As a special treat today, this blog is illustrated with two pictures taken when the Tea Party movement was in its infancy.
You will observe that both the man and the woman are decorated in the tea bag fashion. No doubt they considered this a very witty statement at the time.
Now, supporters of the Tea Bag movement have become extremely touchy about being called "tea baggers." To their horror, they have belatedly discovered that tea bagging has a less polite meaning than hanging tea bags off your hat. They are angry and appalled etc. And as the other sort of tea bagging may also be linked to homosexual practice, one can detect an extra feeling of revulsion in their comments.
Well, too bad. You make your bed, you lie in it. They picked the name and put tea bags on their hats in their naivete and therefore to refer to them as tea baggers is to follow their own visual example.
The other day some readers made the usual fuss on another part of the PG Web site because a letter writer referred to the members of the Tea Party movement as tea baggers. The objections are silly on two levels - the first I literally illustrate with the two pictures, the second has to do with the English language.
In English, words can have two meanings at once. For example, Dick is a perfectly acceptable abbreviation for Richard and is used routinely without snickers. It is also a slang expression for the male appendage and used in that sense brings a blush to a maiden's cheek, assuming there are any maidens left.
So it is now with tea baggers, thanks to the tea baggers themselves. The word covers both members of the Tea Party movement and a practice presumably not much discussed by nuns.
Context is everything, My advice to the tea baggers is to get their minds out of the gutter and not confuse the two meanings.