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Author Topic: teabagger  (Read 1373 times)

mcdermott2

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teabagger
« on: January 14, 2012, 03:26:18 AM »
Would TEABAGGER, as an informal name for a member of the Tea Party, be allowed by editors? I would like to use it in one of my puzzles, but am not sure if it's more vulgar meaning would rule it out.

Thanks!

Todd G

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2012, 11:42:48 AM »
1. Questions like these are usually asked in the CRUCIVERB-L mailing list instead of in the forum.

2. There's an interesting article on the development of the term teabagger at The Week

URL:  http://theweek.com/article/index/202620/the-evolution-of-the-word-tea-bagger

3. Personally, I'd be surprised if any of the mainstream editors would touch this with a ten foot pole.  Between the politics and vulgarity, I think they'd be afraid of starting a firestorm.

SJS

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2012, 12:55:49 PM »
I agree.  I had an editor ask me to change DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which I thought was an interesting "in the news" entry but which the editor thought was a bit too hot button.  It was easy to change to DOME, but made the crosser very plain. 

You could try to clue it as "Machine at the Lipton factory" - but I'm pretty sure that would get rejected too (but after the editor had a good chuckle at the attempt).

magus

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2012, 03:33:35 PM »
I don't get the vulgarity of "teabagger," but I do its politics.  Why "politically hot button" items are a no go is quite beyond me.  I should think such current terms would add to the crossword lexicon.  Would "Occupy Wall St." be damned for the same reason?  How about "neocon" or "progressive"?  ???

Todd G

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 06:25:36 AM »
Politics in itself isn't a problem.  Even less than flattering political terms (like NOBAMA) aren't really a problem.  The problem is when a political term is used in an offensive derogatory manner.

As noted in Wikipedia, the term teabagger "is routinely used as a derogatory term to refer to conservative protestors."  In this case, it's derogatory because of the sexual reference, but terms like "jack-booted thugs" or "grave robbers" would be needlessly offensive even without any sexual reference.

magus

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2012, 09:25:49 AM »
As I have heard the term used on TV by political pundits, "teabagger" is not derogatory but merely a reference to those of the Tea Party.  (I don't go to Wikipedia to learn about the language.)  I remain unaware of any sexual connotation of the term, but if you are, I'll accept that.

What irks me is that we consider words in and of themselves offensive.  Certainly the scatological and certain epithets are to be avoided, but to some, Indian may be offensive.  Alas, we are becoming hyper-sensitive, vying to see who can be more "aware" of what may or may not offend someone.  Words are, with very few exceptions, not to be expurgated when used per se.  We define words and use them in crosswords as objective symbols for meaning, and as such they should not be made taboo because they can be used improperly.  Dictionaries do not eliminate words on that basis and neither should cruciverbalists.

XMAAS

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2012, 02:22:54 PM »
"Teabagger"/"Teabagging" has been sex term long, long before the Koch bros. Tea party came into being. The whole joke was that the people in the Tea Party (and Fox News) were blissfully unaware of the other meaning of the word at first.

magus

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 08:54:19 AM »
So now I get it --- had to look it up on-line. 

If teabagger cannot be used because in some quarters it is known to have a sexual connotation in slang, then hummer (for hummingbird) and Hummer (the car) should be avoided because it too can have a sexual connotation. 

Let's not lose our head, so to speak.  In other words, let's grow up.

SJS

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 11:34:10 AM »
So now I get it --- had to look it up on-line. 

If teabagger cannot be used because in some quarters it is known to have a sexual connotation in slang, then hummer (for hummingbird) and Hummer (the car) should be avoided because it too can have a sexual connotation. 

Let's not lose our head, so to speak.  In other words, let's grow up.

I asked about this recently on the cruciverb mailing list.  I wondered about "hook up" and other terms that could be clued one way but interpreted another.  Most thought it was fine if there was a common "clean" interpretation.

But teabagger is very different than hookup or even hummer.  The term was invented as a way to slander and embarrass political opponents.  Political pundits who use it are either intentionally trying to be inflammatory or are unaware of the history of the term.

I agree with you that we are generally becoming too sensitive, but I do think it is appropriate to leave some things out of crossword puzzles.  Teabagger is definitely one of those images best left out.

magus

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2012, 09:41:39 AM »
Hi, SJS---

I wonder how you know why the term was created and, tangentially, who created it. 

It may be of interest to note that President Obama used the term --- politically and without malice. 

worldofcrosswords

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2012, 11:44:35 AM »
The Week has an interesting history of the term including citations:
http://theweek.com/article/index/202620/the-evolution-of-the-word-tea-bagger

Marya
Try the weekly crossword at http://worldofcrosswords.com/

magus

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2012, 09:41:12 AM »
This is an example of pejoration wherein a word's once neutral meaning becomes negative.  A classic example is villain which originally meant villager

It's likely teabagger will remain a pejorative so we might have to refer to members of the Teaparty as teapartyists.  The issue for constructors, though, is whether they should avoid "teabagger," and I remain adamant that they should not since I don't like being denied a word choice because a subset of society has co-opted it.

XMAAS

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2012, 10:18:10 AM »

"Political pundits who use it are either intentionally trying to be inflammatory or are unaware of the history of the term."

That's not quite accurate, since it was the Tea Party members who called themselves "teabaggers" at the start. All the pundits were doing was to (inconveniently) remind them of their own words.

SJS

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2012, 10:35:38 PM »
Nonsense, XMAAS.  Rachel Maddow and other pundits were the first to use the term "teabagger" and did so in a gleeful attempt to embarrass tea party activists with the sexual connotations of the term.  It's a pretty clever play on words, and one would have to admit it was a clever bit of rhetoric, but it's also not very nice and as a constructor I wouldn't touch the word with a ten foot pole.

XMAAS

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Re: teabagger
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2012, 01:16:31 PM »
I can assure you SJS that you have it backwards. Maddow did indeed make fun of the "teabaggers", but she was making fun of them because it was their OWN term. I'm not denying that the term teabagger has been used disparagingly towards the movement... but (as I've said several times before) it was the Tea Party's initial usage that started the whole thing.

As for crossword puzzle use: no, it would not be suitable... at least not in the publications I submit to.

-MAS
« Last Edit: January 29, 2012, 01:29:09 PM by XMAAS »

 

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