Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This just in -- Tea Party saboteurs unmasked

The Tea Party’s Tax Day protests are just around the corner on April 15. It may be a coincidence, but I’ve been reading a lot of wingnut posts advancing a conspiracy of major import. Some Tea Partiers contend that those protest signs that snarky progressives like to make fun of, those with misspelled words and terrible grammar, are actually designed and carried by snarky progressive saboteurs. Anyone else heard this?

Made me think. Why would a snarky progressive go out of his or her way to make signs and attend Tea Party rallies? Yes, there is the camaraderie of hanging out with a bunch of American patriots. And the stirring speeches – can’t forget those. You can sign petitions to nullify various nefarious government practices. You can get free copies of the Constitution. If it’s a nice day, you can get fresh air and a tan.

Then I received a copy of the following e-mail. Its origins are murky, but it smacks of authenticity. It made me rethink my entire belief system, or at least that part that covers tea bags, spelling and grammar.

The e-mail harkens back to those halcyon days of last April when Tea Partiers were first stirring the pot.

The e-mail:

Dear Fellow Conspirators:

Here’s an update on our effort to disrupt Tax Day 2009 protests planned by the Tea Party across the U.S.

We’ve had limited success on recruiting people for Operation Miss Spell. As of this writing, we were able to locate and recruit less than a dozen saboteurs for upcoming Tea Party rallies. The plan, of course, was brilliant in its simplicity. A bunch of snarky progressives were going to carry signs with misspelled words and bad grammar into the fray. An uproar would ensue. Lots of photos taken. Photos go viral. Tea Partiers would look bad. Ridicule would nip their grassroots revolution in the bud.

We ran into problems almost immediately. Several organizers (including yours truly) were veterans of sixties’ antiwar protests. We were ready to mix it up again, storm the ramparts, engage in street theatre. Problem was, I just had knee surgery and Jim’s allergies were acting up. Sunshine was all for donning her old hippie dresses and carrying signs, but she was invited to a chakra-cleansing retreat in Marin County so had to bow out.

We thought we’d be able to find some fellow travelers, old hippies who had taken one too many bad trips. We’d just hand them misspelled signs and point them in the right direction. They’d be thrilled to march again. We felt that they would fit right in with the clueless multitudes. But then we told them to get haircuts or shaved heads to fit in with the crewcut and balding crowd. They balked. “Gotta let my freak flag fly, man.” We dropped that idea.

We turned to the younger progressive crowd. The bloggers were no help, as they were too busy blogging their outrage to actually go out into the sunshine and feign outrage. One prog-blogger even said what we had expected all along – “I only go out at night – and that’s to the corner coffee shop with free wireless so I can blog some more.”

We tried some of the union members. Teachers’ union members (especially English teachers) said they wouldn’t be caught dead with a sign that spelled "socialism" as "socilism" and "liar" as "lier." We told them it was for a good cause, but they threatened to send us to the principal’s office. History teachers didn't like the idea of comparing an elected U.S. president with Hitler or Stalin. Teamsters wanted to get paid overtime – who were we to argue? Those in the service unions were overwhelmingly ethnic, which ruled them out immediately. We even tried actors and actresses, figuring they’d like to engage in a little street theatre. But they started to rewrite the plan. An avant-garde troupe from Chicago wanted to dress in drag and hold hands while carrying signs. We told them it would defeat the entire purpose. Nobody would believe they were Tea Partiers. And they might get their asses beat. Actors – always trying to rewrite the script.

This brought us to the plan’s major problem. Tea Partiers are white and old. Progressives tend to be non-white and young. Sure, there are a few of us aging white hippies in the mix. But not nearly enough to infiltrate all the Tea Party shindigs.

We’re recommending that Operation Miss Spell be abandoned. It’s turned out to be a gigantic hassle. We have some other ideas, such as hiding all dictionaries and disabling computer Spell Check programs with our "Brown Acid" virus. The committee will continue working on this.


joanne said...

Mike, that was awesome! Thanks for the laugh.

Michael Shay said...

I do have a fine time writing about those Tea Party folk. But this is about more than the Tea Party.