Dumbest NPR Story Evah? [Dan Collins; UPDATED x2]
I know that that’s heady company, but what else can you say about a story that quotes Krugman as one of the “some people” who claim that the Tea Party movement is AstroTurf, then lists these 5 reasons that it “doesn’t make sense”?
But there are others who are merely puzzled by the connection between tea and protesting these days. Here, then, are five arguments against the Tax Day Tea Party:
1) The politics are wrongheaded. The irony is that the idea springs from the original tea party in Boston against Great Britain. It was not a protest against big government. It was a protest against England’s refusal to allow the United States to govern itself at all. Now that the U.S. has sovereignty and is able to govern itself, a tea party protest is pretzelish in its logic. “The people who were involved in the Boston Tea Party were protesting because they had no representation. These people have representation,” says Benjamin Woods Labaree, a retired historian in Amesbury, Mass., and author of The Boston Tea Party. The contemporary protest, he says, “is totally irrelevant. There is no connection.”
2) Tea is an affordable drink. In these economic times, when pennies are being pinched and thrift is cool again, tea is one of the cheapest drinks on the market, according to the Tea Association of the U.S.A. Overall, imported teas represented a $7 billion industry in 2008, up from $4.2 billion in 1997. Fancy teas are feeling the effect of the global downturn, but everyday, working-class teas â€“ which cost about 3 cents a serving â€” are rather impervious to bad times, says Joseph P. Simrany, president of the Tea Association. “Overall, we’re not seeing much of blip.” For years, the U.S. imported about 180 million pounds of tea a year. Last year that skyrocketed to 257 million pounds.
3) In the U.S., tea is nonpolitical. “We can’t get involved in politics,” Simrany says. “Tea is as neutral as Switzerland.”
4) Tea is a drink of serenity, not anger. Julee Rosanoff, one of the owners of the Perennial Tea Room in downtown Seattle, says, “Tea is a calming drink. When people sit down to have a cup of tea, they are not in a hurry. It’s relaxing and constructive for discussion.”
5) Tea is not really an American drink. Coffee is more associated with the American way of life, and any railing against American activities should involve java. If you have to protest, Rosanoff says, coffee is a better drink to toss overboard: “It’s a waste of good tea to throw it in the harbor.”
The Bailout Bills were pushed through Congress without the line-by-line oversight that Obama had claimed he would exert, to root out pork. The expansion of Federal powers over private enterprise are unprecedented, even in wartime. What are “working-class teas”? What does being in a hurry have to do with anything? Why is it more acceptable to throw coffee into a harbor than tea–considering that nobody’s throwing tea into harbors anyway? Who the fuck writes this crap for NPR, and who the fuck considers this in any way a legitimate analysis?
UPDATE: William Jacobson:
Fascism is not the exercise of free speech, even offensive free speech. Rather, it is the attempt to silence others through subversion and physical disruption. Think brown shirts in pre-war Germany, and anarchists at almost any world economic meeting. And that is what the Tea Party Crasher phenomenon is all about.
As detailed by Michelle Malkin and others, various groups (mostly from the left, but also from the right) plan to disrupt the Tea Parties by subterfuge. Pretending to be participants to disrupt. Making inflammatory accusations not to express an opinion, but to get the Tea Parties off course or to create a video-opportunity. Co-opting the Tea Parties for another purpose. Phony ambush “interviews” by people pretending to be journalists merely to elicit a reaction. Conduct on the streets similar to the trolls
on the internet, who create havoc for the purpose of creating havoc and disrupting the free speech of others.
When fascism comes to America, it will not be wrapped in the flag or carrying a cross. It will look like it always has looked: Ugly and intolerant.
UPDATE x2: Welcome Wolcott readers, both of you. One post inspired by Wolly that somehow wasn’t linked, you may find here. Yes, he says that he’s decided not to attend a Tea Party rally on the basis of direct experience of the weather, which perhaps means that he put down his ocicat long enough to venture onto the balcony. Surely, you’re aware that he’s a contributing editor to the magazine for which he is said to write, which means that split infinitives constitute “wry urbanity.”
Really, though, as with the news regarding prima ballerina Veronika Parts, this is all of a piece with Wolly’s metier, which amounts to, “I like to watch.” Suitably encouched, the hemorrhoids he suffers from many hours of sitting before his keypad turning out the demi-monde fashionable vacuity he is paid to commit do not inflict such pangs as otherwise they might: where, though corpulent, his status of Terpsichore of Twaddle and Queen of the Maenads is fortunately secure.
Strangely, but predictably, his “droll” invective is directed against someone who deems the bailouts fascistic; it’s not as though Fiat are headquartered in Turin, or that the de facto capital of American commerce has become Washington, DC, is it? I don’t recall his ever having objected to the maniacal spewings of Olbermann in similar terms, but I’m not enough of a fan to know whether or not he ever has. Wolly takes the trouble unflatteringly to compare the turnout for the Tea Parties to that drummed up for the immigration rallies some years ago, without pausing to consider several things. For one, the number of locations for those rallies was substantially smaller. For another, advocacy groups paid to bus people in by the thousands. For still another, some of the organization and advocacy was actually backed by Mexican social services unions, whose interference in Yanqui politics ought roundly to have been criticized by the US press, but wasn’t.*
At the time, I mentioned, and will mention again, that it is illegal for a Yanqui, or even a Guatemalteca, to participate in such a rally in Mexico. If you are a hapless (to use a term Wolly has applied to me) American student who has the temerity to join a march in Oaxaca, for example, you will probably find yourself arrested, deprived of your passport, and shipped back to the United States. All along the slender southern borders of Mexico, you will see sand-bag emplacements manned by Mexican military, with machine guns. Mexico apparently respects its own sovereignty.
Wolly considers some particular Fox News reporter to be a buffoon, and yet . . . he applauds the Minnesota court rulings in favor of . . . Stuart Smalley. That is, I suppose, what passes for wry urbanity at Vanity Fair, these days.
Finally, I don’t need tea to make the wallpaper (assuming I had it) move, for I am a student of Don Iago Madison’s Yanqui Way of Knowledge. What’s the problem with NPR’s “wry urbanity”? It’s not interesting, and it’s not amusing. It’s non sequitur masquerading as insight, rather like Wolly himself. Apart from Wolly, what is it that Wolly advocates?
For God’s sake, Wolly, get off your overstuffed arse and do something.
Children living in immigrant families are more likely to be poor than those whose parents were born in the U.S. [!] But these same children are far less likely to receive public benefits â€” even though most of them were born in the U.S. and are citizens. This has some people worried about the welfare of one of the nation’s fastest growing groups â€” the citizen children of immigrants.
Another Hamsher epic fail.Â My challenge to Hamsher: demonstrate one equivalent left-wing movement in the internet age that’s gone forward with less organized underwriting.Â Just one.