The Slur That Must Not Be Named

By
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 11:31 am

RedState is on a tear against President Obama for this second-hand quote, supplied by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) to The New York Times.

Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care?

This, says a RedState blogger, is “pornographic” and “name-calling.” I think that’s a bit much. Is there some way to talk about people who wave around tea bags to make political points without mentioning the tea bags? Generally, I think there is, and I go to some lengths not to make crude jokes when I write about the Tea Party movement. But like many slurs devised by a movement’s opponents, I’ve heard this slur being co-opted by the people working the Tea Parties. I’ve actually talked to Tea Party activists who referred to themselves as “Teabaggers.” And at the 9/10 pre-March on Washington event at the D.C. Armory, I bought this button on sale from a vendor:

Picture 28

If the Tea Party activists and their allies are going to take offense at certain terms being applied to them, they should probably avoid self-identifying with those same terms.

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Comments

81 Comments

Tweets that mention The Slur That Must Not Be Named « The Washington Independent -- Topsy.com
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[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by stegan and WashIndependent, TMC Member Feed. TMC Member Feed said: Wash. Independent: The Slur That Must Not Be Named: RedState is on a tear against President O.. http://bit.ly/3FWlfD [...]


uberVU - social comments
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Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by TWI_news: The Slur That Must Not Be Named http://bit.ly/3RXqXV...


BillFromPA
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

I believe the term TeaBaggers was coined by the baggers themselves, we Liberals just gleefully jumped all over it. Next time, WingNuts, use the Googles when you form another AstroTurf group and are in need of a name.


tomazulob
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

“If the Tea Party activists and there allies are going to take offense at certain terms being applied to them, they should probably avoid self-identifying with those same terms.”

If you want to be taken seriously, you need to show you know how to spell “their” when applicable. This is an egregious junior-high error. But then why contradict critics who say journalism of this generation is a joke?


trinks
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

It's not like Obama called them douchebaggers.

Which they are…and demonstrate to a horrified America each time they congregate.


bobatkinson
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

Been dealing with this issue on the local newspapers comment section. When you use the term as equal to Tea Party the wingers do rise up in righteous indignation so you just pretend you don't know why they are so upset about a term they have used to describe themselves. No right winger has ever come back with an explanation to explain my feigned ignorance so ya just know they know they screwed up royally.


j_mcdouglas
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

?

So carrying huge banners of dead naked Jewish children in a pile in order to protest healthcare: not pornographic.

Calling them by what they apparently want to be called (according to their buttons): pornographic.

Great country we have here.


colorado23
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

You know, payback is a bitch. This is for all those years they've purposefully referred to the Democratic Party as the Democrat Party because they know it irks people like me.


Joanie_Oconn
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

The expression “nigger, please” comes to mind.


tori
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

“Teabag” is different from “teabagging,” as in “to teabag.” The sexual term does not have the word “teabag” as a noun. They do wave teabags, so referring to “teabag” can not be offensive to them (or else they're really nuts). His use of “teabag” as an adjective is a little odd but people do that when speaking off the cuff, such as when Bush said “the Democrat Congress.” Obama was probably going out of his way NOT to offend. Otherwise he would have called them “teabaggers.”


joe
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

tomazulob: You've crossed one of my “Godwins”.
1) Calling Godwin on someone — you've missed the joke if you have.
2) Using a “fallacy” incorrectly — ad hominem does not mean that insulting someone is a “fallacy”. If you don't know what a logical fallacy is, please STFU.
3) Calling someone out on a common typo in a real-time medium that lacks professional editors. If you miss the substance for the form, you're an imbecile. If you don't recognize that standards are practical, and not just so imbeciles can declaim their superiority, you're a cretin.


NJ Patriot
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

That's your zinger? An online article in which the writer accidentally uses “there” for “their” in a sentence is proof of journalism's decline? Any comments on the teabaggers protest signs? Because there are some real doozies.


NJ Patriot
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 4:49 pm

whoops, pardon me, teabaggers'…


roblicsw
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

Remember that the baggers always try to screw with your sense of reality. Most of them grew up in families that did that constantly….


Nylund
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

If you want to be taken seriously, you should probably come up with a criticism that involves more than just a letter or two.


Eye on Williamson » Bradley, the budget, history, and far right challengers
Pingback posted November 10, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

[...] The unintended consequences of teabagging.  Some on the right wing fringe are growing weary of the teabagging moniker. [...]


coolerking
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

The Cincinnati Enquirer will actually delete any comments that include “teabagger” or “teabag.” I think maybe I'll post a link to this next time it happens!


nitpicker
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

Uh…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZBKIxnThYk


jasonbrice
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 7:38 pm

Teabagger powers activate!

Form of… a Teabag!
Shape of…a Wingnut!


GM52246
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

Yup, and it ain't just Michael Steele who used it–rightie Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins used the phrase “teabag the white house!,” and that's what started the whole thing. Attention wingnuts: don't whine about terms you come up with yourselves. If you guys weren't so homophobic, and supported equal rights for gays & lesbians, you would've had one of them there to tell you what the term meant.


Levi in NY
Comment posted November 10, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

Or better yet, you could stop associating with the teabagger loons altogether and join sane America as we try to deal with real problems instead of fake problems that just make people laugh at you, such as claiming the President is a communist fascist Arab Kenyan, or that health care reform is equivalent to the Holocaust.


Midday Open Thread
Pingback posted November 11, 2009 @ 6:48 am

[...] being called teabaggers is too much for some rightwingers to [...]


DownriverDem
Comment posted November 11, 2009 @ 11:33 am

All moderate Republicans should quickly face reality and vote with the Dems in the next election. The current GOP must fail in order for it to regroup.


Elliott
Comment posted November 11, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

I disagree, and here is an example of why: White people do not get a pass for using the N-word despite the fact that many black people use it amongst themselves.

Not only that, but the whole point of the Tea Party movement (which is itself a small part of a much larger movement) is that it is non-partisan, and does not participate in the false Republic-Democratic dichotomy that has hijacked American politics. Thus, another part of the insult is the invocation of Tea Parties to perpetuate this left-right sham, when it is exactly the purpose of TPs to reject it.

The fake left-right distinction serves only the political elite: don't let it distract you from the real point, which is freedom vs. tyranny.


Elliott
Comment posted November 11, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

Jason powers activate! Hey, what happened to my powers? Oh well, where's that book on making logical arguments… I know I put it somewhere around here… ah, heck with it, who needs logic, anyway–those #$%#@ teabaggers can keep it! And they can keep their stupid power, too. I don't need powers, I enjoy being a slavish sheep too much.


joe
Comment posted November 12, 2009 @ 10:04 am

Wow — you are deluded. Yes, that is the belief of many or most of the teabaggers themselves — but it's not the political function of the teabaggers. The teabaggers are an alliance of “Libertarians” and theocrats who have been used by the Republican party for 40 years, and who are now threatening to go off the farm.

The same manipulators who have used these folks for generations are still running the show — it's the same old internecine Republican war between traditional, Eisenhower Republicans and the tools they thought they could use.

So, it falls right back into the traditional dichotomy. It's the two-party system — you get Kodos or Kang.


sirmagpiedecrow
Comment posted November 14, 2009 @ 11:29 am

All this talk of teabags, teabagging, teabaggers just makes me want to keep my mouth close… because if you can't say something nice about someone its probably best you say nothing at all. Please don't read any sexual subtext into my comment about keeping my mouth close because I didn't mean to imply any silly juvenile humor. Honest:)


sirmagpiedecrow
Comment posted November 14, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

All this talk of teabags, teabagging, teabaggers just makes me want to keep my mouth close… because if you can't say something nice about someone its probably best you say nothing at all. Please don't read any sexual subtext into my comment about keeping my mouth close because I didn't mean to imply any silly juvenile humor. Honest:)


Weekend link dump for November 15 – Off the Kuff
Pingback posted November 15, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

[...] don’t like the term “teabaggers”, you probably shouldn’t have adopted the tea bag as your symbol. I’m just saying. Oh, [...]


The GOP establishment vs. the Rogues : The Reid Report
Pingback posted November 21, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

[...] Photo from the Washington Independent. [...]


Al Franken Takes A Stab at NBCPage 2
Pingback posted April 22, 2010 @ 12:10 am

[...] Debate: Is 'Teabagger' Their 'N-Word'? | TPMDC Andy Borowitz: Teabaggers Finally Google 'Teabag' The Slur That Must Not Be Named The Washington Independent 'Teabagger' Finalist For Oxford's 'Word Of The Year' I can go [...]


hby
Comment posted May 4, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

Currently, about 20% of the electorate will willingly call themselves Republicans when asked to in polls. At the same time, the number of people willing to call themselves Tea Partiers has climbed dramatically.

Do the math. They're the new incarnation of the GOP, just like the GOP came out of the Whigs.


ahermit
Comment posted May 4, 2010 @ 8:56 pm

It was the Tea partiers themselves who first used the term “teabaggers” to refer to themselves, so it's incorrect to say they were “co-opting a slur”.

And these are the people who are running around the country screaming at people and calling the resident a “Nazi”. All of a sudden we're supposed to believe they are concerned about civility?

Hypocrites.


Elliott
Comment posted May 4, 2010 @ 9:16 pm

I shall respond to several comments at once, though they may have been posted separately…

Obama has out-Bushed bush, breaking every promise he made during his campaign. Bush was a Constitution-shredding Nazi. So is Obama. Thus, if the shoe fits, it is not uncivil but merely honest to call a club a club. And if you are not angry about the destruction of our freedoms, both economic and political, and the abuse of the political process by both parties that is running rampant, then you are not paying attention.

As far as the GOP-ness of the tea party movement goes, it is an unfortunate reality that the Republican party has tried, and largely succeeded, in co-opting the public/media face of the tea party movement. But make no mistake, its genesis was in libertarian activism, and at its core it remains very much so. Anyway, it is quite a large and diverse tent, under which may people see through the fake left-right sideshow that is meant to distract folks from the abuses taking place right before us.

Finally, the supposed misdemeanor of tea party participants, at least in terms of the specific incidents of which I am aware, has been exposed as agitprop. There is certainly enough hypocrisy to go around–how about that recent immigrants rights demonstration that turned into a window-breaking and looting riot.

Seriously, if folks could get off the name-calling long enough to make a personal connection and understand each others' concerns clearly, I bet there's also common-ground enough to go around.


Late Night News Roundup | The Moderate Voice
Pingback posted May 4, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

[...] the “Teabagger” label. Activists put it on their clothing, pins, and their placards all the time, completely unaware of the slang/sexual connotation. It was common for much of the year for [...]


Late Night News Roundup « Kathy's TMV Posts
Pingback posted May 4, 2010 @ 10:34 pm

[...] the “Teabagger” label. Activists put it on their clothing, pins, and their placards all the time, completely unaware of the slang/sexual connotation. It was common for much of the year for [...]


theecelticgypsy
Comment posted May 5, 2010 @ 12:17 am

What a phenonminal statement. You may have missed one President prior to W. But when the People as a whole don't stand up and be counted, this is what we get.
Again. Excellent way to put it.
(Not sure about the Nazi on Bush or prior, but I am not an expert as I would like to be. Maybe a Neo-Nazi?).


cjpr
Comment posted May 5, 2010 @ 2:32 am

Actually, they are TeaBaggers — in every conceivable sense of the word.


Obama Liberal Hypocrite watch. Calls for "Civility" but then calls us "teabaggers." - Page 15 - US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum
Pingback posted May 5, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

[...] proud to be a person who is fighting to have his voice heard (via sending tea bags to congress)?: The Slur That Must Not Be Named The Washington Independent The left continues to use teabagger as a slur . . . you yourself do, as stated earlier in this [...]


Conservatively Speaking » Blog Archive » Conservatively Speaking May 5, 2010
Pingback posted May 5, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

[...] only wrinkle here is that some tea partyers have indulged the joke and printed up “Proud to be a Teabagger” [...]


sallysyracuse
Comment posted May 5, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

We will get off the name calling when you realize that it is the right wing of the republican party that is shredding the Constitution. Wasn't it your senators that wanted to deny the NYC bomber the rights to be mirandized. Isn't a republican Gov. in AZ that is using a bill that will eventually lead to racial profiling. So let us both be clear, when you start looking at yourself and the way your Tea group the way we see it, than we will stop referring to your group in a sexual term.


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