Getting out the youth vote
Okay, I think the political porns and Votergasm.org are funny, but all these earnest quotes throughout this article about bribing kids to the polls with sex is a little off-putting. I mean, the sites themselves are funny and probably effective in helping get out the youth vote, but clearly not in the way they think.
Only Ivy Leaguers like the kinds that put up these sites can be dumb enough to think that they are going to get laid because they vote.
For everyone else, I think what works, and it works with the Rock the Vote and Puff Daddy's thing too, is that these sites and organizations demonstrate that you don't lose your cool points because you give up just enough cynicism to vote. People who lay in bed all day Sunday smoking pot and listening to records and having sex do vote. It's not all the old before their time weenies in the College Republicans. And if you don't vote, those weenies win.
But the best way to get out the youth vote is to address what issues they care about. And if the youth vote comes out in record numbers, and it looks like it will just from the lines at the voting booths here in Austin, you better believe that it's not that they think they're getting laid for it. Young people have a lot of concerns, the draft being a big number one. I think a huge part of it, too, is that both young men and women are deeply concerned about the preservation of Roe v. Wade and easy access to birth control. That's why I think that Votergasm's non-partisan stance is a mistake--it implies that voting is something done for its own sake when of course it needs to explain to the young people that come by that if Bush is elected, their chance to have lots of orgasms with as many partners as they like will be in jeopardy. They need to spell it out: liberalism->reproductive rights->sexual freedom. That message sells to young men, too, at least the ones who are getting laid.
Of course, it's not like emotional appeals not effective or shouldn't be used. Like I said before, telling people that if they don't vote the College Republicans win would probably get out the vote. In fact, you can see some personal and sexual tensions working themselves out in the College Republicans. Sometimes it seems like half of them are young men who are pissed that everyone else seems to be getting some, so they're going to punish, punish, punish. You can spot this breed by the fact that they are 18 and talk rhapsodically about the sanctity of marriage and the proper role of women in the house.
But being overly earnest about getting to fuck in a broom closet, like one of the students they quote in the story seems to be, is just as much a turnoff as being overly earnest about having a housewife of your very own who is legally obliged to fuck you. (They think.) These groups that are using sexual appeals seem to be more about demonstrating that the founders are oh so sophisticated and bohemian and less about explaining exactly what voting has to do with young people's actual lives. The explicit humor is fine--but I guarantee that more than one young person who looked at Votergasm then went to look for some information on what voting has to do with their sex life, and that information wasn't there.