Most Notable Quotations of 2010 (UNCLASSIFIED)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 22 22:52:44 UTC 2010

My impression, which may be mistaken, is that "Teabagger" was introduced
quite deliberately as a mocking designation.  The TEA party waved teabags at
rallies. IIRC.

I suspect that if TEA party people began to use it, many did so without
knowledge of the then somewhat obscure sexual allusion.

The fact is that knowingly calling TEA party people "teabaggers," unless
that designation has been generally accepted within the TEA party itself, is
even more crudely obnoxious than talking about "the Democrat Party."

If I constantly refer to someone as a "bastard" or a "bitch," I can't weasel
out of it by saying, "Well, we all know they're not literally these

And it makes no difference if some people enjoy calling themselves
"bastards" or "bitches" (as we know they do). That's their business.


On Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 3:13 PM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Most Notable Quotations of 2010 (UNCLASSIFIED)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Although I disagree with your premise and the generalization that flows
> from it, I agree--or rather, resemble--your conclusion. I use the same
> term (teabaggers--I missed the post that you're quoting so I don't know
> whose wording that was) and I am dismissive of their
> "arguments"--largely because I haven't heard any of any value (including
> truth value other than 0) emanating from the entire group. In principle,
> Barney Frank blazed the trail on this one when he suggested that he
> could have more productive discussions with a dining room table.
> A more important question is why this thread has devolved into
> essentially a political discussion, not even a philosophical one? I'd
> like to retrieve at least some linguistic content from what's left.
> You're perfectly well aware that no one is using an "offensive sexual
> term" when they say "teabaggers"--the allusion to that term certainly
> gives a certain pleasure to the speakers, but these are separate
> glosses. When people refer to "teabaggers" in this context, no one is
> under illusion that they are referring to practitioners of a particular
> sexual act. They are using terminology that arose from initial use by
> the self-described "movement". This is quite different from calling
> someone an "asshole" (or "arsehole", or just "ass" or "arse") since the
> description is meant to represent the offensive graphic as much as it is
> meant to tag a particular sort of behavior (at least, in the speaker's
> opinion--and that's a part of the difference since being  a "teabagger"
> is not a matter of opinion, while being an "asshole" certainly is). The
> bottom line is, these are very different things. And I certainly can't
> bring myself to refer to something that is not a political party--or a
> bunch of celebratory, happy folks--as a "Party". That does not leave a
> whole lot of lexical wiggle room.
>     VS-)
> On 11/22/2010 12:23 PM, Mullins, Bill AMRDEC wrote:
> >> Teabaggers insist on the constitution when it comes to guns, and want to
> throw it all out when comes to religion, civil rights and anything else they
> disagree with. And so it goes.
> >>
> > Anyone who refers to those who believe differently than they do in a
> > political debate by offensive sexual terms is announcing up front that
> > they don't want to have discourse, but would rather immediately dismiss
> > the opponent (and their arguments).
>  ------------------------------------------------------------
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