TB or not TB?
Totebaggery is an inexact science. Remember that story about the judge who, when struggling to define pornography, said, “I know it when I see it”? It’s kind of like that with Totebaggery.
Totebaggery is often contextual. We have already established that Garrison Keillor is a ripe ol’ totebagger whereas Terry Gross is not. Enjoying NPR does not a totebagger make – but talking about NPR all the time – did you just cough up a lung? ‘cause you got yourself a case of TB!
A coffee from Starbucks is not totebaggy per se. Owning more than one CD sampler purchased from Starbucks is totebaggery. Worse is if you live in a major city and could have bought your own Nina Simone at an actual record store.
The Film Forum is not totebaggery, nor is the Sunshine Cinemas, but the Angelika was and is always totebaggy, and home to the kind of totebaggers who loudly say “I like the kinds of movies they show at the Angelika” as if it meant their great great great grandpappy was first mate on the Mayflower. In Boston, the home where the totebaggers roam like canvas-antlered caribou, the Kendall Square cinema is the acme of totebaggery, whereas the Brattle and the Coolidge Corner are not. In LA, the Arclight is kind-of totebaggy but they show really good movies and have nice screens, so they really aren’t, and it’s only when people won’t shut up about how superior the Arclight is that it gets a little TB. The Arclight is like a TB detector.
Anne Geddes and William Wegman are just silly, but in calendar form their work becomes totebaggery. Salon.com is not totebaggy in itself, but subscribing to Salon Premium is really fucking totebaggy, as was the whole “Mothers Who Think” column. Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t have Roadrunner, does that mean I’m but a mere troglodytic Passions-watching wetnurse? Fuck you, Salon.com Mothers Who Think column! How patronizing.
It is the element of smugness in consumption that makes the totebagger. Sure, I bought a cute pink Marc Jacobs messenger bag on eBay: but when I carry it I feel happy because it’s pretty and pink and feel like a little girl going to school and I am also kind of paranoid I will get it dirty. It doesn’t make me feel like I’m pulling one over on the unwashed masses.
Preferring mesclun to iceberg is not totebaggy – refusing to eat a salad containing iceberg lettuce AND having to say something about it is acute totebaggery, as is sending it back, as a horrible ex-boyfriend of mine once did, who was an incorrigible totebagger and to this day I cringe to think of the time I wasted on him.
And no, Kender, you are no totebagger! You’re too idiosyncratic, with your hand made weapons, survivalist bent, fierce devotion to your family, and cockamamie fear of commies! Also, your Franco-phobia disqualifies you from totebaggery, as many a totebagger loves them some Au Bon Pain. Kender is fun, despite his McCarthy-era politics, and I’d rather do shots with you than sip some shitty merlot with someone who likes to tell me how they don’t own a television. I’d be too tempted to tell them, as Trey recently told a totebagging bar patron who said the same,
“It’s okay – you can have our old one if you want.”