This is change

Obama speechwriter

The young man groping the cutout of Sen. Clinton is 27-year-old Jon Favreau, chief speechwriter for President-elect Barack Obama. The guy with the beer is another Obama staffer.

This photo was posted to Favreau’s Facebook page on December 4, 2008.

You’d think that a generation raised with the Internet since puberty would have enough brains to keep embarrassing material like this out of the public eye. Obviously not.

Besides raising the prospect of some interesting behind-the-scenes staff meetings in the new administration, it illustrates a real change in the way my daughter’s media-savvy generation views the world. Have you noticed the cruelty that passes for humor in advertising these days?

For example, the new TV ad for Taco Bell in which two guys calmly eat nachos while watching a friend run for his life from an enraged bull. Or a recent ad in which a guy tries to save on the high cost of airfare by sending himself to a business meeting inside a cardboard box. The man’s colleagues wonder why he’s absent, and we cut to a shot of a large box falling off the back of a delivery truck.

Funny — until the box is flattened a few seconds later by a speeding car. Apparently it never dawned on the advertising agency or its client that some of us might be horrified by the violent death of the poor shlub in the box.

This is the new standard of decency and humor in America. At its core is a cold disregard for the feelings of others, a complete lack of empathy. No wonder government-enforced compulsory giving (i.e., taxation for entitlements) is so often confused with charity these days.

So the picture at Favreau’s Facebook page isn’t too much of a surprise. Among his circle of friends, this was innocuous fun. It never occurred to him that anyone would be offended by his crude display of disrespect to women in general, never mind the fact that woman is a United States senator and the presumptive next Secretary of State.

Let’s just hope for Mr. Favreau’s sake that he never finds himself alone with a pack of PUMAs. They are not amused.

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