A magazine called The Conservative Teen, an effort by the out-of-touch right to reach out and touch the nation's young people, has been a hot topic today on blogs and social media. In case you haven't heard of it, here's some of the buzz:
Vice.com called it the "Worst Magazine Ever."
Michael Musto of The Village Voice described it as "A new magazine for teens who don't want to have sex, preferring to spend their time looking down on government help for the poor while reminiscing about Reagan."
Buzzfeed chose to present its articles without comment. And really, they do speak for themselves:
"Glee: Songs, Sex & Sleaze"
"Ronald Reagan: Our First Black President?"
"How to Draw Obama"
"Why Abstinence Works & How It Can Work for You!"
If you're thinking this is a "spot the fake headline" gag, we're sorry to break it to you that they are all real. Even the one about Reagan.
One piece from The Conservative Teen will be of particular interest to Native American readers. Located on page 22, it's "Government Creates Poverty" by John Stossel, an essay about the Bureau of Indian Affairs that begins with these—to some readers, familiar—lines:
The U.S. government has "helped" no group more than it has "helped" the American Indians. It stuns me when President Obama appears before Indian groups and says things like, "Few have been ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans."
Ignored? Are you kidding me?
Stossel's essay (read it here) is a version of a segment on a show called Freeloaders that aired on Fox News. Its underlying message—that government help is worse than no help at all—is straight out of Ronald Reagan (you know, the first black President) and hardly controversial. But it's rife with irresponsible language and false equivalencies that ignited a firestorm of outrage in Indian country a year ago (for examples of outrage, search this site for "Stossel").
John Stossel writes a column about conservative issues every week; The Conservative Teen could have gone with something more current than year-old pot-shots at Indians. But when you have to pick just one of them and you're reaching out to teens who presumably have a hard time reading anything longer than 140 characters, you go with something catchy. Stossel's "Indians are Freeloaders" ditty is a greatest hit; like the Knack's "My Sharona" or perhaps Rebecca Black's "Friday."
Even so, it's not as right-wing-fun as "How to Draw Obama," the title of which seems to be a concise version of a more specific original, something like "The Many Ways in Which Liberals Will Not Allow You to Draw Obama," which observes:
Cartoonist Gary McCoy has been lambasted by readers, and by Salon.com, for drawing racially insensitive big lips on Obama. Some cartoonists have drawn attention for giving Obama blue lips.
We eagerly await issue #2 ... we'd tell you when (or if) it's supposed to come out, but official site theconservativeteen.com is not working at this time.