Beck to Tea Party: No More Costumes

And of course Olbermann is having a field day with it.

I can’t say that I agree with Glenn Beck on his recent decree that tea partiers should stop wearing costumes and the like to rallies. Keith Olbermann recently featured my husband’s tongue-in-cheek quasi fictions rock band, The Sounding Fathers, in a video montage wherein he criticized Beck’s newfound insistence that ralliers leave the costumes and signs and dress “normally.” What Olbermann doesn’t get is that The Sounding Fathers, who played a set of liberty-infused rock like Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” was entertainment. Rallies of that size are entertainment first and politics second.

What Beck doesn’t seem to get is that it was this stuffed shirt reserve that made conservatism look uncool in the first place. People are finally discovering that conservatism is truly counter culture, rebellious, anti-excessive authority, James Dean, so don’t demand that folks go all pants-suit and abandon the implements which made this movement fun, attractive, and mainstream.

Conservatives lost ground in academics because they gave it up. They lost ground and completely ceded arts and entertainment because they thought themselves above it. They almost ceded social media, were it not for the #dontgo movement. Now you want to take what has been a successful grassroots movement and morph it into a watered-down country club style-protest? I may be exaggerating, but is it not also exaggeration of some extent to focus so much attention on whether or not someone wears a costume to an event? Beck acts like it’s akin to a furry convention instead of a few people here and there.

Who says political revolutions have to be stuffy and solemn? Who appointed an arbitrator to decide what is or is not acceptable dress, performance in what is a self-policing movement? Beck isn’t talking about the rare, if not planted, signs at events here.

Beck says:

I’m saying that maybe it’s time to lose — oh, I don’t know — the Statue of Liberty costume, you know?

Maybe no more dressing up, you know, with Abe Lincoln or, you know, putting the foam finger on your head or something like or the “Obama is a socialist” T-shirt. You might want to put it back in the drawer and let me explain why.

[…]

It’s very important that you understand the image — the image. Do what you want to do, but when you dust off the Statue of Liberty costume and wear it to a rally, guess who gets plastered on the front page of the news? You. And this is a problem.

I was in Seattle about a year ago and there were 10,000 people there. And as I was leaving, I saw somebody who was wearing a Statue of Liberty outfit. And I thought to myself, that’s going to be the one person they pick — just to make you look like you’re crazy. Guess what was in the Seattle P.I. the next morning? That one person.

[…]

And as much as my daughter says, “Dad, I don’t care what people say about my clothing” — well, other people do. Other people do. Don’t give the media even a chance to typecast you.

Why, after all of these months of Beck telling his audience not to measure their success by liberal media accounts does he suddenly backtrack and tell people not to dress up else liberal media will put you on the front page of a publication that no one reads anyway? The media typecasted conservatives BEFORE the movement or a few people in costume, they will continue to do it AFTER because why? They don’t like what we believe or who we are. Period. They typecast us for wanting limited government, for wanting to privatize social security, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But I’ll tell you, you know what aides in this typecasting? Beck inadvertently assisting this narrative with the above.

The majority of Americans ALREADY identify more with the tea party than congress. They already think we have a better understanding of the issues. The majority of Americans ALREADY define the Democrats’ agenda as extreme. If this shows anything, it shows that the typecasting doesn’t work. It hasn’t been working for a long time, so why throw them a bone by encouraging people to be less … excited about grassroots?

The directive completely contradicts some hidden ethos of a movement inspired by, in part, a desire for more individual liberty.

I’ve met Beck, I’ve hosted an event for him here in my city when he came in for Bold/Fresh. He’s a genuinely nice guy, but on this, I must disagree. Make the revolution fun, betray the conservative stereotype, don’t feed it.

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