I’ll admit it! I love me a good Con. I love the stuff the vendors bring. I love the enthusiasm of the crowds. I love the up-close contact the fans get with their heroes—quick note, I saw Yvonne Craig, TV’s Batgirl, at a con in Syracuse a couple of years ago. She’s still got it! But my favorite part is the COSplayers—the people who dress up as their favorite characters from comic books, TV and movies. I’ve never had the chance to go to any of the major events—ComicCon, GenCon, Dragon Con—but I have followed them from afar. That is why I got really excited at the prospect of the newest assemblage of fantasy enthusiasts—CaucasiaCon, officially known as the National Tea Party Convention.
I have to admit, I wouldn’t have gone to CaucasiaCon if I’d had the chance. It was pricey even by convention standards. The full ride at ComicCon—arguably the biggest of the bunch—would run you about $300 a pop. That is only around half of the $550 nut for CaucasiaCon, and they don’t even have Ewoks! What they did have though—what justified my fervent attempts to enjoy the experience from afar—was the appearance of what in Con terms would have been Shatner, Whedon, James Cameron and a “Buffy vs. River” smack down all rolled into one: Prince Pay-Ya herself, Sarah Palin!
As she stood there at the podium the parallels to her namesake were mind-boggling. Like Leia, her character was the product of a passionate but star-crossed encounter between poor country boys who had delusions of self-importance and loved dirt track racing and pretty, well-meaning but naïve and essentially clueless financial royalty. She had a strong connection to an ancient religion where one had only to believe deeply in an invisible hand and everything would work out right. Before she made herself public and asserted her agenda, she lay low for her own safety—moving from college to college every time the “dark side” showed itself, and from job to job as the movement demanded.
And like Han Solo, her hair was frozen in Carbonite.
The crowd loved her! Many of them were garbed in their own COSplay uniforms—Tennesseans pretending to be Boston patriots. Bostonians pretending to be Tennesseans. Evangelical mega church ministers pretending to be Christians, and African Americans pretending to blend in. There were no Wookies in attendance, but talk of Sasquatch was extant. And however they were dressed, they cheered her every word! When she mocked the “charismatic guy with a teleprompter” they ignored the fact that she regularly uses one herself and cheered like a mob of Jawas at a BattleBots convention. When she mockingly derided that “Hopey-Changey thing” that so many millions had taken to heart, they didn’t respond “I don’t know. How’d that abstinencey-only thingy work fer ya?” They partied like Jerry Lee Lewis in a room full of nieces.
It may sound like I am being critical, but I’m not. When people go to gaming conventions dressed like their favorite characters, they know that they aren’t really anime heroes or elves. And it’s safe to assume that the people at CaucasiaCon are just as aware that they have little in common with the Colonial people whose cause they have co-opted:
- First, these Tea Party patriots loves they guns! The actual colonists, not so much. In fact, finding weapons for the soldiers when the revolution broke out was one of the biggest challenges of the early parts of the war. One of the reasons they used hit-and-run guerilla tactics was that they had to steal weapons from dead English soldiers.
- Second, the government the original patriots rebelled against was a monarchy, but its colonial incarnation was a bunch of contract colonies set up by rich guys who were the beneficiaries of massive business welfare. It was as close to a business-run oligarchy as we had seen right up until the recent Supreme Court opened the floodgates for massive corporate intrusion into our electoral lives. They were taxed without representation to make the rich richer. When that happened during the Bush years—when tax cuts to the rich demanded increases in state, local and school taxes on working Americans and the hidden taxes of higher fees for licenses, permits, etc. these Tea Party Patriots never said a word.
- Third, those people read with a vengeance! They read everything they could get their hands on. They read newspapers and leaflets and treatises. The per capita literacy rate was greater in the colonies than it is today! They found things out for themselves and made their own minds. The only thing these Tea Party Patriots read is the riot act. They carried the health care plan around as a visual aid but had no idea what was in it. They mock Ivy League education, they belittle or ignore science, and they would be hard pressed to recite any political theory that couldn’t be glued to a bumper.
Still, just like those wacky kids who paint themselves blue or spend thousands of dollars hand molding authentic Iron Man costumes, you have to admire their passion. They are in this for the long haul. They sincerely mean what they think they are saying. They are to be reckoned with. And as with most true believers, often the best response is to give them what they want. What they clearly want is Princess Pay-Ya, so I say let it happen.
Sarah Palin for President!
May the Fierce be with her!
I for one will watch with fascination, right up to the moment when owing to whatever snafu causes it she actually has to form a couple of sentences of her own. I even know what they will be. She will pause, then she will panic, then she will bend low to the microphone and say:
“Help me FoxNewsi-Wan! You’re my only hope!”