Friday, February 11, 2005

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. 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, 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.”

Any questions?


At February 11, 2005 at 9:56 AM, Blogger Ashbloem said...

Oh no! I DO have TB! I just wrote yesterday that I don't have a television!

Is it possible to EMBRACE one's TB? Or is there some sort of rehab?

As long as it doesn't involve going back to Texas!!

At February 11, 2005 at 10:47 AM, Blogger Trey Desolay said...

Jeez, Kender. You're closer to being Barbara Boxer's press secretary than you are to being a totebagger.

A coffee from Starbucks may not be totebaggy, but any Starbucks order in excess of five syllables is, as is any rationalization of one's order. ("They use real caramel!")

Not only is it possible to embrace one's totebaggery, it is necessary. Totebaggery subsumes self-celebration. But of all the ways I've heard of mentioning that one does not own a TV, confessing to having earlier mentioned it is by far the most creative.

Sorry. The old TV is spoken for. It's going to a friend who hasn't yet been able to watch the Ken Burns documentaries he got as PBS membership premiums.

At February 12, 2005 at 9:22 AM, Blogger Lillet Langtry said...

Sweet Ash--

No no no! I mean the kind of person who brags about not having a TV. The kind of person who must constantly foreground their superior moral fiber in not having a TV.

There's a really good _Onion_ article about this -- "Area Man COnstantly Mentioning He Doesn't Have a Television."

You are perfect! Don't fret!!

xoxoxoxox L

At February 12, 2005 at 6:46 PM, Blogger Kender said...

Barbara Boxheads press secretary?

I would love that job.

Does the press secretary release the press releases? If so I would be perfect for that job.

I despise that woman. I abhor her politics. I wish her itchy conditions of the moct embarassing sorts.

OTOH, I would like to be her press secretary for just one day. Oh the press releases I would release.

BTW, I think slamming shots of 'fiddich with you guys would be a hoot. My wife was going to be in NY on tuesday and had expressed an interest in seing the place and asked if I knew anyone there, but she has changed her mind and is coming home from vacation early, so never mind.

(Actually her going to NY was my secret plan to find out the name of the band)

At February 13, 2005 at 3:07 AM, Blogger Trey Desolay said...

Kender, did I say Barbara Boxer? I meant Bruce Boxleitner. Sorry.

Better than 'fiddich, I will break out some Oban or Talisker if you come to the bar.

At February 15, 2005 at 12:48 PM, Blogger Kender said...

O.K., I am always up for something new. Small drink story.

I love guiness. I ove ale you need to chew. Besides it is bread in a bottle. I also love 'fiddich.

But, Guiness is a smidge too bitter, and 'fiddich has that classic burn to it. One day at the Queen MAry, sitting in the deco bar, (a decent place) I asked for a shot of 'fiddich IN a pint of Guiness.

No, not a boiler maker. That is common american beer and whiskey isn't it Trey? I don't know, never had one, just heard that a shot of whiskey in a beer made a boiler maker.

I call it a "Robert Fulton", since most people think he invented the steam engine and he was Scottish. It seemed to fit. The bitter in the Guiness disappears and the burn in the 'fiddich goes away as well. It is remarkably smooth, with a pleasant taste and right now at the QM art deco bar and at Nine Fine Irishmen in the NYNY hotel in Vegas you can ask for it by name and they will make you one.

So far it is about a 17 dollar drink. Well worth it to me though.

Tryone and let me know what you think.

At February 15, 2005 at 2:49 PM, Blogger Lillet Langtry said...

Well, I'm a bourbon girl myself. Like Tallulah said: "Daddy warned me all about men andbourbon -- but he never said nothin' about women and cocaine!"

At February 15, 2005 at 3:44 PM, Blogger Deek Deekster said...

i think i have inverse totebaggery. definitely a form of denial going on here...

At February 15, 2005 at 10:52 PM, Blogger Trey Desolay said...


I've always called a beer and a shot a Boilermaker. When you drop the shot in the beer it's a Depth Charge.

Your drink reminds me of my first time in London, when I was made to drink Black Velvet, which is Guinness + Champagne. I liked it just fine, but thought it was a waste of Champagne and and waste of Guinness.

You know about Irish Car Bombs, right? All the rage a few years ago. You take half a shot of Bailey's and float some Irish whiskey on that, then drop the shot in a pint of Guinness. You have to chug it because the Bailey's curdles as soon as it hits the Guinness.

A few frat boys ordered these from me a couple of years ago. I told them I didn't make them ...

Frat Boy: I can tell you how to make them.

Trey: I know how to make them. I just refuse to make them.

Frat Boy: Why?

Trey: I'm tired of cleaning up the vomit.

Frat Boy: We won't vomit!

Trey: I know. I will.

At February 16, 2005 at 9:31 PM, Blogger Kender said...

So it's a depth charge...thanks for clearing that up. On irish car bombs. wimp drink. Absolutely does nothing to me....water. I can sit and down thsoe all day. A few weeks back my wife and I went out for drinks with one of her co-workers and his wife. He is a big irish blooded fellow...I am a small scots blooded fellow. We got to drinking. At one point I told him, in a fine scots brogue, "Yer gooin; doon Mick!!!

He is 8 inches taller and 60 pounds heavier. We were both drunk...very very drunk....I slept that night in my bed...he slept on his floor with his head stuck outside the patio door....but the next day, I got up and worked...he slept.

I guess guinness and 'fiddich aren't to his liking...he has sworn off least with me.

At February 22, 2005 at 9:37 PM, Blogger bonnie said...

I hate bourbon. Bourbon made me tell my friends about my blog instead of just keeping it in the nice anonymous blogosphere.

Isn't telling your non-blogging friends about your blog kinda totebaggy?

Is it less so if you blame it on the bourbon?

Bad bourbon. Bad.

At February 23, 2005 at 9:58 AM, Blogger Lillet Langtry said...

No, I don't think so! If you told them your blog was all about portobello mushrooms, yeah.

I wish I had some bourbon right now!!


At March 2, 2005 at 11:16 AM, Blogger pupil said...

The totebaggers roam like caribou in Boston, yes, but Seattle is just as rich a habitat for TB.

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