What were they thinking? What was the crack Obama re-election campaign thinking when they launched their slideshow about “The Life of Julia”?
How is it possible that highly skilled political operatives could have descended into such ham-handed manipulation?
Have their minds been infiltrated and colonized by Republican gremlins? Or were they just trying to provide fodder for the conservative commentariat?
If the latter, they have succeeded beyond their dreams.
James Taranto describes the unfolding story of Julia:
Julia, who has no face, is depicted at various ages from 3 through 67, enjoying the benefits of various Obama-backed welfare-state programs.
As a toddler, she's in a head-start program. Skip ahead to 17, and she's enrolled at a Race to the Top high school. Her 20s are very active: She gets surgery and free birth control through ObamaCare regulations, files a lawsuit under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and pays off her student loans at a low interest rate. We get updates at age 31, 37 and 42--and then the narrative skips ahead 23 years when she enrolls in Medicare. Two years later, she's on Social Security, at which point she can die at any time.
In its last frame Julia is retiring comfortably on her Social Security payments. Apparently, they are so generous that she does not need to worry about running out of money.
David Harsanyi comments succinctly:
Finally, Julia retires. “After years of contributing to Social Security, she receives monthly benefits that help her retire comfortably, without worrying that she'll run out of savings...
This allows her to volunteer at a community garden.”
If you think Social Security benefits allow you to live your retirement without worry, you deserve Barack Obama.
Just in case you missed it, this slide contains a sophisticated literary reference. Do you remember the famous literary character whose final word of wisdom is: “We must cultivate our garden.”
Of course, I am thinking of Voltaire’s mindless optimist, Candide. It makes sense to evoke the memory of Candide. Who but the embodiment of naivete would believe what the Obama campaign is saying?
If Julia is as naïvely optimistic as the Obama campaign would like her to be, her optimism is very likely to be drug-induced.
The slideshow does not say it, but given her social isolation, Julia is undoubtedly suffering from depression. And she is surely being treated with anti-depressants. She is a modern drugged-out Candide.
John Podhoretz explains the ad’s message:
The slide show basically says that women need government programs from cradle to grave if they want to have a productive life — to get an education, stay healthy, have children, see those children educated and find meaningful work themselves “throughout their lives.”
David Harsanyi adds his own interpretation:
David Harsanyi adds his own interpretation:
What we are left with is a celebration of a how a woman can live her entire life by leaning on government intervention, dependency and other people's money rather than her own initiative or hard work. It is, I'd say, implicitly un-American, in the sense that it celebrates a mindset we have -- outwardly, at least -- shunned.
It is also a mindset that women should find offensively patronizing.
Rich Lowry emphasizes that the ad conveniently ignores the question of who is going to pay for it all.
In his words:
Julia’s central relationship is to the state. It is her educator, banker, health-care provider, venture capitalist, and retirement fund. And she is, fundamentally, a taker. Every benefit she gets is cut-rate or free. She apparently doesn’t worry about paying taxes. It doesn’t enter her mind that the programs supporting her might add to the debt or might have unintended consequences. She has no moral qualms about forcing others to pay for her contraception, and her sense of patriotic duty is limited to getting as much government help as she can.
Lowry is right to identify Julia as a taker, not a giver. If the government has cured her of wanting to give, it is not surprising that she has no friends, no colleagues, and no face.
Becoming a ward of Nanny State, she has been stripped of her dignity. Suffering from chronic entitleitis, she has become the kind of person that no one will want as a friend.
She may need free birth control but the slide show never mentions a lover, a relationship, or, God forbid, a husband. One can only conclude that she enjoys the occasional meaningless, anonymous sexual encounter.
When we ask how exactly the unmarried, friendless Julia got pregnant, we can guess that she bought some sperm from an anonymous donor at a government-run sperm bank.
Of perhaps, as Podhoretz suggested, she was a modern example of parthenogenesis.
Think about it. St. Augustine said that the Virgin Mary conceived through her ear. In the modern cult called feminism women have been induced to believe that they can get pregnant by deciding to do so.
The dogma of choice suggests that women should control their reproductive biology and decide when they want to conceive. Yet, how many women have heard this message and concluded that they need but decide to conceive, and then, presto, they will become pregnant.
Perhaps this is one reason why so many women have been ignoring the basic laws of biology.
In the world according to Obama women become wards of the state. They have no need for fathers to support them or husbands to provide for them or men to make babies with them.
Julia lives in a socialist utopia. Unfortunately, she has been stripped of her initiative, her dignity, her social being, and her identity. She has been reduced to a cog in the Obama re-election machine.
Taranto sagely noted that Julia has no face. She is always presented in profile, so even if she had a face, she wouldn’t look you the eye. Of course, she does not have a last name. She has been disembarrassed of her patronym.
As you know, Chinese thinkers grant the greatest importance to “face.” Saving face is a vital psychological need. It’s so important that I wrote a book about it.
When the Chinese talk about face they are talking about the public presentation of self. Face is the way you present yourself in public. People know who you are because they identify your face.
Imagine what it would be if you went through your day without having anyone recognize you, without having anyone know your name, without anyone acknowledging your existence. How long before you would think that you had gotten lost in the twilight zone?
Having face means that you belong to the community. Losing face means that you have either lost status within the community or have been expelled from it.
That is Julia’s status, or her lack of status. She has been transformed into what the Obama campaign wants her to become, a parasite that depends entirely on government support and whose most significant relationships are with the government agencies who are trying to buy her vote.
By the way, what do you call a woman who has been stripped of her name and her dignity, and who allows herself to be sold to the highest bidder?