Friday, August 3, 2012

Idiot Fondue: Case Study #39 – The Planting of the Tea Party

Dear Dr. Brian,

  I have an issue that I hope you can help me with. I’ve tried a number of different ways to deal with the problem, including doing Internet research, attending seminars, speaking to a spiritual adviser, and abusing prescription drugs and alcohol. But nothing has helped. Please help me understand. Why are those Tea Party people so amazingly and mind-numbingly stupid? Thank you for your time.

Ayn Rand

Dear Ms. Rand,

  Thank you for contacting me from beyond the grave. This indicates an incredible dedication to sorting out the truth in this matter. Luckily for you, (and me, I suppose, since you still have to pay me even though I don’t have to actually do any research), I recently returned from a seminar in Milan concerning this very topic. I was just discussing the scholastic experience with my office manager Lanae (who didn’t really care one whit about my discoveries, she was just relieved that she didn’t have to answer the office phones for a few minutes) and I happened to still have the brochure discussing the workshops at the seminar right here on my desk when I opened your email.

  Let’s review those workshop topics, shall we? And of course I’ll add some personal commentary, which is a service I always try to provide to my clients.

  “The Tea Bagger and His Tea”

  First of all, it’s home-brewed. You don’t get that steeped in self-absorption unless you don’t get out of the house all that often, nor did your parents. This is a fundamental warning sign when attempting to diagnose the neurosis of a patient. If the subject has never really travelled to other parts of the country, experienced other cultures, or even had a meaningful conversation with someone who isn’t similarly white, supposedly straight, and stupid, there’s not much of an opportunity for personal growth. Or wisdom.

  Secondly, the tea is obviously bitter. Otherwise, why would these people be constantly running around with such a sour expression and a clenched attitude? Maybe if they would wash the pot out every once in a while, and quit buying the same brand of tea every time, they might actually discover some new flavors that they find out are not half bad. Life is a buffet, people. If you head right to the corn fritters every time you aren’t getting the full experience.

  “The Tea Bagger and His Baggage”

  And those bags are some overstuffed, extra-fee-on-airlines kind of bags. A tea bagger is angry with the world because their personal bags are so full. They’re tired of carrying those bags around, so they take out their frustration on people who have managed to free themselves of baggage and live their lives in a manner that makes them happy. The tea bagger doesn’t believe other people should be happy if they themselves can’t be, so they spend their own lives denigrating others. Instead of doing the smart thing, which would be to unpack those damn bags and move on. And maybe read a book or two.

  Speaking of the packing, let’s full-circle it back to the parents of that bitchy, unsatisfied person. You birth-givers helped pack a lot of that bag. Granted, there are rare occasions when you can be the sweetest thing on earth but still manage to shoot something out of your loins that turns into a hate-mongering sociopath, regardless of how much you try to bathe them in love and understanding and warm cookies. But most of the time? You put the ingredients into the cookie that made Junior what he is today. Proper child-rearing is a lifetime commitment. You can’t throw your hands up and quit the first time Junior knocks somebody down on the playground.

  But still, the ultimate responsibility lies with the person carrying the baggage. Many of us have had parents who didn’t win any awards for sainthood, warmth, or semblance of decency, but we still managed to take a deep breath (sometime hundreds of them) and claw our way to a place of relative peace. The avenues of your life are completely chosen by you. If you have unjustified hatred for another human being, that hatred was sowed in your own soul. You’re the farmer. Take care of it. Tend to your own crops. Plant something better.

“The Tea Bagger and His Pot”

  Ah, and here we get to the cornerstone of the teabag-manufacturing industry: The Church. Now,  before I launch along this angle, let me preface my words by saying that not all houses of worship cook their products the same way, and many of them never make anything that boils. In fact, I’m sure the original houses of worship had a much different method of creation compared to the massive production lines that take place today. Back in the day, the teaching ingredients were simple: love thy neighbor, assist those who need help, don’t do things you really shouldn’t do, and make sure you have enough goats  for the impending marriages of female offspring.

  But as time went by, some people began to bicker about having to follow ALL the rules, because bickering and a dislike for doing the right thing is simply part of the nature of some humans, especially folks who may qualify as humans biologically but not necessarily socially or morally. The bickering units splintered off and formed their own churches, where they could worship just the parts of the founding documents that justified the activities they found more interesting and enjoyable to perform. And, of course, because bickering is a constant with the dissatisfied, the splintering became exponential over the centuries. Now we have thousands of denominational flavors, going by increasingly bizarre names because all of the really good URLs have already been taken on the Internet.

  And even within the mainstream denominations, we have a considerable variance in teaching, because once you start allowing folks to selectively interpret what they will, mix in the powerful but often misused “right to free speech”, things begin to fracture all over the place. So you have one person in Denomination A who believes in a complete set of principles, and another person in that same denomination who believes in the abridged, edited, rearranged set of principles that bears little resemblance to what scribers had in mind back when they were fiddling with sea scrolls and sitting on the shore of the Dead Sea, in a nice café that had an excellent brunch.

  And the mini-sized packages of religion are most often served up in those colossal mega-churches that cause traffic jams in the surrounding area for the entirety of Sundays. If you want to keep the attention of your fifth set of 20,000 worshippers whilst standing on your rock-star pulpit stage, you can only hit one or two stirring points or you’re going to start losing people to the concession stands. One or two points, that’s it, forget the rest of the things that moral people should mull if they want to be rounded and grounded. And personally, I don’t see how you can see a spiritual path to God if you can’t even see your own pastor except when he’s flashing on the giant video monitors manufactured in a country where you go to jail if speak your own mind.

  The most spiritual people that I have ever met haven’t stepped foot in a physical church in years, or at least only sparingly. They do their research on their own, rather than being directed to certain passages by people with an agenda, and they read everything they can. Unlike the rock-star preachers and right-wing politicians who haven’t even cracked open the flashy Bibles they like to wave about during photo opportunities.

  “Excuse me,” said Lanae, reading my email over my shoulder whilst sucking the jelly from a donut right in my left ear, “may I interject?”

  I leaned back in my chair, partly to ease the tension in my back and partly to get away from the pornographic soundtrack in that left ear. “Certainly.”

  Lanae swallowed. “Okay, you’re getting a bit long-winded here, like Michael Moore when he notices a camera pointing at him. Let’s move on from the rise and fall of Christianity.”

  I was perplexed. “But I’m just trying to present the religious angle. It’s one of the factors that is being warped in the Tea Party and I’m only assisting my client with-“

  Lanae pressed a sticky index finger against my startled lips, something that both unsettled me and made me suddenly crave a fruit-filled scone. “Shush. Another angle with the Tea Party and the Republicans is that they consider women to be secondary, sub-human, and unable to make decisions about their own body. Just like they treat gays and lesbians. And really, anybody that isn’t a white male. The fact that there are women and gays who are Republicans astounds me. But now I’m having a Michael Moore moment. To the point: You’re not even religious yourself, this blog post is starting to run a little long, and people are going to stop reading it and might go to a mega-church out of boredom.”

  She unstuck her finger from my lips. “I’ll be at my desk if you need me. I’m not going to make any more coffee, because you’ve clearly had your share, but I will prep a bottle of merlot and see if we have any of those weird crackers you like with the olive bits in them.” She marched forth, mission-based.

  I sighed. She was right. Next topic.

“The Tea Plant and the Planting”

    You don’t get a new variety of tea without careful cultivating and experimentation. In the case of the Tea Party-flavored tea, the agricultural process is slightly complex, but effective. First you have to find a promising plot that will produce what you desire. The soil must contain plenty of self-created, improperly-based and unreleased anger. The mineral composition should include an inability to take responsibility for one’s own failures and the need to find a scapegoat who had nothing to do with those failures. And you need to leave all the weeds in the field, the weeds of hate, the weeds of misogyny, the weeds of racism and the weeds of absolute and utter gullibility.

  But the big win here is the fertilizer. And there are two kinds. The primary fertilizer is produced by a company known as “News Corporation”, and the particular product is known as “Fox News”. (Interestingly enough, neither of these names has anything to do with what a rational person would consider “news”.) This fertilizer must be spread daily, preferably via a television set that is left on continuously so that the half-truths and outright lies can seep into the soil at a steady rate. The soil must become so dependent on the Fox News drippings, that if the TV is ever turned off, the soil would have no idea what to do with its life or how to think.

  The secondary fertilizer is known as “right-wing talk radio”. This is also something that must be applied every day, non-stop. This fertilizer contains the fundamentalist elements of bogus statistics, distortions of any semblance of actual reality, show hosts that have failed miserably in any endeavors to be of any worth to society, and a constant repetition of the fundamental mantra: “Hate anything and everything that is different from you.” Except for monetary donations to right-wing candidates. You love and worship those. Send some today! Even if you really don’t have any spare cash because the very people you have been farmed to support are actively working to destroy your livelihood and keep you a slave to their cause.

  And that’s the scoop, dearest Ayn Rand, the writer who was briefly celebrated by the Tea Party until they read the uh-oh bits about your atheism and your statement that “embryos have no rights”, then they tried to dump you despite declaring a national holiday in your honor just a few days before. (This is standard practice with the Tea Party. They don’t investigate anything, they jump on the current bandwagon directive from Rupert Murdoch or Karl Rove or somebody invoking Ronald Reagan, even though it’s very clear that Ronald, despite some questionable things he did, would be horribly ashamed of what the Republican Party has become with their tea farms and idiots with a microphone. Then they blindly jump off the abandoned bandwagon and land wherever they are told to land, still clutching their hate.)

  So, my prescription for you? Give up and let go. There is no possible way to have any compassion for what the Tea Party is trying to do to our country. They are not nationalists, they are certainly not patriots, they have no concept of the true intentions of our founding fathers (separation of church and state, it’s all right there if you could actually read and spell), and they clearly have no compassion for you. Click unfriend.

  Enjoy the rest of your day. In an existential way, of course.

Dr. Brian

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