Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[politics] Framing, and who gets to name the names

Yesterday, I posted a question on Twitter, "A question for the Teabaggers. Why is threatening secession patriotic? I'm baffled."

I got a rather irritated response from a conservative friend. "A question for the libtards: why the disrespect? Teabagger=insult; Teapartier=actually what they call themselves."

Actually, no. "Teabagger" ("tea bagger", in fact) was what they originally called themselves, much to the amazement of culturally aware persons everywhere. See this: History of the word "teabagger" for the Tea Party movement. Is it disrespect to call people by a name they originated for themselves? Snarky, yes, given their word choice, but I breathe snark.

My friend is right, in the sense that the Tea Party movement has since dropped that usage. See this article from last December for a discussion of that reframing. And frankly, it was an idiotic name to begin with. But being upset now at being called what you first called yourself does seem a bit odd. It's not like I or any other liberal have ever called ourselves "libtards". For whatever it's worth, this libtard didn't ask the question with any disrespect in mind.

This framing issue occurs on all sides of the fence. I am reminded of my blogging during the election cycle, when I would refer to "Hillary, Obama and Edwards" and fairly routinely get annoyed feedback from Clinton activists telling me I was demeaning her by using her first name but using the male candidates' surnames. I had to keep pointing out (with links and references) that her own campaign branded her as "Hillary", not "Clinton", presumably to give some political daylight between her and the former president.

People get to choose their own branding and identity, and they certainly get to change it. But being angry at being identified by your own self-defined label...?

Oh, and no one's answered my original question yet.

Tags: personal, politics

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