I'll stipulate that I'm not always the most sophisticated fellow around -- I grew up in eastern Wisconsin and these days I spend most of my time traveling from my home in one benighted suburb to my job in another benighted suburb. Somehow I'd managed to get through the first 45 years of my life without ever hearing of the term "teabagging," which I've now learned refers to a sexual practice favored in certain quarters that I do not frequent. To my knowledge, teabagging doesn't happen on the turnip truck from which I fell.
So if teabagging means a sexual practice, why on earth would MSM members like Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, David Shuster and Andrew Sullivan refer to those who were exercising their right to free speech as "teabaggers?" Scott Johnson at Powerline has a theory:
There is not only something funny going on here, there is a story here. These supposed journalists and their networks (or publisher, in Sullivan's case) have rather seriously insulted the citizens who colorfully took to the streets to air respectable views in a most civil fashion.There's no doubt that there was an insult embedded in the messaging, but I think what's really at play here is how fundamentally unserious our media betters are. Sometimes I suspect that the MSMers are jealous of the adulation heaped upon Jon Stewart, the comedian who runs a fake newscast on Comedy Central, and the repeated use of the term "teabagging" gives them the chance to be as naughty as they think Stewart is. Never mind that Stewart is probably the biggest purveyor of conventional wisdom out there -- making fun of hicks is as daring as a Ole and Lena joke. It's the newsman as Bart Simpson, getting the bartender to ask for Anita Mantohug. I understand the impulse -- I once got away with letting fly an X-rated reference over my high school's P.A. system, an especially good trick when you go to a Catholic school. But you'd like to think that trained media professionals would be past that sort of thing. And I would also suggest that people who proffer such juvenile behavior really don't have standing to sneer at the provincials.
Of course, you can go too far the other direction, which brings us to the curious column that George Will let fly the other day. I'm not sure if Will lost money on Levi Strauss, but he came out with a ringing denunciation of those who wear blue jeans:
Denim is the infantile uniform of a nation in which entertainment frequently features childlike adults ("Seinfeld," "Two and a Half Men") and cartoons for adults ("King of the Hill"). Seventy-five percent of American "gamers" -- people who play video games -- are older than 18 and nevertheless are allowed to vote. In their undifferentiated dress, children and their childish parents become undifferentiated audiences for juvenilized movies (the six -- so far -- "Batman" adventures and "Indiana Jones and the Credit-Default Swaps," coming soon to a cineplex near you). Denim is the clerical vestment for the priesthood of all believers in democracy's catechism of leveling -- thou shalt not dress better than society's most slovenly. To do so would be to commit the sin of lookism -- of believing that appearance matters. That heresy leads to denying the universal appropriateness of everything, and then to the elitist assertion that there is good and bad taste.
You tell 'em, George! I'll get off your lawn, too.
This is such a cavalcade of nonsense that one hardly knows where to begin. Sometimes the best place to begin is with a world-class fisker like James Lileks, who looks at a few of Will's assertions thus:
We can gather much from this, aside from the fact that the tea was tepid when served that morning, which always puts one in a querulous humour. We can assume he hasn’t seen more than two seconds of “King of the Hill,” a very clever show that’s firmly on the side of the folk who share his instincts and understands their culture far better than Mr. Will does. (Hank Hill is a man haunted by Oughts of all sorts, constantly parsing the demands of modern life with the Oughts that arise from being a middle-aged Texan father who deals with propane. And propane accessories.) The self-contented sneer against animation suggests no disrespect for the thing itself, but rather the moving drawings aimed at adults. They should content themselves with the amusing engravings in Punch, which stay in one place and do not excite the blood.Indeed. That's how they did it in 1947, back when we prized individualism. And I'm guessing George would have more credibility if he didn't wear things like this in public. But I digress.
As for allowing gamers to vote - well, tart, puckish disapproval noted, and keenly felt. I admit that I have used my computer to construct large theme parks, defeat Jedi masters, secure nuclear material in rogue states, and slog through Hell itself. Imaginary pursuits all, and hardly befitting an adult. I should sit myself in a large stadium and watch men in striped suits stand around and spit while waiting for another man to hit a ball with a stick, and I should do this 100 times a year, and I should also issue rhapsodic encomiums to the timeless American nature of watching men stand around and sit an wait for another man to hit the ball with the aforementioned stick. This is what adults do. Unless they are doing it in a simulation on a computer, in case the franchise should be withdrawn. (The vote, not the major-league endorsement of the game.)
I should go the game in a suit, of course.
Why do people wear jeans? They are functional. They are comfortable. They are durable. I wear jeans almost every day. Am I making a statement? Not really. I just figure that linen trousers aren't a wise choice when I'm coaching 3rd base in a Little League game, to name just one thing I tend to do. I've sat in a cubicle in a suit and I've sat in a cubicle in jeans and a polo shirt and the only difference is that I'm more comfortable (and thus more productive) when I wear clothes that don't constrict my movements. I can only surmise that, having failed on his investment in Levi Strauss, George has decided to go long on One-Hour Martinizing.
One last thing: the people making teabagging jokes are wearing suits. Draw your own conclusions.