Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mad Hatter Tea Party

Last Friday was the deadline for tax submissions in the US. In recent years this has become a media event, thanks to the “Tea Party Movement”. This blog is not a political blog, even on a Sunday, so I will try not to comment on the politics of it. I can’t but resist drawing your attention to the sound intellectual basis for the “Party”, especially considering the towering genius in Sarah Palin who has been adopted/appropriated/self appointed as its mascot. But we shall let that pass lightly.

Instead this post is on the Tea, in the Tea Party movement. I know the political advantages of claiming the legacy of the Boston Tea Party, but I am intrigued as to what kind of tea, if any, is drunk in Tea Party meetings, especially the sort where the N word is frequently used, and the vocabulary is limited to hoarse renderings of baby killer, shoot the pig etc etc.

Anybody who’s been anywhere near the country knows what sort of tea is served and consumed in the bastion of the free world. This blogger, some years ago, had the mortification of this experience. He went to an eating joint and asked for a cup of tea. What size ? Small. He was given a 1 metre tall giant of a glass with enough hot water to keep 3 cows from thirst for a year. And separately, one limp tea bag – yes one limp tea bag. I ask you, fair ladies and gentlemen, is this what that noble drink has come to ?

I hereby declare war on the tea bag. I cannot even imagine to understand how anybody could conceive of the idea of making tea with a tea bag. Unfortunately, I know how, having worked in the company that unleashed this monstrosity on the unsuspecting public. There were armies of wizards with PhDs who were, forever, designing an “improved tea bag”. Imagine the lot of these worthies – when they reached the gates of heaven and St Peter asked them what noble deeds they had done in their lives, they would have to say, I increased the length of the tea bag by 1 cm !! Ouch !!

Back to the US. On enquiry, in my greener days, I was advised that tea in the US meant iced tea – only the whingeing Poms had it black. So I decided to sample this local adaptation of the great drink. Small size again. And what did I get ?? An even taller glass, perhaps 2 metres tall, filled with 74 cubes of ice and some pale liquid trying to find its way through those massive glaciers. After this, the limp tea bag seemed positively inviting.

I simply cannot believe that either of these two alternatives were on the menu at the Tea Parties that happened all over the US last week. Imagine a 700 pound man yelling obscenities at the government while sipping hot water from a glass with a thread dangling from it. Sort of destroys the image, doesn’t it ?? Not even the Beer Party can go with the picture – a six pack of Buds Lite might be better, but does not do justice to a fire breather. Whisky Party, or Rum Party, might be more believable but don’t have the tang.

So therein lies the real problem for the Tea Party movement. Forget the N word. Sort out the T word !