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August 2, 2010 10:24 PM   Subscribe

Where do Tea Party Patriots go for vacation? Colonial Williamsburg. posted by LarryC (86 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
They must be protesting George Washington for putting down the Whiskey Rebellion. Big Government trying to destroy the distillation industry with taxes!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:28 PM on August 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sometimes I love WaPo, this is one of those times.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:32 PM on August 2, 2010


I've been to Colonial Williamsburg several times and adored it. I'd love to see a conversation between the professional reenactors, who have a post-graduate grasp of pre-revolutionary politics, and this guy.

By the way, if you're ever there visit Chowning's Tavern, order a big pewter mug of lager, and this. Heaven.
posted by clarknova at 10:36 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Called this to mind.

But seriously, is it too much to hope that (as mentioned in the WaPo article) they learn a little bit about the fact that history is complex and nuanced?

I wonder if anyone's going to mention to them that the original Tea Party was a protest against deregulation.
posted by Riki tiki at 10:36 PM on August 2, 2010 [5 favorites]


the professional reenactors, who have a post-graduate grasp of pre-revolutionary politics

True that. A half-dozen years ago I got to teach a college course for teachers about the life of Thomas Jefferson, a course that ended with a trip to Colonial Williamsburg. We got to spend an afternoon with "Thomas Jefferson," who had been Jefferson for about 15 years. The teachers asked him different questions and his answers were always spot-on. In fact a lot of times he would answer with long passages from Jefferson's writings, quoting relevant paragraphs at a time without ever letting on that he was quoting.

When we got home I checked some of his answers against Jefferson's writings and it was uncanny how good the guy was.
posted by LarryC at 10:44 PM on August 2, 2010 [20 favorites]


I wonder if anyone's going to mention to them that the original Tea Party was a protest against deregulation.

Someone might, but it will depend on who they talk to. Like you saw in that WP clip, the actors will give them a cross section of the gentry, from revolutionaries to moderates to royalists. I'm thinking a good number of teetotalers won't really get that opinions and loyalties were as deeply divided then as they are now.

We live in interesting times.
posted by clarknova at 10:44 PM on August 2, 2010


Campbell's hope is that such visitors come away having learned something about the nuance and messiness of history -- bless his heart. But the next part was pretty interesting:
Sometimes, the activists appear surprised when the Founding Fathers don't always provide the "give 'em hell" response they seem to be looking for.

When a tourist asked George Washington a question about what should be done to those colonists who remain loyal to the tyrannical British king, Washington interjected: "I hope that we're all loyal, sir" -- a reminder that Washington, far from being an early agitator against the throne, was among those who sought to avoid revolution until the very end.

When another audience member asked the general to reflect on the role of prayer and religion in politics, he said: "Prayers, sir, are a man's private concern. They are not a matter of public interest. And nor should they be. There is nothing so personal as a man's relationship with his creator."

And when another asked whether the Boston Tea Party had helped rally the patriots, Washington disagreed with force: The tea party "should never have occurred," he said. "It's hurt our cause, sir."
I hope the people who rally around the Founding Fathers take time to read the letters between various men, not just reiterate seemingly powerful lines out of context. Take Jefferson's letter to James Madison Fontainebleau, in which Jefferson wrote:
Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on.
That's right, he's speaking against property rights.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:46 PM on August 2, 2010 [38 favorites]


And I'll just leave this here. It's NSFW, if your work isn't down with Washington having like, 30 goddamned dicks, and obscenities.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:51 PM on August 2, 2010 [15 favorites]


Since we're doing that I'll just leave this right next to it.
posted by clarknova at 11:08 PM on August 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Damn hipsters are dressing as colonial blacksmiths now?
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:09 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


We got to spend an afternoon with "Thomas Jefferson," who had been Jefferson for about 15 years. The teachers asked him different questions and his answers were always spot-on. In fact a lot of times he would answer with long passages from Jefferson's writings, quoting relevant paragraphs at a time without ever letting on that he was quoting.

When we got home I checked some of his answers against Jefferson's writings and it was uncanny how good the guy was.


Could have been the same guy I saw around 1997...he was really good. He was particularly good at fielding carelessly phrased 20th-century oriented questions. Out of all the re-enactors, the Jefferson guy stood far above the rest. My dad ran into him in line at the coffee shop the morning we left.
posted by anazgnos at 11:41 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The 1773 Tea Act reduced bureaucracy and regulation of the tea trade, cut out customs taxes and removed international trade barriers, and provided cheaper, better quality tea in greater quantities than ever before to the American colonists. Ben Franklin was all for it.
posted by Bwithh at 11:42 PM on August 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aww come on now. My parents took us to Colonial Williamsburg when we were maybe 7 and 8 and we thought it was the best. We had also been to Disney the year before, which we thought was fun, but at Disney you couldn't get mob caps and matching apron pinafores. Williamsburg was way cooler.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:51 PM on August 2, 2010


Awesome, I try to always get a day in at Williamsburg when near DC. Reenactors have a tricky task.
posted by mwhybark at 11:57 PM on August 2, 2010


It is TOTALLY the wrong tea party! There are others of us here, who don't tea party. We like that thought that the individual is paramount, as per Rousseau, Jefferson and, in a weird way, Victor Hugo. And not Marx. But some Tolstoy? Totally. (This might not be the place for it, but I'm really awfully tired of the Tea Party jokes to describe anything that this site does not agree with.)
posted by deep thought sunstar at 12:06 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thomas Jefferson was an eloquent ass whose vile opinions are too often ignored. He was a racist in the purest sense of the word - which makes him the perfect role model for the Tea Bag Party.

Comparing Black and White

"I have supposed the black man in his present state might not be [equal to the white man]; but it would be hazardous to affirm that equally cultivated for a few generations, he would not become so." --Thomas Jefferson to Chastellux, 1785. ME 5:6, Papers 8:186

"The improvement of the blacks in body and mind, in the first instance of their mixture with the whites, has been observed by every one, and proves that their inferiority is not the effect merely of their condition of life." Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIV, 1782. ME 2:197

"Nobody wishes more than I do to see... proofs [exhibited] that nature has given to our black brethren talents equal to those of the other colors of men, and that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence both in Africa and America. I can add with truth that nobody wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced for raising the condition both of their body and mind to what it ought to be as fast as the imbecility of their present existence, and other circumstances which cannot be neglected, will admit." --Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Banneker, 1791. ME 8:241

"This unfortunate difference of color, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obstacle to the emancipation of these people." --Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIV, 1782. ME 2:201

"An opinion is hazarded by some, but proved by none, that moral urgencies are not sufficient to induce [the man of color] to labor; that nothing can do this but physical coercion... It would be a solecism to suppose a race of animals created, without sufficient foresight and energy to preserve their own existence. It is disproved, too, by the fact that they exist, and have existed through all the ages of history." --Thomas Jefferson to Frances Wright, 1825. ME 16:120


That's right, he's speaking for property rights: black people as property and the right of whites to own them.
posted by three blind mice at 12:30 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


three blind mice, I'm not getting from those Jefferson quotes that he's advocating slavery. Is there a larger context for these quotes? Are they taken from letters or public speeches?
posted by anotherkate at 1:24 AM on August 3, 2010


three blind mice: Thomas Jefferson was an eloquent ass whose vile opinions are too often ignored. He was a racist in the purest sense of the word - which makes him the perfect role model for the Tea Bag Party.

Racists today are racists in spite of a century and a half of freedom of blacks in America, which yields precisely the evidence that Jefferson said he wished for in your quote. Jefferson was a racist in a time when the previous centuries yielded no such evidence, and Jefferson didn't understand why, but we do today, with our modern understanding of scientific evidence, and our understanding of the contributions of nature and nurture to the capacities of people.

To imply that Jefferson, who lived centuries ago, is in the same moral category as modern racists is the deepest sophistry. Circumstances matter.

But this is a derail - the article talks about the "tea party," but you're talking about racists. Although tea party members might tend to be racist, the groups are not the same.

/derail
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:29 AM on August 3, 2010 [19 favorites]


"Do not mistake me. I am not advocating slavery. I am not justifying the wrongs we have committed on a foreign people... On the contrary, there is nothing I would not sacrifice to a practicable plan of abolishing every vestige of this moral and political depravity."

Three Blind Mice, I know it would be easier if all the "Original Americans" thought about black people as "animals," but unfortunately it's not simple like that. It's also not like the conservatives say "Well, America was the first country to get rid of slavery, so there!" The truth (as I've heard it these days) is somewhere along the lines of "Western culture got rid of it [slavery] then America finally followed." Point is, what Jefferson was concerned about was not that he wouldn't have any slaves to work his plantation, but that those freed slaves wouldn't have the skills to go and compete, suddenly, with the rest of the world. I mean, would you?
posted by deep thought sunstar at 1:36 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


What am I missing here, tbm? Only one of those quotes clearly indicates that Jefferson thought blacks were racially inferior (the first "Notes on Virginia" quote). Granted that none of them is politely phrased by modern standards ("cultivated"? ugh.), but other than that one they all advance the idea that black people can and/or should be equal to whites.

It's also telling to read the quotes in chronological order. The two quotes from 1782 are the most regressive. By 1785 Jefferson is acknowledging that there is a path not just to emancipation but to equality. 1791 and he's saying a system could be devised to educate black people to bring them up to equal status with whites, departing from the idea that it's a genetic flaw that needs to be corrected with breeding. And in 1825 he's saying that it's a fallacy to assume black people cannot be motivated to labor except when forced.... the rest of that letter (link) expresses optimism about "the experiment[s] now in progress in St. Domingo, those of Sierra Leone and Cape Mesurado" as possible examples for industrious black societies.

Jefferson certainly committed his share of racial sins, but your quotes seem like singularly terrible examples if you're trying to make that point.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:38 AM on August 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


"One man, wearing a red, white and blue golf shirt emblazoned with the American flag and the text of the Declaration of Independence [...]"

So it's not the Taste Party, then.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:38 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Beyond the racial sins, Jefferson and his liberal ilk also wanted the same rights for all of the populace. Shocking, eh?
posted by deep thought sunstar at 3:06 AM on August 3, 2010


The ginger cakes/cookies are to die for as well. I live fairly nearby, and every time I've gone, I've made a beeline for the nearest ginger cake establishment. One must have priorities.
posted by cupcakeninja at 3:34 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Philosopher Dirtbike: To imply that Jefferson, who lived centuries ago, is in the same moral category as modern racists is the deepest sophistry. Circumstances matter.

Maybe I was being too oblique. Jefferson is held in mythical esteem by Tea Baggers because Jefferson said some things that they - and I and many other people - deeply admire.

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."

Jefferson had many commendable thoughts and he was a gifted, eloquent writer to boot.

But he also said a lot of stupid stuff. He was also a racist - he believed white men superior to black men and this inherent superiority gave white the right to lord it over dark. That definition defines a racist today.

In Jefferson's time, racism was manifested through slavery, but the idea that slavery was wrong and immoral was hardly unknown to Jefferson who despite this helped framed a Constitution that enabled it.

So he was not really the Enlightened man he held to be and all of his talk about Liberty and Limited Government rings flat when you consider his views of blacks.
posted by three blind mice at 3:56 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


But he also said a lot of stupid stuff.

Well, sure, for writing >200 years ago and not having the benefit of all the fancy schooling that you've had. I see you've done a lot with it.

I'll quote your own link one more time:


"Do not mistake me. I am not advocating slavery. I am not justifying the wrongs we have committed on a foreign people... On the contrary, there is nothing I would not sacrifice to a practicable plan of abolishing every vestige of this moral and political depravity

If that's not stupid, I don't know what is.

Tea Baggers didn't quote this - you did, three blind mice. and can we PLEASE stop using the name "teabaggers" for ANYONE who doesn't agree with you!? I beg of this site......please?
posted by deep thought sunstar at 4:44 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


What did Jefferson think about autistic transgendered cyborgs?
posted by box at 4:44 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


And when another asked whether the Boston Tea Party had helped rally the patriots, Washington disagreed with force: The tea party "should never have occurred," he said. "It's hurt our cause, sir."

Heh. I wonder how long it's going to take before some of the more...enthusiastic...Tea Partiers start reacting against this insidious and obvious liberal re-writing of history, and shouting-down the actors in the streets.

Very interesting article. My cousin's family take annual pilgrimages to CW (and one of their kids actually was accepted as a cast member.) I'll have to ask her about this influx of Tea Partiers.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:48 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


and can we PLEASE stop using the name "teabaggers" for ANYONE who doesn't agree with you!? I beg of this site......please?

The "Tea Party Movement" doesn't particularly deserve respect, or its false purported connection with the American revolution, and the "teabagger" term is a good capsule way of showing that. Why show respect to those who are trying to shout down political discussion and lie constantly?
posted by graymouser at 4:58 AM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is so, SO true -- my husband and I went to Colonial Williamsburg a few months ago and it was pretty much us and homeschool families with large numbers of children. I was baffled until my husband explained to me that they wanted to come visit the cradle of democracy (which I was pretty sure was in Athens? My husband had thought so, too, but I guess we were wrong! Or maybe the cradle of liberty which I think is in Pennsylvania although I'm less sure of that).

I will say that Colonial Williamsburg was totally totally awesome and everyone should really go, although Mr. Pterodactyl continues to make fun of me because I asked so many technical questions of pretty much every craftsman we visited (What's the first thing you learn when you want to become a cooper? Would a cooper make his or her own tools or buy them from another artisan in town? Or would they come from England? Could women be coopers? How many steps are there in making a barrel? How many different size barrels do you make? How long does it take to make an average-sized barrel? How long would one be an apprentice? Does the cooper have a reputation as being a particularly skilled or unskilled craft? Do you make one barrel at a time or do you work on multiple projects at once? Who uses most of your barrels?), and I asked at least as many questions of the blacksmith, the furniture-maker, the wheelwright, the apothecary, the weaver and dyer, the wigmaker, the courthouse guy, the milliner, the jailhouse guy and the basket maker. They were all amazingly, unbelievably knowledgeable, it was really impressive.

It was on that same trip that this turkey story happened. I really know very little about livestock.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:02 AM on August 3, 2010 [14 favorites]


The "Tea Party Movement" doesn't particularly deserve respect, or its false purported connection with the American revolution, and the "teabagger" term is a good capsule way of showing that. Why show respect to those who are trying to shout down political discussion and lie constantly?

Right. Which is why it shouldn't be applied indiscriminately on this site.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 5:10 AM on August 3, 2010


In Jefferson's time, racism was manifested through slavery, but the idea that slavery was wrong and immoral was hardly unknown to Jefferson who despite this helped framed a Constitution that enabled it.

Jefferson was in France when the Constitution was written; he didn't really have much, if anything, to do with it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:17 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


and can we PLEASE stop using the name "teabaggers" for ANYONE who doesn't agree with you!? I beg of this site......please?

Umm... "we" didn't name them "teabaggers". They chose that name for themselves. As a progressive I support the rights of all people to self-identification. I also disagree that the term is used indiscriminately on Metafilter - in my experience it is applied, aptly, to members of the Tea Party Movement.
posted by muddgirl at 5:21 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Friends live in Williamsburg, and I spent a couple weeks with them in '03. CW is an amazing experience. One of the things I most enjoyed during my visit was riding my bike from their house down to the CW district. It's actually quite brilliant -- CW is part of the town (you might miss this if you just followed the signs and parked at the visitor's centre). There's no fence or real segregation between CW and "real" Williamsburg, so as you pass between one street and the next you jump back in time about 200 years. (There are barriers to keep cars out, but that's it.)

It's perhaps the least self-conscious and simultaneously most effective re-enactment scenario I've ever seen. Absolutely brilliant. And it doesn't cost anything, although you will buy ginger cakes and ale.

Also worth seeing: the CW visitor's centre has a theatre where documentaries are screened; the one I saw was a film of a re-enactor fabricating an era-accurate rifle, on site, with original tools and tooling. Amazing.

And if you have time you must walk over the College of William and Mary which has absolutely stunning era architecture. And a drop-dead gorgeous pipe organ.

Okay, I'll stop. CW is worth it; stay for a couple days and wallow!
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:27 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Umm... "we" didn't name them "teabaggers". They chose that name for themselves.

Wikipedia seems to disagree - see this Salon article (linked from WP) which says "Truth be told, though, for the most part conservatives haven't actually been using the words in such a way as to lend themselves to double entendre. With one or two exceptions, almost all of it has actually been coming from the left" (then gives citations).

Not that I like them, but it doesn't seem as though they chose that name.
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:34 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Umm... "we" didn't name them "teabaggers".

Ummm. Yes, the liberals did. If you "support the rights of all people to self-identification," then stop calling them a name that has a sexual connotation, which they did not choose, and call them "conservatives." It still means you disagree with them, and we get that. What I was asking is that we could maybe be tasteful about our disagreements.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 5:35 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heh - I'm in Colonial Williamsburg right now. There's free public wifi throughout the whole place. Haven't spotted any teabaggers yet though. Still, I'll keep an eye out, and I'll have some boiling water handy - mmm, tea.
posted by kcds at 5:40 AM on August 3, 2010


I worked in Colonial Williamsburg for a brief while, wearing the period costume and the whole bit, serving as a tradesman. For a few months, I was an honest-to-Jeebus ink-stained wretch in the print shop. The lengths CW goes to for accuracy are amazing. The master printer there knew everything about everything relating to colonial-era printing. If you go to CW, go to the print shop. A fascinating trade.

Plus, if you're lucky, you can go there right after they grease the printing press's rails. They do it with beef tallow, so the room smells like french fries or pot roast for a little bit.

For those of you you wondered: since CW is set roughly around 1770 or so, the period costumes are not cotton. The cotton gin wouldn't be invented for twenty-some-odd years. The outfits, to be period-accurate, are usually linen. In my experience, thick linen. Now recall that Williamsburg is a subtropical swamp. Oh man, the sweating.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 5:56 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


They got the name Teabaggers thru their own inadvertent use of the phrase while being ignorant of it's popular connotation. We continue to use it because it is reflective of their general outlook, yelling things while being ignorant to their actual meanings or causes.

Also I need to go to Colonial Williamsburg, it sound like a great time.
posted by MrBobaFett at 6:07 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't seem to remember it like that, deep thought sunstar. I seem to recall there a number of self-identifying teabaggers at first. I mean, I don't think liberals painted this sign or made this button. As far as I know, it's factually incorrect to say liberals made up the "teabagger" label. If anyone has some links that show otherwise, I'd love to see them.

Did critics of the Tea Party run with the term? Oh hells yes. But they didn't create it.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:08 AM on August 3, 2010


I've always been struck by the craftsmanship at Colonial Williamsburg. They build the most amazing stuff with period tools. Even the little ramshackle shacks in the working plantation are amazing, when you watch them hew the boards they're made of. Last time I was there, they had built a harpsichord. A fucking harpsichord. It was gorgeous.

We were there in spring, and it was ungodly hot even then, so I can't imagine what it's like making boards all day in the sun, or working in the blacksmith's shop, in the summer. They did mention, though, that the town was set up for maximum airflow, in particular through the blacksmith's shop, which was interesting.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:14 AM on August 3, 2010


Is Colonial Williamsburg a good place to shop for 18th-century garb?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:28 AM on August 3, 2010


Someday I'll know better than to even click on a link that says "Tea Party." Someday. In the meantime, my blood pressure will continue to suffer.
posted by honeydew at 6:34 AM on August 3, 2010


Oh boy oh boy! It always warms the cockles of my heart to see a museum/public history thread pop up here.

I've worked in several historical museums. These stories are particularly interesting because the whole Tea Party phenomenon is so topical and so nutty, but one of the most fascinating and powerful things about working at a historical site is witnessing daily this very confrontation between the public imagination of the past, often based on shallow education or wilful ignorance, and the indusputable facts of the past. History education in this country is a shambles - it's weak on detail, complexity, and nuance and very selective in its presentation of fact. It's entertaining watching people in the Tea Party, and watching the Becks and Limbaughs, reach into the past and grope around fuzzily for something - anything - to pull the mantle of historical legitimacy over their lamebrained causes.

This is beautifully put:
"If people . . . can recognize that subjects such as war and taxation, religion and race, were really at the heart of the situation in the 18th century, and there is some connection between what was going on then and what's going on now, that's all to the good," said Colin Campbell, president and chairman of Colonial Williamsburg. "What happened in the 18th century here required engagement, and what's required to preserve democracy in the 21st century is engagement. That is really our message."
...but I'll bet the lunch-table conversations among the historical interpreters are where you hear the real goods. I'm headed to a history museum conference in September, and will hopefully connect there with a friend who oversees the African-American interpretation there. Can't wait to hear her perspective on this summer's special visitors.
posted by Miko at 6:45 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Tea Partiers are to early American history what fundamentalist Christians are to the teachings of Christ.
posted by cottonswab at 6:45 AM on August 3, 2010 [13 favorites]


There's no fence or real segregation between CW and "real" Williamsburg

Sorry to nitpick, but there is no "real" Williamsburg. It was demolished in the 1930s to make way for CW (oh, you thought it was real?). Thanks to the historic village, Williamsburg was robbed of an actual downtown. Although I'll agree that CW and the accompanying high-end shops are very nice, it's not a suitable downtown for the actual residents of Williamsburg. Following the restoration of CW and post-WWII economic recovery, Williamsburg followed a decidedly-20th-century planning model, and most of what got built between 1950 and 2000 is ugly, traffic-clogged sprawl. It's an ironic contrast to CW's faux-historic, idyllic main street.

And if you have time you must walk over the College of William and Mary which has absolutely stunning era architecture. And a drop-dead gorgeous pipe organ.

The Wren Building, Brafferton, and Presidents House are the only 3 buildings on the campus that have any historic significance (ie. were built before the 30s). However, the rest of the campus, though convincing and gorgous, is younger than my Grandmother.

I also occasionally found it amusing that CW keeps its actors on a slightly longer leash than Disney does. Although you'll never find one out of character while in CW, occasionally, you'll see them around town, pumping gas in colonial garb.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this... I just find it pertinent that most tourists who visit Williamsburg have a rather misguided view of the place as a modern city, and a lack of context regarding CW's "restoration." It's admirable that Williamsburg strives to maintain the highest amount of historic realism as possible -- however, I've always felt that CW could do more to provide addtional post-colinial historic context to its exhibits.
posted by schmod at 7:00 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is there a reason why calling someone a "teabagger" is any less homophobic than calling someone a cocksucker?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:13 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


When another audience member asked the general to reflect on the role of prayer and religion in politics, he said: "Prayers, sir, are a man's private concern. They are not a matter of public interest. And nor should they be. There is nothing so personal as a man's relationship with his creator."

So what exactly was he getting at here then:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; ... And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions...
Seems pretty much like making prayer a matter of public interest.
posted by Jahaza at 7:19 AM on August 3, 2010




[few comments removed - folks, if people can't tell if you're joking or not, you may need to just leave the jokes out of here please.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:25 AM on August 3, 2010


Is there a reason why calling someone a "teabagger" is any less homophobic than calling someone a cocksucker?

I don't get it. Do you mean that if we call a woman a teabagger it's homophobic because we assume she has male sexual partners?
posted by hydrophonic at 7:27 AM on August 3, 2010


I don't get it. Do you mean that if we call a woman a teabagger it's homophobic because we assume she has male sexual partners?

No, the issue is when a pejorative comes from "you are the kind of person who performs a particular sex act." I assume in most cases it comes from homophobia, but that's not to say it can't be sexist too.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:39 AM on August 3, 2010


I call them teabaggers because I reject their claim to the Boston Tea Party. First, the Boston Tea Party is an American historical event with resonance for all Americans. It should not be appropriated for use as a cheap partisan rhetorical tool. Second, their actions simply don't resemble the Boston Tea Party. Americans were outraged by the concept of unfair taxes on them by a government which did not offer them any representation in government. As I alluded to above, the Tea Party more closely resembles the Whiskey Rebellion, fighting against a tax they don't like passed by an elected representative government.

Similarly, I have extreme distaste for their appropriation of the Gadsden Flag for partisan purposes, the symbol of the snake originally being a call to American unity.

Oh, and since the movement contains a large number of social conservative homophobes, I don't mind using a double entendre to refer to them.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:48 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


We were there in spring, and it was ungodly hot even then, so I can't imagine what it's like making boards all day in the sun, or working in the blacksmith's shop, in the summer.

Here's the thing, though - in the Colonial era, people didn't work robotically at the same pace doing the same task from 9 to 5 daily regardless of the weather. That's really a result of the cultural changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution and, now, the demands of tourism.

Brickmakers and coopers and cabinetmakers and smiths had to work physically hard in the heat and in all conditions, for sure - I don't minimize that - but people also had very smart ways to deal with the climate. They usually woke early and began work very early in the day in summer, to take advantage of the morning cool. The "dinner hour" came around eleven and lasted easily until one-thirty or two, allowing a long rest and a chance to sit in the shade of a house or under a tree and refuel, even nap. Back to work in the heat of afternoon, but a smart worker will do their best to save cooler, less demanding tasks for the afternoon hours. And if you've ever worked a physical job, you know that a good foreman will make sure everyone slows their pace in response to oppressive heat and takes a minute to cool off frequently. It was no different in the past.

These habits were learned the hard way. This great article discusses the grudging adaptations of English colonists - who believed they were physically not well suited for working and living in hot climates - as they learned how to adjust their behaviors and deal with the new range of physical challenges brought about by colonization: things like bathing daily (learned from the Indians), drinking cooling beverages like switchel, cider, and mint tea, eating lighter food, and designing and situating houses for better ventilation.

So I always feel we're giving a bit of a wrong impression in historical museums, because while we perform the same tasks that people did at certain times in the past, usually no attempt is made to replicate the true rhythm of an actual historical person's day in response to season, climate, and economy. We have to make pie at 2:30 and we have to pound iron at noon, because that's what it says on the schedule, and the people want to see it, so we do.
posted by Miko at 7:53 AM on August 3, 2010 [21 favorites]


Calling Tea Party types 'conservatives,' it seems to me, does a disservice to your Barry Goldwaters and William F. Buckleys.
posted by box at 7:56 AM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's an ironic contrast to CW's faux-historic, idyllic main street.

I see your point and yeah, it's good for people to know that CW is a reconstruction. But also, if there had been no CW established at all, there's no guarantee that Williamsburg would have retained or developed a great residential downtown. Plenty of cities lost their urban infrastructure during the urban renewal era and never got it back, not even as a tourism district. Had none of the history tourism and concomitant redevelopment happened, Williamsburg would not likely have developed as the affluent suburban region it is, but gone more in a underinvested-in Southern small city, Baltimorean direction.
posted by Miko at 7:57 AM on August 3, 2010


I think 'teabagger' is appropriate because, in the interest of protest, a group actually purchased a large quantity of tea as a symbol. The tea they purchased was in the form of teabags.

Now, I know that it's a symbol, but if there's anything that's a better symbol of a lack of historical understanding and projecting modern values on revolutionary attitudes, it's people thinking that buying prepackaged tea in an easy-to-use bag doesn't demonstrate some sort of fundamental disconnect. Seriously people, you couldn't track down some independently sourced looseleaf tea from a small business in order to make your point? Buying prepackaged goods from a large corporation in order to protest supporting large government is.... not the message.
posted by mikeh at 8:07 AM on August 3, 2010


It's an ironic contrast to CW's faux-historic, idyllic main street.

I see your point and yeah, it's good for people to know that CW is a reconstruction.


I'd also like to add that it's not all "faux"; 88 of the historic area buildings are original from the time period. Some of them had to have their modern additions removed during the "Reconstruction" for example the Prentis Shop was a gas station if I recall correctly.

An interesting side note: there is one non-period building on the property, the Armistead House, which is 19th century. The family who owns it has a long-standing grudge against the Rockefellers and refused to sell it, I think due to the fact that during the reconstruction a Confederate monument was moved from its prominent location on the palace green over to a park a few streets over.
posted by cottonswab at 8:09 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think 'teabagger' is appropriate because, in the interest of protest, a group actually purchased a large quantity of tea as a symbol. The tea they purchased was in the form of teabags.

To clarify, the first two big "tea party" things that the teabaggers did was mail large quantities of teabags to members of congress, followed by a protest where they affixed teabags to themselves. This second thing was especially funny since the day was damp so the teabags got all brown and shriveled and made the protesters look like scrotums.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. If the teabaggers chose a logo that depicted a man punching a donkey (because they oppose Democratic policies) we would be justified in calling them "donkey punchers." They picked the symbols that would be associated with their movement. The fact that I can make fun of them for choosing a symbol that had an amusing sexual connotation long before they picked it is their own problem, not mine.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 8:25 AM on August 3, 2010 [9 favorites]


Jesus God, those people are out of their fucking minds.
posted by zzazazz at 8:30 AM on August 3, 2010


Previous AskMe: Origins of the term "teabag party" and/or "teabaggers"?
posted by ericb at 8:36 AM on August 3, 2010


A people's history of 'teabag'
"... the word was first used by the tea party movement itself."
TEA BAG the LIBERAL DEMS BEFORE THEY TEABAG YOU!!
posted by ericb at 8:42 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


box : Calling Tea Party types 'conservatives,' it seems to me, does a disservice to your Barry Goldwaters and William F. Buckleys.

As is being discussed over here, they really are more accurately characterized as the "radical right"

Umm... "we" didn't name them "teabaggers". They chose that name for themselves.

Infinite Jest : Not that I like them, but it doesn't seem as though they chose that name.

I got curious, and according to this the movement really gained momentum in February 2009
"...when CNBC commentator Rick Santelli erupted in anger on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, and proposed a "Chicago Tea Party""
And shortly after that you see the emergence of what became the Tea Party Movement.

But without any kind of cohesive message beyond the anti-Obama talking points and a desire to connect this anger with "tea" a lot of the participants started calling themselves things like Tea Baggers (as evidenced by BeerFilter's links without realizing it's alternate meaning.

From what I can tell, it was a self created term that they've been pulling away from once they caught on to the double entendre.
posted by quin at 8:45 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


"[There was the] March 2009 campaign by Americans for Prosperity to send tea bags to members of Congress. That, by every indication, was guileless, as was the decision by Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) to dangle tea bags on Fox News." *
posted by ericb at 8:46 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]




clarknova: By the way, if you're ever there visit Chowning's Tavern, order a big pewter mug of lager, and this. Heaven.

For historical accuracy, you'd want an ale, not a lager. I'm not sure how they do the rabbit but a brown ale would probably be both appropriate to the period and location, and also a delicious match.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:36 AM on August 3, 2010


I call them teabaggers because I reject their claim to the Boston Tea Party.

Again, this isn't about protecting the virtue of tea partiers, this is about rejecting the insinuation that consensual adults who enjoy teabagging are gross / stupid / morally depraved / inferior. The fact that the tea partiers are grossly insensitive, even in a self-depricating way, doesn't give you the right to be grossly insensitive back.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:47 AM on August 3, 2010


I applaud anything that causes (or sometimes, forces) people to be more thoughtful about their beliefs. I don't reproach the tea partiers for their ardor, even if their movement is astroturfed by News Corp. What I don't like is the dilettantism of their involvement. Which wouldn't even be so bad, but they are really involved for dilettantes. So what you've got is 10% (or less) thought and 90% action, resulting in a loud and abrasive spinning of wheels. Though it's a nice (as in fitting) complement to the "liberal" (for certain values of liberal, of course) norm of 90% thought and 10% (or less) action.

The goal, of course, is not to think less, but to increase one's action until the proportion is more balanced.
posted by Eideteker at 10:01 AM on August 3, 2010


History education in this country is a shambles - it's weak on detail, complexity, and nuance and very selective in its presentation of fact.

Poll: 26% Of U.S. Clueless On Who We Declared Independence From.

There are many in this country who would benefit from reading 'Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong' and 'Teaching What Really Happened' by James Loewen.
posted by ericb at 10:05 AM on August 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Now recall that Williamsburg is a subtropical swamp. Oh man, the sweating.'

I say this as someone who has lived on the equator and in the tropics. A weekend one summer in Williamsburg is the hottest I have ever been anywhere.
posted by puny human at 11:17 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I lived for about 3 years in the DC area (and will be back there again soon) and you don't know oppressive and soul-killing until you experience a DC area heat wave.
posted by codacorolla at 11:43 AM on August 3, 2010


this is about rejecting the insinuation that consensual adults who enjoy teabagging are gross / stupid / morally depraved / inferior.

When did teabagging become something that consenting adults did for mutual sexual pleasure? In my experience, one teabags one's friend while he is drunk or passed out, photograph it, and show it to him later as a way of asserting dominance. The virtual variant involves crouching and uncrouching rapidly on top of an opponent's corpse in a first person shooter. This, too, is about asserting dominance. Both are examples of an adolescent form of power jockeying that I (and, I sincerely hope, lots and lots of other people) look down upon.

So by calling them teabaggers, we might be saying a lot of things, including "reject[ing] their claim to the Boston Tea Party," or because they stapled teabags to their head and "the teabags got all brown and shriveled and made the protesters look like scrotums," but we are not saying "you are the kind of person who performs a particular sex act." People make the distinction that rape is not about sex, but about power. Whatever you think of that loaded phrase, it applies perfectly to teabagging.
posted by LiteOpera at 11:58 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of those great moments. Enough said.
posted by onecopywriter at 12:01 PM on August 3, 2010


Quin and others, thanks for the information, I stand corrected. Apologies to Muddgirl.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:10 PM on August 3, 2010


Is there a reason why calling someone a "teabagger" is any less homophobic than calling someone a cocksucker?

I don't know about you, but where I grew up, "teabagging" was not a sex act but a horrible, horrible prank.
posted by griphus at 12:17 PM on August 3, 2010


I say "teabagger" while thinking of idiots waving teabags around and wearing them on their clothing, which I think is dumb. If you think of testicles, that's your problem, not mine.
posted by mikeh at 1:09 PM on August 3, 2010


Now that I've said "testicles," though, just try to not think of testicles. Testicles. Testicles.
posted by mikeh at 1:09 PM on August 3, 2010


The fact that the tea partiers are grossly insensitive, even in a self-depricating way, doesn't give you the right to be grossly insensitive back.

I know, I have the right to be grossly insensitive whenever I choose no matter what they do. This is no different than referring to the fluid results of anal sex as Santorum, there is nothing wrong with anal sex. It's just amusing that the target would be so strongly offended by the comparison.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:19 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jesus Fuck this teabag debate is ridiculous.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:44 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is no different than referring to the fluid results of anal sex as Santorum, there is nothing wrong with anal sex.

As Jesus-Fuck ridiculous as the debate is, I think furiousxgeorge has a point. Is it "grossly insensitive" to the lover of semen-fecal-matter mixtures (SFMMs) to call that fluid Santorum (as a pejorative)? Does it matter that there are Y teabag lovers and only Z number of SFMM lovers? Is the pejorative "douchebag" insensitive to enema lovers?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:53 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess this is a good time to point out that the liberals in America in no way, shape or form provide skewed, biased or uninformative viewpoints on those who are not completely aligned with their particular viewpoint.
posted by CountSpatula at 4:54 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]



Osama is right. What should happen in U.S. is exactly what liberals have been working very hard to achieve. Sharia law in the U.S. There is no reason why we should allow women to even speak in public, much less doing such infidel things as run for political office or get in front of television cameras.


Tell us more about about how liberals have skewed views of the opposition CountSpatula.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:08 PM on August 3, 2010


For a rather scathing look at Colonial Williamsburg's take on history, I highly recommend The New History in an Old Museum: Creating the Past at Colonial Williamsburg, which I read at the recommendation of an archeology professor at W&M - it describes CW as a "Republican Disneyland."

The author is a UVA prof though so clearly he is just jealous - go Tribe! Also, I have nothing but huge respect for the interpreters in CW - they do amazing work. Also also, I agree with basically everything schmod said about what a dump a lot of Williamsburg is.
posted by naoko at 8:25 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


That book looks worth a read, naoko, but I've been perusing the reviews and it does seem like it was done with some personal ill will. Also, it's worth noting that CW has established a completely new interpretive plan since the time it was written. That plan sought to completely overhaul the interpretation of social history, especially race and slavery, and is responsible for the dramatic programs that were mentioned in these articles, particularly the daily "Revolutionary City" dramatizations.

That's not to say the book wouldn't still have something to offer, since it undoubtedly remains true that CW walks an often conflicting line between consumer satisfaction and academic historical verity, and reflects contemporary ideas - including biases and areas of discomfort- about American history. And it's all too rare that museums - especially ones that drive such a powerhouse of a tourist trade - are carefully examined from an academic standpoint. I'm sure that part of the tension you describe comes from a longstanding and sometimes acrimonious divide between practitioners of academic and public history, too.
posted by Miko at 8:42 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, it's worth noting that CW has established a completely new interpretive plan since the time it was written. That plan sought to completely overhaul the interpretation of social history, especially race and slavery, and is responsible for the dramatic programs that were mentioned in these articles, particularly the daily "Revolutionary City" dramatizations.

Very true, and it probably was unfair of me not to note that the book is somewhat dated in light of some of CW's newer efforts. I spent a year working in the little modern retail strip between W&M and CW and therefore am inclined to be more bitter toward weird and/or clueless tourists (and that which enables them) than is rationally necessary.
posted by naoko at 9:17 PM on August 3, 2010


I spent a year working in the little modern retail strip between W&M and CW and therefore am inclined to be more bitter toward weird and/or clueless tourists (and that which enables them) than is rationally necessary.

Merchants' Square is interesting in and of itself. It was one of (if not) the first downtown shopping district to be constructed in an automobile-accessible manner. This model, and the lessons learned from it would later form the inspiration for the modern strip mall (seriously).

Of course, DoG street was later closed to vehicular traffic, any shops catering to non-tourists eventually disappeared, and parking in Williamsburg has always sucked, making all that a moot point.

The most scathing criticism I've heard of CW was that it's "unquestionably the best-preserved example of a 1930s planned community."
posted by schmod at 6:39 AM on August 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I worked for CW for four years back in the 90's. It's appreciate that so many people are complimenting the work of the historical interpreters and tradesmen instead of going the kneejerk "LOLZ Disnified thempark!" route, although there are definitely ways in which CW presents history that can be criticized.

I recall even back then that visitors brought their own ideologies and misconceptions. I also recall that some of my co-workers shared similar right wing ideologies to today's Tea Partiers which was pretty frightening.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 9:47 AM on August 7, 2010


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