For instance, an iconic twenty-year-old portrait shows socialite Paris Hilton banging on drums in an EAT THE RICH bikini. The theme is similar to AOC’s all-too-earnest dress, but the attitude is totally different.
The party proceeded without a hitch. The help, dressed discretely in black masks and LBD’s, lined up by the wall, jumping in to adjust a stray train, or a cape, just in time for the camera flash. The guests poured in, pausing to snap a record of their presence at the fanciest, most prestigious party in the West — the Met Gala.
The only controversy took place outside the Gala when US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez modeled the white mermaid silhouette dress. When other celebs tried to outdo each other with whimsical getups, AOC, with a white row of buttons, and faux external pockets at her hips, was all business. Then she turned around, showing the words TAX THE RICH inscribed in red across her lower back and buttocks.
I feel sorry for her, I admit. If Met attendees were having fun in outlandish costumes, Ms. Equity Mermaid was there to promote her socialist brand. AOC chirped to the press that her goal was to explore “what it means to be a working class woman of color at the Met.” Does she ever get tired of this shtick?
Since she was launched into prominence in 2018 talking income inequality and lipstick, the Congresswoman accumulated millions of social media followers. She regularly uploads videos of herself pontificating on current topics, never particularly insightful, and often frankly dumb. It’s not her place to be intelligent. She’s the comically wide-eyed ingenue, speaking from the heart.
The House member’s TAX THE RICH dress, worn to a $30,000 pop party, did not ensure a riot — or even a stink eye. So, to answer her question, whatever she was trying to do “as a working class woman of color at the Met” was right on the money. She’s not precisely your bull in a China shop type.
The dress was also, as per the AOC brand, boring and unoriginal. Later on Twitter, the Democratic Socialist defended her gown: “the medium is the message.” If the thirty-one-year-old believes that the medium of fashion is writing words on cloth, she doesn’t understand the medium and can’t turn it into a message. AOC is the queen of the red rose internet, and her medium is a meme. It bears pointing out that as soon as she was interviewed at the Gala, the Congresswoman was immediately memed by her detractors into a similarly colored bag of Chick-fil-A.
Not that one can’t have fun with words inscribed on clothes. For instance, an iconic twenty-year-old portrait shows socialite Paris Hilton banging on drums in EAT THE RICH bikini. The theme is similar to AOC’s all-too-earnest dress, but the attitude is totally different. Not unlike Hilton, the AOC is a natural self-promoter, but unlike Hilton, she’s humorless.
Hilton, born an heiress to a hotelier family, multiplied her wealth. It’s still unclear how AOC is monetizing her celebrity aside from being comped for events like the Met Gala. Her $174,000 Congressional salary is no small chunk, but with following like hers, she should be doing better. Perhaps she’s more interested in attention than money. What is clear is that she learned from the likes of Hilton that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
AOC’s dress sucked the air out of the Met Gala reporting. We live at the time when the letter is triumphant over the pictorial images. We take faces and mask them, and put political slogans on the masks. Twenty years ago, it would have been understood as geekery, but in 2021 AOC owed Twitter for the night. Most attention was decidedly negative, with right-of-center accounts pounding on AOC’s hypocrisy.
After the election of Barack Obama, conservatives discovered Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. The activist’s Rule Four, his recommendation to attack political opponents’ hypocrisy, resonated. Alinsky observed that because no human can ever live up to his book of rules, challenging the enemy to do so is always a fruitful undertaking.
Hypocrisy is not hard to spot either, and calling it out feels immediately gratifying. Unfortunately, the strategy doesn’t seem to yield immediate results. The double standard is, indeed, tremendous. Antifa and BLM spent years rioting, looting, and threatening journalists, inflicting billions of dollars of damage, and taking two dozen lives. Still, because they are serving a preferred cause, they get away with it scot-free. On the other hand, a minor riot at the Capitol is an “insurrection” “worse than 9/11” that required the National Guard’s mobilization. Similarly, the Left spent four years threatening to evoke the 25thAmendment against Donald Trump. Still, even though most Americans believe that Joe Biden is mentally unfit to be President, it’s unlikely that he will be removed.
The Left can’t be shamed into living up to its principles because it is fundamentally nihilistic. It doesn’t care what we think of them, and, as is the case with AOC’s Met Gala dress, it will simply ignore the controversy that doesn’t work to advance its power.
There are many reasons why Rule Four worked better for Alinsky. For starters, when Rules for Radicals was published in 1971, the largest age cohort in the country was 10 to 14-years-old. Today, it’s between 25 and 29. The 1971 age pyramid had a broader base, meaning there were many more young people in the United States than the old and the middle age. It wasn’t difficult to point out that their parents keep them from carnal pleasures they themselves do not hesitate to enjoy. As Benjamin told Mrs. Robinson in the 1967 film The Graduate, “I am good enough for you, but I’m not good enough to associate with your daughter.”
Today, we have middle-aged pundits, all of them well aware of their shortcomings, discussing how someone else refuses to be shamed. The AOC is also middle-aged, incidentally, and although she might be naïve about policy or economics, she understands how to play the game.
Hypocrisy might be primarily an issue for juveniles, but young people are still left in the country. Many of them are obedient, but others sense that their parents and teachers are lying to them. In their hearts, they know that there are two sexes, male and female, and Colin Kaepernick is just a shoe salesman. They might be ready to discuss multimillionaires of all skin hues embracing non-white socialist celebrities at a hyper-exclusive ball. Maybe the kids will even walk away from the conversation with a copy of Radical Chic.
The numbers are not on AOC’s side. Her notoriety sustains her brand from which she can find a way to profit. Still, according to a December 2020 Rasmussen poll, 50% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of her. Only 37% view her favorably.
Pointing out the hypocrisy of political opponents might not produce immediate results that so many on the right crave. Still, we are on a long March through the Left’s institutions, and younger people might want to hear about it. Let’s keep it up.