Jonathan Krohn, the former conservative boy wonder who provoked an angry reproach from the right last week when he announced his reinvention as a liberal, is out with a new op-ed shedding light on his political shift and countering the fallout from his decision.
In a column for Salon, Krohn describes his transition from a "naïve" and "nasal" conservative idealist to a maturing, compassionate teenager disenchanted with the current state of "ideological warfare." The one-time Conservative Political Action Conference fan-favorite writes that the right's response to his conversion underscored his belief that political discourse is increasingly becoming a battle between "drunken college boys fighting over which one of their fraternities is cooler":
I have been treated by the political right with all the maturity of schoolyard bullies. The Daily Caller, for instance, wrote three articles about my shift, topping it off with an opinion piece in which they stated that I deserved criticism because I wear “thick-rimmed glasses” and I like Ludwig Wittgenstein. Why don’t they just call me “four-eyes”? These are not adults leveling serious criticism; these are scorned right-wingers showing all the maturity of a little boy. No wonder I fit in so well when I was 13.
Krohn also says his transformation was motivated by life experience and a new frame of mind that his younger self couldn't comprehend.
What does a kid who has never paid a tax bring to the table in a conversation about the burden of taxes? What does a healthy child know about people who can’t afford healthcare because of preexisting conditions? No matter how intelligent a person might be, certain political issues require life experience; they’re much more complicated than the black and white frames imposed by partisan America.
Like many 17-year-old guys, Krohn also appears to have more apolitical topics on his mind. He regrets not having dated Mila Kunis, admits to wanting a woman with "cans the size of my head," and suggests one must be "old enough to have consensual sex" to weigh in on political issues. Krohn also calls himself a "nerd who’s never been laid" and attempts to clarify that he didn't become a liberal in an effort to cope with that.
In a previous interview, Krohn explained the roots of his political transformation.
"Social conservatism was the first thing to go," he said, a claim that may have been foreshadowed last year when he denounced the "extreme views" of some conservatives. Krohn says he is now pro-choice, supports gay marriage and would vote for President Barack Obama if he could. He'll still be 17 in November.
Read Krohn's entire column at Salon.
Below, a look at 20 extraordinary wunderkinds.
Most five-year-olds finger-paint. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/14/aelita-andre-5-year-old-painting-prodigy-new-york-agora-gallery_n_1598196.html" target="_hplink">Aelita Andre</a> is about to have her second solo show as "the youngest professional painter in the world" at New York's Agora Gallery -- her first showing raked in up to $30,000 per painting. Andre is the daughter of two painters; at nine months old, she crawled onto her parents' canvasses and began to paint.
15-year-old <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/04/kuhao-blind-teen-plays-piano-songs-video_n_1403034.html" target="_hplink">Kuha'o</a> has been blind since infancy, but he hasn't let his loss of vision deter him from his dreams. He is able to play any song on the piano after listening to it only once. In just two days, his instrumental version of the dubstep song "Cracks" by Freestylers racked up <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBfEHF_7vxg&list=UUFIxsG6xSy8Q7fQ2tgrzmbA&index=2&feature=plcp." target="_hplink">more than 60,000 views</a>.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/30/autistic-child-billy-joel-piano-man-video-viral_n_1463687.html" target="_hplink">Six-year-old Ethan</a>, who is on the autism spectrum, has an extraordinary talent for music. At just four, he began playing The Beatles' "I Will" by ear. Now, his cover of Billy Joel's "Piano Man" <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpF3326_b5g&list=UUkxYCucMvYEjrgokL4nDmbA&index=5&feature=plcp" target="_hplink">has gone viral</a>, boasting more than 1.2 million views.
Piano teacher Judith Fairchild works with student Marissa Liu, 6, Thursday, May 17, 2012 in her Memphis, Tenn. home. Marissa just recently won the Grand Prix at The X Sonatina and Sonata International Youth Piano Competition sponsored by the Fryderyk Chopin Society of Texas in Corpus Christi. She is apparently the youngest winner ever in the competition's history. Part of the prize is, Marissa, who can't reach the piano pedals, will be performing at Carnegie Hall in December. (AP Photo/Alan Spearman, The Commercial Appeal)
Jourdan Urbach rehearses at the Pierre Hotel prior to a ceremony where he will receive the nation's highest public service awards, the Jefferson Awards, Tuesday, March 6, 2012 in New York. Urbach is a violin prodigy who has channeled his musical talents to raise more than $5 million for pediatric medical research around the globe, headlining benefit concerts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and other venues. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
In November 2012, the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3oNVmSaMsE" target="_hplink">5-year-old Internet sensation from Hong Kong</a> shut down <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/5-old-piano-prodigy-too-good-true-183547955.html/" target="_hplink">the conspiracy theorists of YouTube</a> with a live performance of the fast-paced Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composition, "Flight Of The Bumblebee," on <em>Ellen</em>. There were a few big differences between this, Tsung Tsung's U.S. television debut, and the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/amazing-child-prodigy-ast_n_1870865.html" target="_hplink">viral video from the fall that introduced us</a> to the Hong Kong talent. Tsung was noticeably less smiley than he was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/amazing-child-prodigy-ast_n_1870865.html" target="_hplink">when we first fell in love</a>. In fact, he was almost deadly serious, clad in a snazzy white tux instead of his usual pajamas. Luckily all his dramatic moves were still there, including a new closer he whipped out in which he throws his hands up "<a href="http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1076600/hong-kong-child-piano-prodigy-wows-american-tv-audience" target="_hplink">like a gymnast after a golden Olympic performance</a>."
Tsung Tsung, Part 1
Speaking of the earlier adorable video of little Tsung Tsung smiling away, here it is. The YouTube clip surfaced in September 2012 and quickly made its way to Reddit, where commenters so in awe of Tsung's lightning fast hands questioned the video's authenticity. You <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/amazing-child-prodigy-ast_n_1870865.html" target="_hplink">know where we stand on that though</a>.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/nine-year-old-artist-kier_n_1669610.html" target="_hplink">This summer</a>, nine-year-old <a href="http://kieronwilliamson.com/" target="_hplink">Kieron Williamson</a> sold 24 paintings in 15 minutes for the very-adult price of $386,000. He began painting at the ripe old age of six, and has been unwaveringly supported by his doting mother who recently wrote a biography about the young painter, modestly titled "Kieron Willimason Coming to Light -- The Remarkable Story of A Child's Gift to Painting."
Eleven year old Ethan Bortnick has already performed with the likes of Beyonce and Elton John, and claimed a Guinness Book of World Record's title as the world's youngest solo musician to headline his own tour, which he first did at the age of 9. This summer, the piano phenomenon wrapped up another solo tour, on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/26/ethan-bortnick-piano-prodigy-video_n_1707536.html" target="_hplink">a 22-city sweep of America</a>.
Seven-year-old Alma Deutscher may not be able to reach the pedals of her piano without a little help from a stack of books, but the young pianist, violinist and composer is the latest sensation in the classical world. In an NBC News video from this fall (seen to the left), the tiny talent is seen cooly composing a cello sonata and performing her own musical creations on both the piano and violin. Deutscher, a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/15/prodidy_n_1967652.html" target="_hplink">favorite of British actor Stephen Fry</a>, wrote a short opera called "The Sweeper of Dreams" earlier this year, a feat that <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/9604486/Is-Alma-Deutscher-the-new-Mozart.html" target="_hplink">prompted comparisons to Mozart</a>.
Try not to headbang along to this video of six-year-old Jaxon Smith drumming to the Foo Fighters' song Pretender. According to the video's description, the self-taught percussionist weighed just one pound when he was born in 2005. He's grown up to be quite a rocker, performing songs by Rush, The Who, Heart (yep, "Barracuda"), the Silversun Pickups, Tool, Rage Against the Machine and more. For more of Jackson's amazing drumming, head over to the profile of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/U2RUSHFAN?feature=watch" target="_hplink">YouTube user U2RUSHFAN</a>.