Matt Taibbi's "inside" look at the Tea Party, just published in Rolling Stone, is entertaining, by all accounts. PZ Myers linked it on AlterNet, and I immediately started brawling with the people who loved it.
First page of article. I winced and then, just started banging my head against the wall:
Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn't a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — "Government's not the solution! Government's the problem!" — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.Oh ha ha ha! Ain't gimps funny? Ain't old people funny? And add FAT OLD GIMPS altogether in one whole sentence, and you have to hold onto your ribcage from laughing so hard.
"The scooters are because of Medicare," he whispers helpfully. "They have these commercials down here: 'You won't even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!' Practically everyone in Kentucky has one."
A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it.
After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives.
"Giant atrophied glutes?" "Sucking oxygen?"
Is this necessary?
Actually, this superior-sounding bullshit is the problem, as I tried (vainly) to explain to Taibbi's enthusiastic AlterNet fans.
I have heartily disliked what Alan Keyes and Thomas Sowell have said, but I don't resort to race-baiting over it. I have heartily disagreed with Andrew Sullivan, but I don't call him a faggot or jokey joke about HIV. Etc. Isn't there a way to disagree with these folks, even call attention to the obvious discrepancies in their logic, WITHOUT being an ill-behaved, ageist, ableist LOUT?
Well, hey, whaddaya know, YES THERE IS... I did it MYSELF in my piece on the Tea Partiers at the Town Hall meeting in Travelers Rest. I made note of the fact that many of these people were/are old, but I was not an asshole about it and did not find assholism necessary to make my point. Matt Taibbi and other college kidz, take heed.
This is why we are losing.
The condescension and prep-school arrogance with which a rich kid like Taibbi (son of Mike Taibbi, four-time-Emmy winning journalist for NBC) makes fun of disabled old people in a poor, ignorant, hardscrabble state like Kentucky... well, it just makes me nauseous. (NOTE to Taibbi: Coal mining usually leads to people sucking on oxygen, in case you didn't know... you might want to keep that in mind the next time you turn on your lights or fire up your fancy laptop: someone is sucking on oxygen just so you were able to do that cheaply.)
I mean, if those Kentuckians had gone to Concord Academy with Matt Taibbi? Maybe they'd know the stuff he knows. And maybe they'd have healthy glutes and not be sucking on oxygen. He knows that, right?
I guess it's a good article. Yall can let me know. I quit reading after the first page. I don't need to be insulted, and those people are of my class and background.
The fact that *I* am insulted, and I ACTUALLY AGREE WITH TAIBBI'S POLITICS REGARDING THE TEA PARTY?!? (I am significantly to the left of Taibbi, in all honesty.) What does this mean?
It means we're in trouble. Do you see that we are in trouble? Please SCALE BACK the classism and elitism, if you really want to SCALE BACK the Tea Party.
Or do you?
Does it just feel good to be funny and have everyone pat you on the back and tell you how clever you are, Matt Taibbi, as PZ Myers and all his friends do? (And could PZ Myers get elected as dog catcher?) Because if that is all it is? We don't need friends like these. Not at all. After all, Matt, your career will be fine, you went to Concord Academy, your daddy has 4 Emmies. You can afford to throw spitballs and be superior. The rest of us? We are rightly worried about our futures and our lives, if the Tea Party should win.
To Matt Taibbi, its about furthering his career and being lauded for his wit, but for US, it is life or death.
And here the preppie is, waving a fucking red flag in front of the proverbial bull.
(((recommences banging head on wall)))
EDIT OCT 1st: This reply to my comments over at AlterNet, was just too amazing not to cross-post here. And remember, these are the progressives talking:
And how do you know these people were disabled? NO. The scooters, chairs, and oxygen tanks usually aren't for "disabled" people. Go to Florida, NC, and other areas where Tea-Partiers have a strong hold, and see how many 50+ people go around on scooters simply because they ALLOWED THEIR MUSCLES TO ATROPHY, and a scooter helps them avoid exercising. (Same with the oxygen tank -- it's not only people with asthma and emphysema, its lazy people that get winded cuz they are so out of shape their heart and lungs can't keep up if they actually start moving around)No overt ageism, ableism or fat-hating there, huh? I replied:
Not because they are disabled -- but because they are winded, and lazy, and haven't exercised in years.
And it was more targeting "motorized scooters" than wheelchairs.
And now their lazy asses are sucking 50-70% of our nations medical expenses on avoidable chronic illnesses caused by our lazy-ass lifestyles and eating habits, that tea-partiers will defend to the last breath their right to have. (God forbid we legislate and regulate High fructose Corn Syrup, Trans-fats, or give tax breaks for people who exercise, etc...)
How do I know they are disabled? It's Kentucky, and they are likely coal miners who breathed too much coal dust... that's the reason for the oxygen, which you can't get without a prescription. And why don't you know that? It's easy to see what kind of crowd you hang with....
And that is exactly my point... thank you for making it for me so well.
On another note, it just kills me that some of the hardest working people on the planet are assumed to be lazy, instead of their bodies breaking down from overwork and coal mining... when your body breaks down, exercise is terribly painful. I assume everyone knows that too, but I suddenly get it. As Michael Harrington said in THE OTHER AMERICA (paraphrasing): they just don't see these people for who they really are, and how they hold everything together.--DD 10/1/10