Bingeing on Tea Bags

A few days ago I posted about Rick Santelli’s call for a Chicago Tea Party. His remarks have inspired some creative ideas to raise awareness of the Obama bungle—that is, Obama’s alleged “stimulus package.”

john-kenHere in southern California we have an AM radio station, KFI 640, with “More Stimulating Talk Radio.” Mid-day banter is dominated by the ranting duo, John and Ken—as in John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou. They have some goofy ideas about how to get in on this tea party thing. They’ve targeted our state lawmakers in Sacramento with loud provocations to mail tea bags to the capitol en masse. This because they are righteously angry about the new tax-imposition plan that was passed in our state within the past week. The problem is that California has gone from a smokin’ economy, envied round the world, to a broken economy with rapidly accumulating incentives to pull up stakes and go elsewhere.

What’s goofy about the John and Ken advice? Several things. But one is noteworthy for its irony: it will cost the state of California money to process all the tea bags that arrive by post at the state capitol. And whose money will be spent sortieing the tea bag salvo? Money earned by the very people encouraged to launch the salvo. (Note: there’s a website called California Tea Party, “United to Repeal California Taxes.”)

It’s not the people in Sacramento or DC who need to hear from us. The ones who need to hear are fellow-citizens who are out of the news-loop and don’t know what’s going on. The electorate can make a bigger difference than elected officials by electing different officials. But the electorate has to be informed.

Can tea bags be used effectively to raise consciousness about our national crisis in leadership? Possibly. I like a suggestion offered by Brittney Linvill—spread some tea bags out on your desk at work and when those who are curious inquire about your new proclivities, remind them of the Boston tea party and explain its contemporary analog in the present circumstances. Stress the lesson that energized citizens can make a difference.

If you want to be a little more overtly eccentric, here’s a variation of the idea—tie a bunch of individual tea bags to a string that can be draped conspicuously from one end of your office or cubicle to the other.

Bottom line: decorate copiously with tea bags; enlist all of your friends to follow your example; host tea parties to plan tea bag binges in public. Then . . . buy stock in Unilever (UL) . Why Unilever? Because they are the consumer goods makers that own Lipton Tea.

Note: You may find it inspiring to read Brittney Linvill’s “About” page.

About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

5 Responses to Bingeing on Tea Bags

  1. Found this blog by chance, and did not expect such a cracking read! Bookmarked.


  2. Pingback: TeaBag Express...with stops in Utah and S.Carolina - Page 2 - - Mercedes-Benz Discussion Forum

  3. Doug Geivett says:

    John and Ken host a show whose base station—KFI—advertises that it’s the place to turn for “more stimulating talk radio.” But their logic does not always stimulate right reasoning. The teabag campaign is gaining traction around the country. John and Ken didn’t invent the idea. Sending teabags to elected officials, who will never see them or care how many are sent, is not effective political action on the part of tax-paying citizens. Use a teabag to educate those in your circle of influence. It might work. But it might have no effect at all, even if you staple a droopy teabag to your forehead. Taxpayers need to organize more effective tactics for achieving real change. In the world of politics, that means giving politicians a reason to worry about their political futures. Their futures depend on the will of the people; if the people can demonstrate that a leader’s political life may be nasty, brutish, and short, leaders will pay attention.


  4. Doug W. says:

    Some of the “tea themed revolts” may have traction, and may be legitimate methods for frustrated taxpayers to protest, but we need to be careful about allowing authentic tax revolters to lead the way.

    I say this because John & Ken’s latest campaign may have more to do with entertainment (and a marketing ploy to bolster radio listenership) rather than about creating a genuine Jarvis-type movement. I am aware of some criticisms of the two KFI guys as frauds. >>>

    The author of the white paper found at the above link may have had his own axe to grind, but in any event, has revealed some troubling facts about KFI’s John & Ken. It is the described type of behind-the-scenes ratings-seeking gimmickry (& personal dysfunction) that undermines their authority to lead any meaningful political movement.


  5. Savana says:

    Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!


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