The matter of Chris Hayes poses a unique conundrum for conservatives today. He’s fresh-faced and clean cut. He bubbles with a tender earnestness. There is a saccharine hopefulness to his monologues, as if maybe this young man truly does have a genuine vision for the future. This carefully crafted image stands in stark contrast to the ranting, sex-obsessed, emotionally tormented liberal archetype, exemplified by the likes of Michael Moore or Bill Maher.
It was a brilliant and calculating move for leftwing MSNBC to put this handsome fellow out there with the perfect timeslot for teen viewers. All In with Chris Hayes airs nightly at 8pm, when outcasts and scenesters are channel surfing their hardest, looking for some easy outlet for the frustrations of family and school.
And up pops Chris! He speaks with rapid-fire catchphrases and a mastery of the most current viral slang that older audiences will find utterly confusing. His crisp suits betray a bespoke and even hipster sensibility. This is not at all surprising. The man makes his home in Brooklyn, New York, the epicenter of America’s underground youth scene.
His performances are laced with a touch of elitism, surely the product of his Ivy League upbringing. Then there is the “geek chic” of his encyclopedic obscurantism and thick black eyewear. The whole package has a unique allure to his excitable fans. It’s as if the Chris Hayes worldview is a private club, accessible only to the young and willing.
But how willing must you be?
His blazing blue eyes smother you with their sincerity. He smiles with a teasing giddiness. That eager effervescence might just be infectious. His delicate lips suggest the sophistication of champagne and silk. Deft on screen, one imagines Hayes to be lithe and aerobic in real life. But this Chris is merely a chimera.
Peel back a few layers of the Chris Hayes phenomenon and the tired talking points of radical liberalism rise to the surface. He sings op-eds from The Nation and The New Republic like he’s belting out pop tunes on the TV show Glee. His cast of fellow travelers are little more than the new breed of Steinems and Kennedys and Zinns with manicured goatees and festive scarves. They plagarize FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society with their utopian pipedreams. Marx’s manic hatred of the free market makes the veins of their foreheads pop with excitement. They froth over entitlements and tax hikes, peace treaties and street protests. Yes, it’s easy for naïve, rebellious children to get caught up in this fetid fervor.
Older audiences will see Chris Hayes for who he truly is. A demagogue in the making perhaps, if he can maintain interest once that baby face bloats and sags. For now, he is an intellectual featherweight, a loud and condescending brat with an unconscionable soapbox. His interest in the real world of hardworking Americans is nil. The scaffolding of his mind is clearly teetering under the weight of all those academic tomes and blog posts and Mother Jones back issues that comprise the entirety of his intellect.
And yet every time I see a child with a natural intelligence, I want to be hopeful…
One wishes the boy had just a small amount of exposure to the grit and trauma of our devastated economy before donning his five thousand dollar suits. One wishes the boy had a sliver of respect for Patriotism and God Bless America, which are the only two things keeping some of us alive these days. One wishes the boy could earnestly appreciate the human sacrifice of our troops pushing back the hoardes of the hateful massing at our borders. One wishes the boy understood that American Exceptionalism is truly the only chance for the survival of the human race on our planet.
But maybe all that is too much to ask from a young man who has already dedicated his soul to soapboxes and socialism and chic suits.