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Column: Obama Leverages Zeitgeist

This story was written by Lucy Mueller, Daily Trojan


The good news is that the average American teenagers favorite periodical is no longer Cosmopolitan magazine. The bad news is that the pinnacle of tighty-whitey journalism somehow wedged its way into the top 10.

According to a recently published Anderson Analytics survey, the enthusiastically salacious rag was bumped to second place on this years poll, while news monolith Time magazine took its place as the most read magazine among college students across the nation. (Perennial favorite People remained in the top three after all, what else would you read at the dentists office?) Statistically, its encouraging that a larger percentage of students are actually reading their magazines just for the articles, although other responses on the survey reflected less positively on the iGeneration.

Most depressing was the category of favorite musical artist, which swayed to Coldplay, the poor mans U2. The group won out over the 2007 incumbent, faux-angry, alt-rock and travesty Linkin Park, a band whose crime was encouraging white teenage boys to rap in a markedly unironic fashion.

Brushing past appalling taste in music, our generation redeemed itself on this years Anderson survey, as the 1,000-plus students polled claimed a decided interest in world events. CNN.com made the cut for the top 10 most popular websites, while CollegeHumor and Perez Hilton both got bumped, proving suspicions that there really is nothing more to say about Lindsay Lohan.

This year, students polled eschewed Old Navy for American Eagle clothing (more patriotic), and a substantial percentage professed their dearest wish to bring world peace, an answer that came in fourth behind money, academic achievement and employment. (Also in the top 10 was the ability to fly.) The uptick in student political interest, resulting from the 2008 presidential race and The West Wing reruns, is an unusual and exciting phenomenon; college students began to turn away from online videos of inebriated frat boys slam-dunking pingpong balls, focusing instead on plunky acoustic music videos that told us yes, we could.

Unsurprisingly, an Anderson survey conducted in September revealed a substantial swing toward President-elect Barack Obama among college students; the study suggested that, come Nov. 4, 60 percent of college students would be ecstatic and 35 percent would be heartbroken (Presumably, the remaining 5 percent were just disappointed that Saturday Night Live missed out on four more years of good fodder).

Its been a while since the echo-boomers have so emphatically flocked to politics; the past two decades have, after all, been a black hole of mediocre politicians. From former President Bill I did not have sexual relations with that woman Clinton, to two-time presidential nominee and two-timing shmuck Sen. John Edwards, the 90s was not exactly rife with figureheads.

Enter the zeitgeist.

Anything that unseats Cosmo is a welcome respite, and we can only hope the flurry of political interest lasts beyond Jan. 21. Its taken a while to reclaim a generational reputation lost with the advent of Jackass, but, in the slightly saccharine words of the zombies, This will be our year, took a long time to come.

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