Because of a brief, apolitical speech he gave at the Teen Choice Awards on August 11th, Ashton Kutcher—who spent much energy endorsing President Obama during both of his presidential campaigns—is being praised and courted by conservatives for what they insist is an anti-liberal message about the value of hard work. The speech itself was fairly generic—yet at the same time personal–and was certainly an admirable message for Kutcher to convey as he accepted the Ultimate Choice award.
Enter the ever-excitable Rush Limbaugh, who pounced on the opportunity of Kutcher’s speech (even acknowledging Kutcher’s history of left-leaning political persuasion) to blame everyone he could think of–including teachers–for what he perceives is the prevailing message children in America hear: that hard work isn’t worth it and that capitalists are evil.
“This is a message that young kids today are not hearing except maybe in their homes from their parents, but they’re not hearing this. They’re not hearing this from Obama. They’re not hearing this from presidential or political leadership. This kind of message of hard work, the traditional American route to success and happiness is what’s being made fun of, it’s what’s being said is not possible anymore. The reason why there is a malaise, this fog of depression that has rolled in over this whole country, is because young people particularly don’t think there’s any opportunity for them. They don’t think there’s any left. They don’t believe there’s any prosperity out there for them.
They have been told that evil corporations and evil Republicans and the rich have taken it all from them. Do not laugh. The vast majority of even college graduates are taught this. So when Kutcher, at the Teen Choice Awards, stands up and offers a traditional, uplifting, motivational, and inspirational speech on how he became successful, it’s remarkable. I say remarkable because the low-information crowd watching it is hearing it. They ended up cheering it, and they’re not hearing it, except perhaps in their homes. We don’t know of course what goes on with their parents, but we know that everywhere else they go, we know that the songs they listen to, we know that the movies they watch, we know that the classrooms that they attend, do not give them this message.” (Emphasis mine.)
Where to start…
So in Rush’s estimation, our country’s children are a “low-information crowd,” and they suffer from “malaise,” a “fog of depression,” and a sense of hopelessness stemming from the fact that they “don’t believe there’s any prosperity out there for them”—because politicians, the media, professors, and teachers teach them as much.
This claim is, of course, consistent with Rush’s insistence that teachers “have found an easy way to a good living” and are motivated solely by money, even though they claim “they’re motivated by good intentions, by their big hearts.” Why wouldn’t teachers, then, encourage their students to be freeloaders too? teach them that nobody needs to work hard in America–and they themselves are proof? Because, according to Rush, teachers are “freeloaders” who, along with their unions, “don’t want to give up the gravy train.”
Now Rush is thanking goodness for Ashton, because in a world in which Democrats and freeloading teachers driven solely by money (what was that you said about capitalism, Rush?) are teaching our kids not to work hard, Ashton stands (in Rush’s clear-thinking mind, of course) with Rush Limbaugh as an example of and advocate for hard work and determination–when no such other examples exist in America.
(I’m sure that being celebrated and praised by Rush Limbaugh was way up on Ashton Kutcher’s bucket list, so he can check that one off. )
To advance his case even further (and to make himself even happier), Rush concludes that the reason for Kutcher’s political revelation must be Kutcher’s role as Steve Jobs in the newly-released biopic, Jobs. Limbaugh points out similarities between the content of Kutcher’s speech and the Jobs’s 2005 commencement address at Stanford—both of which were largely apolitical—and draws the implicit conclusion that Kutcher, inspired by his research about and portrayal of Jobs (who told Obama in 2010 that busting teachers unions was the only way to achieve real “education reform”) simply MUST have seen the conservative light that Rush has been shining for so long.
It couldn’t be that Kutcher just admires Jobs for his hard work and accomplishments.
And it’s definitely not possible for someone to be a Democrat (or a teacher, for that matter–but they’re all Democrats anyway) and value hard work.
It’s really too bad Rush hates teachers so much—because otherwise, he could get into a classroom and teach kids the morals and values that he himself obviously possesses but of which our nation’s “low-information” children are obviously bereft.
Until then, I suppose he’ll just rely on Ashton Kutcher to convey that message to America’s kids.