April 15 Tax Protesters: Don’t Call Us ’Tea Baggers’!
It all began on CNBC, where a newsman in Chicago proposed an updated version of the Boston Tea Party to protest the Obama Adminstration’s bailouts and stimulus plan. "No taxation without representation" was the rallying cry of the original protesters, who dressed as Native Americans and threw British tea overboard in Boston Harbor.
The "tea party" concept spread through the Internet and right-wing talk shows such as Sean Hannity and Fox News, which has become a sort-of sponsor of these rallies. On April 15, thousands are expected to protest in cities across the country.
Only now, the protesters and their organizers are fighting a battle on two fronts: not only against what they see as a government gone wild with giveaways; but ridicule for the double meaning of "tea bagging."
The cheeky Urban Dictionary has expanded its definition of "tea bagger" from "a man that dips his scrotum and testicles into the mouth of another person" to include "a conservative activist who is so ignorant that they protest against tax cuts (that benefit them) by throwing tea into a river."
As any gay man who has ventured into some of our more louche nightspots can testify, the practice is venerated among go-go boys dancing on top of bars and boxes who will dip their family jewels into the welcoming mouth of a generous tipper. (It should be noted that the Urban Dictionary started its definition originally with a male-female scenario, so, as in so many cases of late, there is sexual parity here.)
Proving that she’s as hip to the gay underworld as she is to politics (or lesbian life), Rachel Maddow covered this burning topic on her MSNBC program. As seen here, she’s using all of her journalistic skills to keep from cracking up.
It’s no laughing matter to the protesters or their supporters, however. In their eyes, equating what they’re doing with a sleazy gay sexual practice is akin to a swastika-bedecked bar mitzvah celebration.
The Business & Media Institute, which bills itself as "advancing the culture of free enterprise in America," decries the association. Jeff Poor cites another MSNBC commenter, David Shuster, filling in for Keith Olbermann on April 13.