Jonathan Krohn Not As Much of a Prodigy As We Thought

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Walter Noel doesn't want just <i>any</i> cell phone.
Photo: nytimes.com

A couple of weeks ago,13-year-old conservative pundit Jonathan Krohn wowed the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference with his poise and confidence. His speech, "Define Conservatism," later made the rounds on the Internet, and everywhere, parents who thought their children were prodigies were instantly ashamed. This weekend, we got to know a little bit more about young Jonathan when he was profiled in the Times "Style" section. There were a lot of details: Jonathan is studying Latin and Arabic, we're told — the latter so he can "talk with our allies in their language." He gets up at the crack of dawn every day to listen to conservative talk radio. He's already written a book. And he was recently sought out by the staff member of a prospective candidate for Georgia governor.

To compare our life to Krohn's is embarrassing. At his age, instead of learning Latin or Arabic, we were learning to say "Hello, grandmother, where is the library?" in Spanish. Instead of waking up early, we slept until we were hectored out of bed by our parents. Instead of writing a book, we read one. And instead of being contacted by a politician, we drank chocolate milk.

Even when he's being self-deprecating, Krohn makes us feel bad about ourselves. His book, for example, the one that nobody else his age could have written, he calls a "first effort." Too much Jefferson, not enough Hamilton, apparently. And his precocious speaking style works great on radio, but on TV, he says, "I look too big because I move my hands around a lot." Annoying. But there was one tiny detail revealed in the story that made us feel better, which is that Krohn isn't as much of a prodigy as we thought he was. Back at CPAC, he was widely touted as being only 13 years old. But according to the Times:

he turned 14 last Sunday, right after he became an instant news media darling and the conservative movement’s underage graybeard


Whoa, 14? We're not even impressed anymore. Really, that's practically old. Not to mention disingenuous of Krohn to present himself as 13 just a couple of days before turning 14. Any self-respecting tween knows that when you are on the cusp of a birthday like that, you describe yourself as going on that age. We no longer see a lot of potential for Krohn's political career, considering that he's building it on a foundation of untruths. Then again, maybe that makes him even more prepared for life in politics.

The Little Mr. Conservative [NYT]