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Jewish World Review March 22, 2000 /15 Adar II, 5760

Michelle Malkin

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Clinton and the Echo Boomers -- PRESIDENT CLINTON is a role model for America's most popular youth. On TV and in real life, the cool kids known as "echo boomers" are adopting his values, sounding his themes, and emulating his rhetoric.

They are, in other words, stealing, cheating, lying about sex, and perfecting the art of the defiant non-apology apology.

I saw the Clinton legacy unfold on a recent repeat episode of the teen TV hit "Popular," which is broadcast on the WB network. The episode, titled "Truth or Consequences," dealt with a clique of high school cheerleaders who steal the answers to a biology test.

Samantha, a nerdy young editor of the school newspaper, sets out to expose the scheme. Brassy head cheerleader Nicole is unfazed: "She has no physical proof on us. She only overheard us. It's her word against mine."

"It's her word against mine." How many times had that callous Clintonian refrain bounced off the walls of the Oval Office before Monica's blue dress appeared?

But back to the show: Hot on the investigative trail, Sam urges one of her friends to surreptitiously tape the conversation of a jock who had cheated. Sam then takes pity on Brooke, one of the cheating cheerleaders, and decides to cover up the truth. Our would-be whistleblower suffers the wrath of the entire student body, however, when her expose gets published against her will.

The episode ends with a cafeteria food fight, but the real cultural climax occurs between the high school principal and cheerleader Nicole, who has taken the fall for the cheating ring.

In a rousing monologue, Nicole makes a snide admission -- "I admit it. I cheated. So book me." - and proceeds to lecture the principal in an unapologetic defense of our everybody-does-it culture. Nicole cites her lying parents, fibbing friends and tax evaders as evidence. She asserts that lying and cheating are more often rewarded than punished, and ends her mea non culpa by pointing to the most popular man in America.

President Clinton lied to our faces, she points out smugly, and "his approval rating went through the roof."

Like the Big Creep, precocious Nicole gets away with a slap on the wrist (she's barred from participating in homecoming activities). And like the Big Creep, Nicole is not sorry about anything she did wrong. She's only sorry that she got caught.

It's only Hollywood, you say? Well, in episodes small and large, the popular kids in your neighborhood are copping the same flip attitude and concocting shameless lies with dwindling regard for the consequences. In my suburban Maryland neighborhood two weeks ago, seven honor students were arrested after making false accusations of sexual abuse against a teacher who had disciplined them for bad behavior.

"We thought it would be fun" to lie, one of the girls told the Washington Post. "The whole idea of being the center of attention, going to the office and everyone in school knowing. Everyone thought it would be cool." Cool? The teacher's reputation was destroyed, he was suspended from his job, and lived under virtual house arrest for a month.

The girl says she's sorry about the incident. Yet, she persisted in mocking the innocent teacher in the Post interview. "He's just annoying," she complained. A lawyer for the Maryland State Teachers Association noted that children lying about sex was "a regular occurrence" in the school system because "times have changed. There's less respect for elders..."

It's not so much a loss of respect for elders as it is the steady erosion of respect for elders who tell the truth - especially when it's not "cool." America's youth have learned well from their Baby-Boomer-in-chief. As he rides off into the sunset, leaving behind a sullied office for the cushy life of six-figure speaking fees and lifetime Secret Service protection, President Clinton's message reverberates with the high achievers of the Echo Boomer Generation:

Telling the truth is for nerds, suckers, and losers. Life is a popularity contest, not a character test. Principles just get in the way.

JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.


03/17/00: Is Bush a Liddy Dole Republican?
03/13/00: Katie and the politics of disease
03/10/00: Maria H, Granny D, and the media Z's
03/07/00: Bubba Van Winkle wakes up
03/03/00: Double standard for day traders?
02/28/00: Sluts and nuts --- and our daughters
02/24/00: Zoning out religious freedom
02/15/00: The Baby Brain Boondoggle
02/10/00: Buddhist temple untouchables
02/08/00: CDC: Caught Devouring Cash
02/04/00: Hillary's poisoned poster child
02/01/00: Corporate welfare on ice
01/28/00: The silly sound of silence
01/26/00: The Old Media meltdown
01/20/00: The pied pipers of KidCare
01/18/00: Our imperious judiciary
01/14/00: Tune out Columbine chorus
01/12/00: Dying to be an American
01/10/00: Time for smokers' revolt?
12/30/99: Reading, writing, PlayStation?
12/27/99: Fight money-grubbing mallrats
12/23/99: Christmas for Cornilous Pixley
12/20/99: Who will help the Hmong?
12/16/99: Shame on corn-fed politicians
12/13/99: EPA vs. the American Dream
12/09/99: Look behind the Pokemon curtain
12/06/99: Amateur hour in Seattle
11/30/99: Stop the Ritalin racketeers
11/23/99: Welfare for a sports fatcat
11/19/99: Jeb Bush's political ploy of the week
11/16/99: Ben & Jerry serve up junk science
11/12/99: A monumental waste of our veterans' resources
11/10/99: Tax-and-spend schizophrenia
11/05/99: Spooky Guy Haunts the Capital
11/02/99: Mourning the loss of the last Liberty Tree
10/27/99: AOL goes AWOL on parents
10/22/99: The persecution of Harry Potter
10/20/99: Don't doctor the law
10/14/99: The trouble with kids today
10/12/99: Pro-animal, pro-abortion, anti-speech?
10/07/99: Beltway press corps needs more skunks
09/30/99: ESPN overlooks athlete of faith, grace, and guts
09/27/99: Personal freedom going up in smoke
09/15/99: Farewell, "Miss" America
09/10/99: Will George W. work for a color-blind America?
09/03/99: Feminization of gun debate drowns out sober analysis
08/27/99: America is abundant land of equal-opportunity insult
08/10/99: Protect the next generation from diversity do-goodism
08/04/99: Sweepstakes vs. state lottery: double standards on gambling
07/21/99: "True-life tales from the Thin Red Line" (or "Honor those who sacrificed their lives for peace")
07/21/99: Reading, 'Riting, and Raunchiness?
07/14/99: Journalists' group-think is not unity
06/30/99: July Fourth programming for the Springer generation
06/25/99: Speechless in Seattle
06/15/99: Making a biblical argument against federal death taxes

© 2000, Creators Syndicate