Posted Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010, at 4:00 PM
What shouldn’t you have when you’re 20? Alzheimer’s disease-that would be weird. More than five kids-also strange when you’re just toe-dipping into your deuces. Oh, and how about a multi-page Web site highlighting your minor pop career along with at least nine other personal traits, each with their own special section like "The Community Figure," describing, of course, your charitable performance at a Red Sox game in support of "The Foundation to be Named Later." Or an "Actress" section, detailing how you twice turned down an offer to star in a local production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat but then "finally accepted" the offer. (Reminiscent of that one friend whose Facebook status message is always something like: "Can’t decide between Harvard and Yale. They both really want me! Going to have to break one of their hearts .") It's Tracy Flick meets the Internet age.
Meet Ayla Brown, the daughter of newly elected Massachusetts senator Scott Brown. She has this personal Web site because she is a budding actress/singer/performer/charitable giver/athlete/judge/communications major/anthem girl. To a limited degree, there’s some quasi-valuable information you can take away from your elected official’s offspring-or at least a way politicians' little DNA soufflés can be played to their political advantage. Before Sarah Palin entered the scene and destroyed all the moderate cred McCain possessed, John wore his daughter Meghan like a badge of moderate pride. However silly the logic, some felt comforted by Megan McCain because her hip, blogger personality meant John McCain couldn't really be that conservative. (Like: "If his daughter goes to Columbia and likes the Decemberists, there's no way he's anti-abortion!") In the same way, Chelsea Clinton’s schooling (Sidwell Friends) and general curly-haired nerdism was constantly held up by Republicans during Bill's presidency as an example of the family's liberal elitism.
And what does Ayla reveal about Brown family, if anything? Well, her Web site paints her as the perfect Northeastern version of a conservative, values-friendly Southern Belle. She has acting and singing ambitions, but you know, nothing too risqué. She sings the national anthem at ball games. She tries out for American Idol , not Real World . You may have seen something like these lyrics from her song "Thanks to You" in your high school guidance counselor’s office:
Nothing, is gonna get in my way,
no one is gonna take my dreams away
Nothing can stop me, I can do anything,
No one can tell me how life is supposed to be
In the meantime I'll hang on to my dreams
and I thank you, for everything
Photograph of Ayla Brown by Robert Spencer/Getty Images.