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The Slur That Must Not Be Named

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

Elisa Mueller
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Nov 10, 2009

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.

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

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