National Review / Digital
For AARP Strategy Group Only


MODERATOR: Okay. Yes. Fine. But for right now, for right now in this room, can we just respond to health-care statements. For instance, how would you, as people in your twenties, respond to this statement: “I’m concerned that the generations ahead of mine will bankrupt the nation before I can receive my benefits”?

FEMALE 29: Who benefits? That’s a good question.

MALE 27: That’s a very corporate way to look at it. It’s offensive.

MODERATOR: Come on! Can we please focus? I have five statements I need to get your reaction to. That’s it. My God it’s hard to get people your age to think about anything for longer than ten seconds.

MALE 22: I find your anger threatening.

MODERATOR: I’m sorry.

FEMALE 29: I feel very at risk.

MODERATOR: I said I was sorry. I’m just frustrated. I’m trying to get through this.

MALE 27: That’s an awesome tattoo.

FEMALE 25: Thanks. It’s the Chinese symbol for “peaceful transformation into empowerment.”

MODERATOR: No, it’s not.

FEMALE 25: Excuse me? It is.

MODERATOR: I speak Mandarin, okay? It’s the symbol for “diesel fuel only.”

FEMALE 25: That’s not what my tattoo guy said.

MODERATOR: Oh, then by all means, forget I said anything.

FEMALE 29: I’m offended by this conversation.

MALE 22: I’m offended too. As an a-and-e combination.

MALE 27: This is so typical. You see our generation with our awesome tattoos and big round things in our ears, with our denim and our stocking caps, and you instantly think we’re stupid. You want to know what we think about health care? We think it should incorporate more alternative cures like herbs and body rubs.

FEMALE 29: Especially herbs.

FEMALE 25: Especially body rubs.

MALE 22: With a vegan option.

MODERATOR: If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to call the AARP and tell them not to worry. Sir, miss? Sir? Miss?

MALE 19: Hmmmm?

FEMALE 18: Yeah?

MODERATOR: I don’t want to interrupt your, um, socializing, but the focus group is over.

July 18, 2011    |     Volume LXIII, No. 13

Books, Arts & Manners
  • Dan Blumenthal reviews On China, by Henry Kissinger.
  • Michael Knox Beran reviews What’s Wrong with Benevolence: Happiness, Private Property, and the Limits of Enlightenment, by David Stove, edited by Andrew Irvine.
  • Mackubin Thomas Owens reviews A Vulcan’s Tale: How the Bush Administration Mismanaged the Reconstruction of Afghanistan, by Dov S. Zakheim.
  • Jay Nordlinger on the Russian master Rodion Shchedrin.
  • Ross Douthat reviews Super 8.
  • John Derbyshire quantifies his inventory of books.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .