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Dear Oxford University Press: Get a clue about “teabagging”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 16, 2009 03:16 PM

I’ve linked in previous years to the word of the year announcement by Oxford University Press. It’s usually good fun and water cooler-worthy.

Today, OUP unveiled 2009’s word of the year: “Unfriend.”

But it was one of the runner-up words that caught my eye:

“Teabagger.”

Yes, they chose “teabagger” and defined it thusly:

teabagger -a person, who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)

Hello?

The “teabagger”/”teabagging” terminology is a vulgar smear of the Tea Party movement — smugly invoked by “respected” journalists such as Anderson Cooper, easily accessible in urban slang dictionaries, and now derogatorily adopted by the Commander-in-Chief himself.

Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi had no shame in spelling out the crude sexual allusion. I am reprinting what he wrote about the Tea Party movement — and my reporting on it — back in April. Language warning:

I have to say, I’m really enjoying this whole teabag thing. It’s really inspiring some excellent daydreaming. For one thing, it’s brought together the words teabag and Michelle Malkin for me in a very powerful, thrilling sort of way. Not that I haven’t ever put those two concepts together before, but this is the first time it’s happened while in the process of reading her actual columns.

Previously Michelle Malkin’s writing was on the edge of unreadable; she’s sort of like Ann Coulter, only without that tiny fraction of P.T. Barnum/Mick Jagger-esque self-promotional flair that makes Coulter at least vaguely interesting. When you read Ann Coulter, you know you’re reading someone who would fuck a hippopotamus if she thought it would boost her Q rating. That’s a rare quality and it commands one’s attention.

Michelle Malkin doesn’t have that. She’s just a mean little dunce who’s wedged herself into a nicely paying career as a GOP spokesclown, and she’s going to ride that gig for as long as it keeps gas in her minivan.

And that’s fine, good for her. But that doesn’t make her readable. However, this move of hers to spearhead the teabag movement really adds an element to her writing that wasn’t there before. Now when I read her stuff, I imagine her narrating her text, book-on-tape style, with a big, hairy set of balls in her mouth. It vastly improves her prose.

Either Oxford University Press approves of this language or its editors and staff are completely ignorant.

Neither option reflects well on the institution.

People who make a living in words should really get a clue about the words they purport to define for the rest of the world.

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