Tea Bagging The Magic Negroes

In Rick’s piece last night about Public Broadcasting and the term “tea-baggers” for the Tea Party protesters, a contender for “Wizbang Troll In Residence” Steve Green (not to be confused with the 160-proof Stephen Green) repeated the oft-asserted notion that the Tea Party movement can be fairly called “teabaggers” because one participant once used the term in the vulgar sense — and therefore it’s fair to label the entire movement by the term.

(Note to the uninitiated: one definition of “teabagging” is placing one’s scrotum into someone else’s mouth in an action similar to dipping a teabag into a cup of boiling water.)

Now, let’s look at how this all started. And not surprisingly, a sexual innuendo was never part of the picture.

It began with people deciding to summon the spirit of the original American revolutionaries, with one of their biggest demonstrations against England. A hike in the tea tax led to some protesters storming ships in Boston Harbor and throwing the tea into the water in an action they called the Boston Tea Party. Someone got the bright idea of reminding the lawmakers in DC about that by sending them tea bags (you know, actual little bags containing actual tea — not scrota) to indicate the voters’ displeasure. That metaphor struck home for a lot of people, and they started referring to the public gatherings as “tea parties” — until one wit at one of these noted the similarity to the vulgarism and started talking about “teabagging” Congress.

At that point, the left apparently went into orgasmic spasms. Now they had the tool they needed to diminish the Tea Party movement, and — even better — it came from one of the Tea Partiers themselves! If any of those Teabaggers complain, then the left can just point at the guy who said it first and say “your guy said it; we’re just repeating what he said!”

OK, then. If that’s the line of argument they want to use, let’s run with it.

Rush Limbaugh has been called a racist and worse (well, not really — “racist” is the “n-word” or “f-bomb” of the left — there’s NOTHING worse than being a RAAAAACIST! to the left) for his referring to President Obama as “the Magic Negro.”

But Limbaugh wasn’t the first to use that term for Obama. No, it was first used by an Obama supporter.

So, by the Tea Party opposition’s logic, it’s perfectly legitimate to take the term “Magic Negro” and apply it to President Obama. After all, it was first used by an Obama supporter, with full understanding of what the term meant, and as a form of praise for then-Senator Obama.

Personally, I won’t use it. I think that Mr. Ehrenstein’s column was insightful and raises some interesting points about why so many people supported Obama (and are having “buyer’s remorse” now), but they’ve been lost in the foofaraw over “ZOMG! Someone called Obama a negro!”

No, I’ve long subscribed to the philosophy that — barring exceptional circumstances — one should refer to a group by the term they’ve chosen for themselves, and not one assigned by their detractors. When discussing abortion, I use the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” not “anti-choice” and “pro-abortion.” It’s simple courtesy.

So that’s why I never bothered with the “Barack The Magic Negro” silliness. And that’s why I don’t have much respect for those who toss around the “teabaggers” term as a form of contempt.

So, Steve Green — are you willing to do the same? To show just a modicum of respect and decorum?

I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you. Your words were muffled by that magic Negro’s scrotum in your mouth.

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Scott Brown is running for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts