July 6, 2010

Left & Right Rhetorical Fail: Tea Party "Yup, I'm a Racist" T-Shirts

Hat Tip Racialicious for spotlighting "Yup, I'm a Racist" T-shirts for sale at a Lexington KY 4th of July Festival.  An Examiner writer moseyed over with his video cam to take a look at the merchandise and engage the sellers in some dialogue about them. 

 Its a very obvious satire that these Tea Party folks are engaging in with these T-shirts.  A very in your face politically incorrect satire.  The person who made the video wanted to pretend not to understand that and try to really leave the impression that these people were actively supporting the idea of being a racist.  Its disingenuous.

I don't think that the satire they are engaged in is particularly effective or subversive in a way that makes people think or be persuaded to their cause.  In fact, the nature of the satire highlights the insular, highly interior conversation Tea Party activists are having amongst themselves.  This is not a rhetorical approach that will attract people who don't already share their views. Its indicative of the tone deaf, tin ear messaging approach that plagues the GOP, from its rank and file all the way up to leadership in Congress, the recent attack on Kagan via Thurgood Marshal, an excellent case in point.

So I think it fails on the messaging score.  Its an inside joke.  But it is a very obvious satire which the Examiner simply didn't want to acknowledge.  Had he been more interested in examining and reporting what they thought instead of trying to insinuate with snark and contemptuousness what he believed they thought, this could have been an interesting exposition of their views.  Instead, the video represents a wasted opportunity.