We Can't Have Nice Things

« May 2010 »


As a wildly unprofessional commenter on current events, whose stock in trade relies on finding small details, outrageous quotes, and ideally a slightly different take on things that happen in the world, there is nothing more infuriating than a short, unsatisfying story about something with incredible comedy potential. A story that is then quoted verbatim, without any follow up, all over the Internet.

I mention this because try as I might, and oh, how I did try, I cannot find a single detail about Teabagger Woodstock that doesn't come straight from a three-paragraph blog post on the web site of the Des Moines Register. Fucking maddening!

Just the very idea is genius. The right in America is still obsessed with the 60s, because that's when everything started to slip through their fingers. Black people got to mingle with white people. Women got to wear pants. Homosexuals started to get away with being out. Premarital sex started to be destigmatized, as did casual low-harm recreational drug use. American military intervention wasn't automatically treated as the best thing in the universe.

Every single thing cultural conservatives hate about modern America had its root in the late 60s, and the single event that most embodies that is Woodstock. Of course they want their own. Conservatives always want our cool stuff. Not a year goes by without them trying to create their own MoveOn, even though MoveOn isn't even that big a deal anymore. David Horowitz had made turning colleges into conservative recruitment centers his life's work, even though they've had MBA programs for decades.

So if a bunch of teabaggers and conservative musicians plop down in a field in the Midwest, what else would they compare it to? Their only choices are Woodstock and that unfortunate incident in Skokie, and public relations trumps reality any day of the week.

In the absence of obscure mockable details, you'll forgive me if I cover the only obvious ground available to me. First and foremost, that the event, assuming it exists at all, is going to take place on September 11. As political non-sequiturs go, this is awesomely tasteless. Especially since the one indirectly-quoted detail in the Register is that according to organizer Craig Halverson, they "don't plan to spend the day reflecting on those events".

What the fuck? I know there's enough ideological overlap that if you show up at the average teabag circle-jerk dressed like a Saudi sheik fresh off a hand-in-hand stroll with Bush 43, you're likely to get yelled at by people who can't pronounce "sharia" but know they don't like it. But when you add up the signs and the speeches and the general tenor of your average Tea Party, terrorism policy is way down its list. So why pick 9/11? If it were 9/12, from the stupid Glenn Beck thing, that'd make sense, but using 9/11 to listen to country music and bitch about taxes strikes me as a bit exploitative.

Although at this point in the Tea Party movement, they may just see 9/11 as a day when a bunch of elitist liberal New Yorkers got killed. That'd at least explain the somewhat festive atmosphere.

The other big comedy touchstone is that they're HOPING to draw 1,000 attendees. That's not Woodstock. I'm pretty sure they got a thousand people in line for a single port a-potty at Woodstock. Plus, teabaggers are notoriously bad at math, and on their best days manage to be off by an order of magnitude when it comes to crowd estimates. If they're only HOPING for a thousand, they probably should save themselves the trouble and just post to Ballsinyourfacebook* that everyone should meet up at the cotton candy booth at the state fair an hour before the Skynyrd concert.

That's it. That's all there is. Well, except for the fact that it's supposed to be held at the Monona County Fairgrounds in Onawa, Iowa. Which isn't really funny, per se, but more of an interesting Boggle-style party game where you try to spell "Onan" as many times as you can using the place names. Don't blame me. I'm not the one who derelicted the living fuck out of my duty by not even trying to do a follow-up interview with Halverson in the hopes of getting some hilarious quotes full of delusions of outdoor-festival grandeur.

Get your fucking act together, Internet. You have less than four months to arrange for, at a bare minimum, a slideshow of fail showing sparse attendance, misspelled signs, and beer bellies.

*Other acceptable teabagger social networking site jokes: WhiteSpace, Fiendster, Liejournal.