Totebagger

I learned a new word today from Atrios: Totebagger. The word (actually “tote-bagger”) is defined by Urban Dictionary as, “A left-winger, an antonym of ‘teabagger,’ from the tote bags offered as premiums for donations to public TV and radio stations.” This definition is, as is typical of Urban Dictionary, useful but inaccurate. A related definition is for the word totebaggery, “Display of middlebrow mediocre taste that is supposed to be sophisticated, i.e., conspicuous consumption of Starbucks coffee or The New York Times.”

I find the two definition interesting because they show how conservatives (and other liberal haters) conflate political beliefs with lifestyle choices. Many books by the likes of Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly that purport to be arguments against liberal ideas are really just rants against the lifestyles of the upper-middle class.

I think a better definition would be:

Tote·bag·ger  noun  \ˈtōt-bag-gər\

A socially liberal and often economically conservative person who is typical of consumers of NPR, The New York Times, and The Economist Magazine.

Origin: 2005 or earlier. Contraction of “tote” and “bagger.” Refers to the tote bags offered by NPR and PBS for membership pledges. Often assumed to reference “teabagger” but the word is older.

“I admit I still get a bit surprised when I read/hear otherwise very smart very liberal people singing the greatest hits of David Brooks and the Totebaggers.” —Atrios

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