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Natasha Vargas-Cooper Headshot

"Rock The Vote" Inspires No One To Change Their Facebook Status Or Voting Habits

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Is it ever a good idea when Hollywood and DC promiscuously mingle?

A betting man would say: fuck no.

He'd say "Surely, you jest! Do you think today's youth, which revels in the way celebrities embarrass themselves on reality TV shows, allow their vaginas to fall out of their skirts, hawk photos of their pink wrinkly newborns to the highest bidder -- do you think these youth are the least bit impressed by a celebrity endorsement?"

And yet Rock the Vote -- the non-profit that has fueled massive voter registration drives through celebrity endorsements and rock concerts -- has launched a similar campaign for the 2008 election, hoping to lure youth away from Gossip Girl marathons and into the voting booths. They've enlisted Christina Aguilera, her infant son swaddled in the American flag, Soulja Boy, the one-hit wonder who rapped about jizzing on a girl's back and caping her by throwing a sheet on top (ie, "Supermanning a Ho" -- you're welcome) and Sheryl Crow, who no one born in the 80s listens to.

Just exactly who is the target audience here? Are the Rock the Vote people so out of touch with the "smart" young people out there? You know, the ones who might actually be inspired to vote if you gave them a good reason to? The approach is so laughable because the assumption on which it hangs is no longer valid: the kids of today are too skeptical and snarky to be swayed by rockstar/celebrity endorsements.

Even the candidates are hip to this fact.

When Brad Pitt declared his hard-on for Barrack Obama and offered to go out on the campaign trail and stump for him, Obama wisely declined.

You'd figure since this is the 2.0 election year Rock the Vote could really utilize young people and budding technology to claw itself out of irrelevancy. But it doesn't look likely. The formula is all wrong. It's not actual pop stars that motivate the youngs to vote, it's the popstar qualities of a candidate.

A candidate like Barack Obama already has the larger-than-life image, the pop culture appeal, the strong backing of the 18 to 30 set. Throwing out-of-touch pop idols at him like they're groupies only serves to cheapen the brand values that his campaign has spent so much time building.

Rock The Vote could have attached itself to his bandwagon -- get Will I Am and some of the Yes We Can artists to do a tour. Build upon the values that are clearly mobilizing the youth today. But no, in traditional Gen-X grunge-rock fashion, they gotta "do their own thing," which is sadly irrelevant to all but some bumfuck young Republicans who just found out that Kurt Cobain died.