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is what the GOP's counting on these days? The have such a weird cast of looney tunes characters now: Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and now this kid. It's sad and weird. The party of outcasts and misfits.
posted by anniecat at 1:23 PM on March 9, 2009


It's not unusual for a bright, well-meaning teenager to be a Conservative. Conservativism is about following the rules and succeeding through hard work. In the environment teenagers live in, whether at school or at home, this theory usually pans out.

In the grownup world, on the other hand, the rules are tilted to keep the powerful in power at the expense of the weak. Following the rules and working hard, while still a formula for success if you're somewhat upper-class and white, can be a sucker's game if you're not.
posted by Nahum Tate at 1:03 PM on March 8


An excellent point, to which I might add-

It's easy to be "a Conservative" when you're a teenager. You can prance around and oppose all sorts of things like welfare, social services and other social safety nets but that's because you're oblivious to the fact that you have a legally enforced safety net through your parents. The only way you can fail at being a teenager is if you commit a felony, but no matter what you do, someone's always legally obligated to look after you. Lose your job at GameStop? BFD; your rent and expenses are covered until you find something else.

Fast forward to 18. Since you believe in personal responsibility and not mooching off others, you leave home the minute you're 18 (right?) and immediately begin forging a path through the uncharted terrain of adulthood. All of a sudden you have to start worrying about security deposits, rent, health insurance, taxes, car payments, car repairs, being sick, and choosing between paying the electric bill or eating. You realize that up til now, you've never really made any decisions of any consequence but suddenly every decision you make could put you on the street if you don't tread carefully. Just like the homeless people you used to detest, nobody has any obligation to come to your rescue when your health fails or you lose your job. Once you realize how indiscriminately harsh life really is you get over the notion that you're better than everybody else just because you didn't have a baby at 15.

So yeah, I've been an ex-Conservative for a few years now.
posted by Ziggy Zaga at 2:10 PM on March 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I want to see a cage match with this kid and Little Hercules.

Much like Little Hercules, when this guy gets to a more adult age he'll vanish into the obscurity of the ocean of others just like him.

To me he sounded a bit like David Sedaris doing a character...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:57 PM on March 9, 2009


Jonathan Krohn is a 13 year-old home schooled young man who has been performing on stage since he was eight.

This is the modern version of the heyday of the boy evangelists ...

Readery got it first, I think. He's playing a role. Is he a good performer? Sure, but he's really just mimicking a talk-radio host. Does he have anything to say that hasn't been said by other bloviating talking heads? It doesn't seem like it--"empty signifiers and platitudes" indeed.

Ya'lll are missing the big picture. The kid has that magic something that makes people listen to him or at least notice him.

I think the fact that he looks younger than 10 has a lot to do with his popularity. I met an 8-year-old this weekend who looked about the same age.

Where is Emmanuel Lewis now? Macaulay Culkin? (god, I can never spell that name). The future does not bode well. I hope he straightens things out.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:38 PM on March 9, 2009


It's easy to be "a Conservative" when you're a teenager.

I agree with this, and I wonder why Churchill's quote is so popular: "If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain."
posted by jacalata at 10:28 AM on March 11, 2009


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