Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thought of the Day: Tea Party Terminology

Beyond the infantile bluster and destructive rage that I associate with the Tea Party movement, I have always found the "Tea Party" moniker for this movement to be curious. There seemed to me to be some disconnect between the name the movement adopted and the kind of vicious hostility behind the movement. It wasn't until recently that an explanation for this feeling I had dawned on me. Now, before I share this explanation with you, I have to warn you that it will reveal a somewhat politically incorrect side of me. But what can I do? I can run from how I was formed and I can try to alter some of the rouger sides of this formation, but I can't fully escape it! So, I have to own it. Anyway, what dawned on me is that I associate the term "Tea Party" with foppish British gentility among men, with something little girls like to play in the backyard, and with something petite grandmothers do to pass the time on weekday afternoons. Nothing wrong with any of that, but it just doesn't conjure up in my mind what the Tea Party movement is supposed to stand for. Some Alpha males who like to drink Bud Light all day long at Saints tailgating parties might describe other men involved in a "Tea Party" as "wusses." And yet it is supposedly some of these very Alpha males who are supposedly leading up these "Tea Parties." I think that's what strikes me as a bit odd about the whole movement. But perhaps it's a positive sign that even conservative Beckolytes are mixing up their male/female associations! Perhaps it's a sign that conservative male "Tea Partiers" are getting in touch with their feminine side and that conservative women "Tea Partiers" are adding a little Alpha male bravado to their notions of feminine behavior. Who knows what this all means? And perhaps it only means something about me! Anyway ... just wanted to share!

1 comment:

Eric said...

The conservatives usually beat the pants off Democrats when it comes to branding and framing issues and movements, but I gotta say the Tea Party moniker (a movement which I endorse and consider myself a part of) is a bit of unusually poor marketing on their part.

Between 'teabagger' slurs and the imagery you suggest above, I think there are more than a few people (especially young people) who agree with the movement in principal but don't want to be attached to the name. At the Tea Party events I've been to, I've seen every color and creed represented in decent numbers, but what I havne't seen are very many adults under, say, 25 years old.

Of course the imagery that is meant to be invoked by 'Tea Party' is the Boston Tea Party, a tax revolt, citizens who are fed up about high taxes and getting togetehr to do something about it... but the problem is that nothing the Tea Party movement could ever get away with will come anywhere close to measuring up to the original, and everyone knows it, so the name ends up representing (to its detractors) a certain false bravado.

I still think the movement is doing good work, and I think in the long run it will help get a few more principaled conservatives elected to public office (which, IMHO, was the best outcome that could have ever come from the movement in the first place).

But yeah, with a different name I think it could have gotten more traction.